Mamatoga Review: Saratoga City Ballet School (Creative Movement Class)

Today Levy had her last Creative Movement class of the summer at Saratoga City Ballet School and I already can't wait for her to start again in the fall. Held in the ballet school, located in a beautifully sunlit room in the deceptively small room on Jumel Ave (off of East) it met twice a week this summer for an hour. Saratoga City Ballet School is celebrating over twenty years of teaching young dancers, and the Creative Movement class is the youngest group of students at the school. The aim of the class is to have young dancers learn the joy of moving to music in a creative and fun environment. The girls are led by teacher Leslie Kettlewell, a classically trained dancer and Skidmore grad who studied ballet in England and France as well as with the world renowned dancer Melissa Hayden. She returned to Saratoga Springs when her son was 5 and going into kindergarten and someone approached her about teaching little girls and she had been doing it ever since, and now she has one child in college and one in high school. You can tell by watching her teach that the reason she continues to do it is because she truly loves it, and her gentle voice and easy smiles make it easy for girls in this age group to warm to her, something that can be hard to pull off sometimes with the shyness and Mommy-attachment that is prevalent with three and four year olds. Lev loved her right away, and when we ran into her at Hannaford last week she practically swooned, telling the check out girl how we had just seen Miss Leslie! The classes for this session all revolved around a story, with a little story telling, some music and a lot of dance and moving around. Last week's class ended with all of the girls wearing leis and dancing the hula as part of the Little Mermaid's wedding, and today's class was about the story of Snow White. The girls all took turns sweeping their brooms and dancing around with them waiting for the dwarfs, then they all carried around big blow up hammers while they marched around to "Whistle While You Work". Miss Leslie even warned them in the most soothing voice ever about the "scary" poison apple part, then produced a fake poison apple which they could all touch and were all assured of its pretend status. They each took turns carefully touching the apple while they listened to the story. They got up and leaped around the big room as deer, and then celebrated the happy ending with the rainbow parachute. In between all of the fun stuff Miss Leslie has them pick up after themselves and they all learn to sit quietly and listen before moving on to the next part. The overall effect is one of overwhelming cuteness. All of the girls lined up in their teeny tiny pink leotards and pink tights and pink ballet slippers is almost too much to take at once, especially when they are dancing around with their brooms/Princes to the music from Snow White. Lev simply adores the class and talks about it all week long, and I can't wait until the fall session starts. The creative movement class is the youngest class they offer and it is for 3-4 year olds. The next step up is pre-ballet for ages 4-5 and it goes on from there to classes for 14 and up and their website is great and full of all the information you need to get your little ballerina started! [slideshow]