One of the popular pastimes especially for the younger generation of girls in Malta is ballet dancing. From an early age, girls are sent to a number of ballet schools which flourish around the island and the veritable floods of little girls attired in lovely pink or white dresses with their hair pulled back is surely a joy for all to see.
There are various types of ballet dancing but the most popular one which is generally taught in Malta is the classical format. Here dancers perform to a set piece of music which is normally a classical piece.
However more modern styles have been introduced in the past years. Some schools also offer contemporary ballet where the movements are much more complex and strenuous with dancers having to be of a certain age to perform this demanding style.
Ballet dancing was introduced in Malta in the earlier twentieth century when a number of Russian émigrés who fled from the Russian revolution in 1917 found refuge on the island. For many years, a school was run under the patrimony of Princess Nathalie Poutiatine which school still bears her illustrious name. Thus ballet teaching in Malta has concentrated chiefly around the Russian style and the schools generally offer this type of instruction.
There are several schools in Malta which are situated in the Sliema-St Julian’s metropolitan area. Sliema boasts two of the most renowned, the aforementioned Princess Poutiatine and the Nathalie Bayona school in Old College Street. Mary Jane Bellia has her school in Gzira close to the Msida border in Nazju Ellul Street while the Pellegrini Petit sisters operate a huge school in San Gwann, close to Mater Dei Hospital. Fees are generally on the high side as ballet dancing is very much viewed as an exclusive pastime normally reserved for the upper middle classes although competition has also brought about a correction in costs.