On Thursday we welcomed a special visitor to the preschool – Pennsylvania Ballet’s James Ihde, a soloist for the prestigious Philadelphia-based company. With his sisters as an inspiration, James became a dancer at age 10 and joined the company when he was 18 years old. He told us that he, too, has teachers he listens to every day during rehearsals! Most recently James played the villain (Rothbart) in Swan Lake, and your preschoolers asked such thoughtful questions about his performances and the inner workings of the ballet. Here is a sample of questions James answered.
- Can kids go to the ballet?
- Can kids go onstage to perform?
- How did you put the makeup on your face for Swan Lake?
- Do ballet dancers wear shoes?
- When do you know when to go onstage?
- Do you perform what the instructor tells you to do?
- Can kids go backstage?
We also watched a portion of a video featuring James in a pas de deux that rendered the kids (almost) speechless; exclamations of “Wow…” and “That’s amazing!” could be heard in waves as James gracefully lifted his partner several times during the piece. James was hopeful to dispel any myths about ballet being exclusively for girls, and we think he did just that! In fact, don’t be surprised if your preschooler asks you to take him/her to the ballet soon! Lucky are we to have such a rich experience to take advantage of right here in Philadelphia.
The children are hoping that James will wear his new TPS sweatshirt when he warms up for future performances!