had a random thought about this this morning....<P>it seems to me that a couple of people, including myself, have been saying that there just might be some reasons NOT to start dancing lessons at these early ages...<P>to which basheva has responded 'but if there is no harm, why not?'....to which we have pointed out POSSIBLE harm.......but she asks again 'IF no harm, why not?'......it seems we are talking a bit at cross-purposes, since i'm sure we'd *ALL* agree that, IF we had proof there was NO HARM, then, indeed, WHY NOT!<P>BUT.....apart from real issues of 'harm' (which might be too strong a word) what occurred to me this morning is that (the way i see it, so please let's not argue this bit, as it is just a prsentation of MY point of view!) a child is not really physiologically able to do the basic things of BALLET effectively, before the age of ten (posture muscles, and effective USE of spiralling turnout from the hip socket - as opposed to just 'happy feet'
). <P>please read the above words with care, as they were chosen with care. (i am not saying that i haven't seen gorgeous 5 year olds who dance ballet better than 14 year olds - but they are the exception which proves the rule. physiology is physiology - we all vary, but human development by and large takes place at a set predictable pace, and that includes the control of the postural muscles and so on - <B>SO</B> BASIC to ballet.)<P>so, if a child starts at 3, they have 7 years of once or twice a week dance, before they can really embrace ballet study in a mature way, such as the major schools of the world do with their intakes at approximately ten years of age.(vaganova, bolshoi, POB, RBS, etc - i say 'approximately' because for example, the vaganova school first year is for ten year olds, but in recent years they have started accepting a class of nine year olds who do PRE-ballet - gymnastic floor exercises and so on - they do not do ballet as we think of it - 'barre and center', etc.)<P>sorry this is taking so long, but i am trying to be careful to be clearly understood, to avoid misinterpretation and un-necessary argument. you may believe differently to me - that's fine - you might be right! - but i just want my own statement here to be clearly understood....<P>so: that 3 year old, who could have 7 years of once or twice a week classes in dance, before they are really beginning BALLET in an effective manner as vocational training - and vocational IS what i am speaking about, here - has their time been spent in the best possible way, given that the NEXT TEN YEARS of their lives will definitely HAVE TO be intensely focused on ballet........?<P>i would be inclined to think that more broadening experiences might have been more useful, or at least as useful..... <P>and also that, many many young talents may fall by the wayside precisely BECAUSE they started too early.....now that is a bit speculative. but that's one thing i'm thinking....<P>of course, a CAREER isn't the only purpose of dance - far from it - so that opens up a whole other way of looking at it.....and for those many who do dance activities from 3 to 3 & a quarter(!) or from 4 to 5, and never do it again, it has no doubt served a purpose.....different discussion, i suppose....<P>thanks to any of you who have stuck with me through this long post - deliberately somewhat painstaking!