Carla Turner Shannon began dancing at the age of 2, her teachers in Cape Town included Miss Victoria Hadland and Ms Anne Broder. In 1990 at 12 years of age she won a Gold diploma at the Cape Town Eisteddfod.
In 1991, after her family relocated to Johannesburg, she began learning with Ms Yvonne Adkins in Florida and thereafter was blessed to study with Paula Fick and finally Lorna Greeff.
After completing her ballet vocational exams under the tutelage of Ms Anneliese Venter, she began teaching in 1997 at the Lorna Greeff Dance Academy and after 3 years there, in 1999 completed her Cecchetti Associate with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) and thereafter, in 2000 the beginnings of Dance Inc began.
In 2004 Carla completed an internationally recognised ISTD qualification. In 2010 she took up a post at St Ursulas School, where each little girl from Pre-school to Grade 3 enjoys ballet.
Last year her students enjoyed receiving 45 medals at the American Academy of Ballet Performance Awards and she was awarded a trophy for The Best Choreography Ballet or Spanish of the 2011 Roodepoort Dance Festival for her ballet “Ariel in the Underworld” which was performed at the Pro Musica Theatre.
In December of 2011 she was appointed Artistic Director of the Mogale Youth Ballet – a children’s theatre company and will perform her newest ballet Faerie Fantasia on 18 August 2012.
To date we’ve done 9 more theatre productions. In 2017 Carla completed her BASI Pilates certification and has since added this to her teaching repertoire.

Ballet for young children

Ballet helps young girls and boys to develop an excellent self-esteem in the present and in the future. Ballet teaches not only dance but grace, elegance, poise, self-discipline, confidence, skills with regard to flexibility, strength, balance, musicality, rhythm and about being dedicated to doing something properly and beautifully. Mastering these qualities at a young age is very empowering!
Children are expected to behave in a respectful way during ballet class. They are exposed to other cultures at an early age in the form or national dances which expands their understanding of the world around them. While many of their peers are growing up much faster than they should, the things taught at ballet help them become graceful young ladies.
Starting ballet lessons at an early age lays a great foundation for preparing for adulthood. Learning to master this timeless art is something that will make your child very proud of themselves.
You will find yourself impressed watching your child move with such grace. Observing how they interact with their classmates and teachers will also make you very proud. We expect all our students to respect us as we respect them in a supportive environment that encourages maximum growth. The self-discipline required will translate over to the way they act at school, their homework, their demeanour and all around grace.
Ballet is a fun, yet challenging activity that has many benefits for young children – some of which they will appreciate for the rest of their lives. It is one of the most physically demanding of all dance styles, and as such, is a wonderful way for young children to gain strength, improve flexibility and stay fit. It teaches them how to stand correctly and walk with grace and poise – qualities that will be of benefit to them for years to come, even if they choose to explore other activities.
Ballet is an excellent activity for children who do not do well academically or find it difficult to concentrate in class. They will be mentally challenged, improving perceptual development, as they learn to put steps into a sequence and remember routines. It also teaches them coordination and how to identify the left and right hand side of the body.
Interacting with other children in this fun environment will also help develop their social skills and greatly improve their confidence. As they learn to hold themselves gracefully and move with purpose, their whole countenance will begin to change. This is particularly noticeable in children who are shy or timid.
It is also an excellent activity for hyperactive children as it channels their energy in a positive way and teaches them to focus and co-operate with others.
Children who have been studying ballet for a number of years will often go on to study other dance styles like jazz or contemporary, and will find that ballet has given them a wonderful foundation. They will be strong, incredibly flexible and able to pick up the steps much more quickly as many of the steps in disciplines like contemporary and jazz have developed from steps and techniques in ballet.
The younger they are when they start, the more they will benefit and the stronger their bodies will grow. Classes for very young children are intended to be fun, so the focus will be on musicality and getting to know the very basic steps and exercises. As your child passes through the levels, the classes become more challenging and the difficulty level of the exercises increases. This is when ballet demands dedication and discipline.
A child’s body is a lot more supple, something that we tend to lose as we get older, they are much more adaptable and tend to pick things up a lot faster. The rigors of ballet dancing not only give them greater poise and grace, but greater discipline and control. Assets they can take along with them as they mature into adult life.
Little girls are often captivated by ballet dancers. Perhaps it is their enchanting figures, their graceful movement, or their beautiful costumes. Whatever the reason it is not rare for your little girl to dream of becoming a prima ballerina and wanting to take ballet dancing lessons. However, many parents do not realize all-encompassing life-lessons that ballet offers.
Classical ballet is also a study in discipline. While it is a form of art, ballet dancing is strictly regimented. The positions and steps demand precision. This habitually requires dedicated practice and study on your little girl’s part. While this may seem like a difficult concept it is actually paced for the age of the student. Learning how to follow instructions and participate in a very organized class is something that your child will be able to take with them into their life for years to come.
The study of classical ballet will also help the student learn how to string several different movements together. No dance only has just one step. Instead, a dance is made up of several different moves that seamlessly flow together. By learning how to do this your child will not only enhance their muscle memory, but they will also increase their overall dexterity and manoeuvrability.
Finally, and probably most importantly the study of ballet dancing is quite simply fun. Your child should be having a good time learning how to dance, and this will help her feel more confident and secure in who she is. Additionally, she may find new friends who share her love of dance. Beautiful ballet dancers take time to cultivate. There is a learning curve. We must allow our children to grow in a very positive manner. Let’s enjoy and savour every moment of their journey!