Fancy Nancy Ballet School is a great universal app for young children interested in learning how to dance, as this wonderfully educational application explains the five basic ballet positions to users, plus other moves such as “plie,” “passé” or “grand jete” to include a total of 15 steps one can incorporate into the ballet that children choreograph themselves, which is then danced by popular children's book character Fancy Nancy.
Children themselves may imitate these moves as well, either by dancing the ballet while being videoed by an adult as an image of Fancy Nancy is super-imposed into the video, holding the iPad while dancing, or even following along with Fancy Nancy dancing on one’s own television with the use of AirPlay mode.
Please note that this app requires a forward facing camera to function on one's device.
What I admire most about this app is how Fancy Nancy narrates very clear and concise explanations of each move as well as including animation of these steps that combined will do a great service to anyone child new to learning ballet.
I think it would also be nice if an option were also available for Fancy Nancy to call out the different positions for children to perform because dancing long while watching the animated dance moves may be difficult for some.
Although I did find a bit of a learning curve when changing specific moves in the dance that I created - as individual moves can be dropped into areas of one’s own ballet - the intuitiveness of this app is not too bad once used a few times, and I like the chance to clear the entire ballet to create a dance from the beginning - an easier task for new players to undertake. Children will also enjoy choosing music for Fancy Nancy not only to dance to, but as background music for this app in general as one explores the different features from the menu page.
It is also appealing to be able to video Fancy Nancy dancing - presumably when other children are dancing in the background, as well as allowing users to see this effect without making and saving videos, as well as including a Fancy Nancy short story is also included, setting up the situation of children practicing ballet - a nice touch.
I assume that some children will hold an iPad while dancing to keep up with Fancy Nancy, but I appreciate the chance to use AirPlay mode with the use of the Apple TV., as this mirrors anything that happens on the iPad to the big screen, allowing children to simply focus on Ballet while looking at their family's TV instead of doing so while holding an expensive digital device.
I did notice while using AirPlay mode while my husband took a video of me “dancing” along with Fancy Nancy, the combination of AirPlay mode and using this app’s video capability which allows me to see myself dancing with Fancy Nancy, this app got rather choppy - not an issue I had while simply creating a dance, using AirPlay mode to watch my ballet on TV, or when making a video on Fancy Nancy dancing in the foreground for use only on the iPad.
I was never a ballet kid, but I do remember an older neighborhood girl, eager to teach dance herself, try to teach me these five basic ballet steps. I do think this would have been an excellent teaching tool for me back then to learn these steps, as it will be for children today interested in ballet.
One note that I do have is that within the video of children dancing with Fancy Nancy - included as a demonstration for this app - it would have been nice for there to be a boy or two in this video as well.
My son has a male friend his own age interested in ballet, and the children’s gym we belonged to had ballet classes with boys attending as well. I do wish these students could also be represented, as there is no reason why this app could not be enjoyed by everyone - both girls and boys alike.