Ballet Time co-founders Ashlee Smale and Samantha Robinson originally launched Ballet Time in an effort to provide ballet lessons to students no matter where they were. The online classes help to make sure the benefits and pure enjoyment of dance can be shared with those who cannot access traditional in-person lessons, from toddlers to children who already practice dance.
With many online services booming during COVID-19, we asked Ashlee to break down what makes Ballet Time so fantastic and about her own love for dance.
From the Start to Now
“We launched Ballet Time in 2019 to provide dance classes to little ones around the world that may not have access to standard dance classes, for an array of reasons. Ballet Time bridges this gap for many families because it’s an online subscription-based platform. We deliver 12 x 10 minute pre-recorded ballet lessons each month for children aged 2-6. And, our lessons are streamable on any smart device! How cool is that!
Ballet Time was the first of its kind. The main difference between Ballet Time and ‘regular’ lessons is that we host all pre-recorded lessons in the form of a three-month long course. Our lessons are created by a team of dance and education professionals and are underpinned with an educational foundation. We have a well-thought out program that scaffolds students through the dance steps. Plus it has annotations that appear on the screen to aid in learning and movement. Our lessons are super engaging and super cool!
Although we were operating exactly the same in 2019, we have definitely become a lot busier since COVID-19. We were just so happy that we had a service that could serve to make people’s lives easier in this incredibly difficult time. And, we are incredibly grateful for the support that our students and their families have given us during this time.”
Why Try It?
“The benefits of ballet are so vast. The physical benefits are normally the ones we talk about when we speak about the reasons for our kids to engage in dance. There are so many of them, such as improving muscular strength, flexibility and motor fitness. It also facilitates coordination and balance while correcting poor alignment. However, dance also has a variety of educational, cognitive and emotional benefits too! Through movement and music, children enhance their sensory awareness and cognitive function, including attention, memory and learning. These are transferable skills that will benefit children in all areas of their lives.”
“Dance allows expressive movement and children to creatively express themselves.”
Ashlee’s Love for Dance
“For as long as I can remember my life has revolved around dancing! My mum was a ballet teacher. This means that all of the memories I have of my childhood involve dance somehow, whether it be dancing in the kitchen with her, being driven to dance class with my sisters, or actually doing classes and performances.”
“I always knew I would be in the dance world and it has given me some amazing experiences.”
“I’ve always learnt every style of dance, but I have always been drawn to ballet and jazz. I find that as a teacher now they are also the styles that I love to choreograph to the most.
I started learning to work as a dance teacher when I was 18. I’m now 28, so have been working as a teacher for 10 years! In my early 20’s I worked around Australia, France and the USA as a dancer. Dance as a career is so amazing like that; it can take you to so many places.”
“Without a doubt, working in Disneyland was my favourite experience. I loved bringing characters to life and making magic.”
Teaching Students Lifelong Skills
“I ended up with a Bachelor’s degree in Education among many other dance teaching qualifications too, so I really have so much experience in both the dance and in the education world. Teaching is one of the most important jobs in the world and I love that I am a part of that. Seeing my students learn and grow over the years is my favourite part. I know that the skills I am teaching them in dancing are skills that they will take with them throughout their life. The way in dance we learn to keep trying, to get back up if you fall down, and to strive to do something the best that you can, is so similar to life.
I think you should always follow what makes you happy. We will all work for such a long time and have so many careers. Why not (if you are inclined to do so) focus on dance first and revisit the other things you are passionate about later! If dance isn’t the right career path for you despite being a massive part of your life, that is okay too!”
“The things that the Arts teach our students are going to be paramount in this tech driven world.”
“We need people who think creatively and have the ability to have big picture ideas and think outside of the box. And that is one of the principal concepts in dance.”