Spin Master Bella Dancerella Home Ballet Studio With DVD

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Bella, Bella, Bella Dancerella!

Feb 24, 2005
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

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Pros:Practice ballet at home. Easy set up.

Cons:Requires DVD or VHS player.

The Bottom Line: A fun way for your little ballerina to learn the correct ballet positions at home.

Though my daughter's holiday wish list included anything and everything she saw on television, one of her top three items to have was this Bella Dancerella Home Ballet Studio. As it worked out, this was the last gift she opened, late on Christmas day, and she was quite excited to get it.

This set comes with a pink and purple ballet bar, a fairly thick double-sided vinyl floor mat, cute pink ballet slippers, and an instructional DVD. Unfortunately the ballet slippers are too small for my daughter to wear. They are marked size "8-12" and as my daughter is a size one no matter how hard she tried, they were too tight. The box does not indicate what size slippers are included, but from what I gather from the manufacturer's website there is only one size, which supposedly is "one size fits all. Of the five girls featured on the box, only one is wearing these ballet slippers, and she appears to be the smallest of them.

The bar is made up of two feet, two legs and the crossbar and takes just seconds to snap together for use or to take apart if you want to store it. When set up, the bar is about 29 inches high and 23 inches across. The plastic pieces seem more durable than some toys, but remember, they are just plastic so if you see a child attempting to use the pieces as swords, as my son did, I would suggest stopping that activity because they could crack.

The mat is about 62 inches long and is light pink with the five ballet positions shown with pictures of feet, with dark pink, purple and white numbers and arrows. One side of the mat has the positions set up to begin with the right foot and the other side begins with the left foot.

Unless your child already knows the five ballet positions, she will need to have her ballet studio set up near a DVD player (or a VCR if you have that version) and have the mat set up for the right foot. The thirty minute DVD begins with the song from the commercial: "Bella, Bella, Bella Dancerella, Where do you want to go today?..." The entire song plays while we see three girls (Bella Ballerina and two younger girls) dance with two people in bear costumes.

After the song, Bella Ballerina introduces us to her young friends, the "Twin Teds" (the bear costumed characters), and Maxi the Monkey, who is a puppet. Bella gives us a brief background about dance including information such as the fact that hundreds of years ago, all dancers were men. Bella has an {Australian??} accent and both upper and lower braces, making it a bit difficult to understand by my six year old. Maxi has a muffled voice and is also difficult to understand but I am not sure if an accent or the quality of the recording is the problem.

Bella begins by stretching and then moves to the same mat and bar that you hopefully have already set up. Your child can follow along as Bella sings a song and moves to each of the five Ballet positions, beginning with her right foot. After all five positions, she does a few stretches on the bar and then turns the mat over (note: be sure to pause the DVD player as she does not give you any time to do this yourself) and repeats the song and positions with her left foot.

After some silly conversation with Maxi, Bella sings her position song again while she practices each position without the mat and her younger friends practice with their mats. The Twin Teds join in as well.

Since Maxi criticizes the Twin Teds throughout the video for their poor dancing (since they are just learning), he then does a quick tap dance to show that he can dance too. We do not actually see Maxi's entire body dancing, but the camera goes back and forth from his head to his feet. Not a very high budget production!

Bella points out that fruits and vegetables are necessary for good energy and as Maxi DJ's, everyone else dances to the upbeat "Fun Foods Dance" song, with the children dressed in fruit costumes. Next is "story time", but there is no story and they dance to another upbeat song entitled "The Happy Swan" which says that every ballet tells a story. Before saying goodbye, Bella reminds everyone to practice their ballet positions as often as possible.

My daughter absolutely had to have the Bella Dancerella Home Ballet Studio, but in the two months she has had it, it has only been out of the box a few times. The first time we set up the bar and mat, and she watched and followed along with the entire DVD, after which she commented on how silly the monkey was and asked why there the whole thing was not about ballet. The next time she used this set, she only wanted see the ballet positions songs and we skipped over the other songs and chit-chat. Since she does attend dance class, she did already know the positions and continued practicing with the mat and bar without the DVD.

The Bella Dancerella Home Ballet Studio has its good side and its bad. The ballet bar and mat with its instructional footsteps is a great tool to assist little ballerinas in learning their positions. Add to it an instructional DVD and it should be a great set. The portion of the DVD which actually instructs the children and talks about ballet is wonderful, however, the nonsense portion with talking stuffed monkeys and silly songs that do not give any ballet information, is unnecessary and not liked by my daughter. Instead of filling up the DVD with these extras, it could have been cut down to fifteen minutes and just portrayed the relevant ballet parts.

Aside from the irrelevant and annoying portions of the DVD, I would recommend the Bella Dancerella Home Ballet Studio for your budding ballerina, aged four and up. It is a good rainy or snowy day activity, though I would wait for a sale as $35 is a bit much for it. The idea behind it is wonderful, and once your child knows the steps, she can use the mat and bar, without the DVD.

Recommend this product? Yes

Amount Paid (US$): 34.99
Type of Toy: Sports
Age Range of Child: Kids to Teens

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