On Monday we welcomed a special visitor in 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. James told us that he, too, has teachers he listens to every day during rehearsals! With many ballets under his belt, James most recently assumed the role of the stepsister in Cinderella and often plays Rothbart in the upcoming and popular Nutcracker.
Your preschoolers asked James such thoughtful questions about his performances and the inner workings of the ballet. Below are a sample of the questions James answered:
- Do boys and girls dance in the same ballet together?
- Can boy ballet dancers wear tutus?
- What kind of shoes do boy ballet dancers wear?
- When do you know when to go onstage?
- How much do you practice?
- Do you get nervous before a performance?
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.