By Rhiane Kirkby
If you’re expecting a class filled with bubbles, loud music and bags full of props then you’re going to be disappointed, as at this kids’ dance class in Chiswick there’s little more than a few yoga mats and a whole heap of imagination.
The latest offering from the Ballet4Life dance company is a multilingual class, suitable for children aged 18 months to 5 years. Held every Wednesday in the church hall at St Peter’s, Acton Green, it aims to give pre-schoolers the opportunity to move, be creative and express themselves.
They follow Manolo the monkey on a journey through the jungle, experiencing the sights and sounds in English, Spanish and Italian. Teacher Ana, a professional dancer, is their guide and skilfully adapts the class to suit those taking part and their changing moods and energy levels. It could be complete chaos but it somehow works.
A world away from the sensory overload of most classes on offer for this age group, Ballet4Life encourages children to climb trees, wade through rivers and find food in the dense jungle using nothing more than their own imaginations. It’s impressive to watch and interesting to see how quickly they pick up key words in the different languages spoken. The dance studio, complete with mirrored wall, also helps as they have plenty of space in which to move.
This unique class is part of a much bigger dance school, Ballet4Life, which teaches Pilates, ballet and fitness to all ages and abilities, from new mums and babies to people with restricted movement. They have over 50 classes ranging from complete beginners to specialist workshops.
Classes for children are held at 10:15 every Wednesday morning in term time at St Peter’s church hall, Acton Green.