- Business Name: Emerald Ballet Theater
- Review of: Lessons for Children
- Location: Bellevue, WA near 520
- Website: http://emeraldballet.org/about.html
Emerald Ballet is a non-profit ballet group who is dedicated to advancing the art of ballet through education, performance, community outreach, and collaboration with other arts organizations.
Gino and Grace have both been part of Emerald Ballet since last season. Grace lives to dance. She puts on performances in the kitchen while we eat. She also puts on performances in the living room. She is our little ham. Gino became interested in ballet when he saw Grace in the Nutcracker last year. Ballet is a great way to get those muscles ready for other sports as well as giving the kids confidence in performing. Additionally, ballet teaches discipline.
We like the small troop feeling of Emerald Ballet. Parents are required to volunteer their time during productions or pay to opt out. Through volunteering I felt like a valued part of the learning process. It was hard work as well as fun to be a part of the stage productions.
We also like the teachers, parents, and hardworking office manager – Christy. Grace had Miss Erin last year and loved her. As an early childhood educator myself, I appreciate her gentle developmentally appropriate curriculum and style. Gino had Miss Sarah in the boy’s rehearsal class and we admired her passion and persistence with the energetic group. This year, I am so pleased that Gino will have a male ballet instructor who will teach technique for 1 hour. The boys rehearsal last year was 30 minutes long and they learned dance choreography but no ballet technique.
The reason I give Emerald Ballet only one thumb is because the studio layout is very uncomfortable and somewhat detracts from the experience. In order to use the bathroom or escort a child to the bathroom, a person has to take off their shoes, cut through and interrupt classes. Also, there is only a tiny little hallway viewing area into one studio where parents have to squeeze in to see their child. Really, only 4 adults can fit comfortably there, but there are usually 10 kids in class. This means that some parents miss out on viewing the practices or that bodies are pressed together like sardines. Additionally, there are 2 other studios with no viewing room at all. These two studios are interlinked so that to get to the back room (and bathroom) you have to cut through the front room and interrupt classes.
Additionally, another downside are the demanding performances. There are quite a few additional weekend practices as the kids gear up for the performance. I felt like there could have been better ways of scheduling so that the really young kids didn’t have to stay up so late or stay so long at these practices. The performances themselves are long and gruelling and feel unorganized when you are backstage. Students are not, however, required to take part in the performances.
Also, Emerald Ballet is constantly doing fundraisers and pumping parents for $. I understand that the group is non-profit so I overlook this mildly annoying factoid.
One more thing, parents are not allowed to take pictures during the performance as Emerald Ballet has the rights. Parents have to rely on one photographer to capture an image of their child. I have not been lucky in the last two performances: I received not one picture from the Nutcracker and only a couple of shots in the seasons performance that did not focus in on my child but had her in the side-lines. This is something that I really find upsetting after all the money that I pay to have my child in the production and after the money my family pays to buy tickets to the performances. We feel like we should be able to take our own pictures.
We suggest that Emerald Ballet place photographers in a specific area of the audience so as not to disturb other audience members.