Sunday, September 5, 2010

How to Select Dance Classes for Children

Since we are in the thick of signing up for children dance classes, I thought I'd throw together what we've learned so far.

1.Decide what kind of experience you what for your child. Exposure to movement, a fancy recital, no recital, or hardcore ballerina training.

Knowing what you want will help you find the right dance class for your child.

2.For introductory classes with no recitals and a low-key environment, check out local rec center schedules. These classes tend to be less expensive, less uptight and more about having fun. They introduce kids to the basics so if they want to pursue dance more seriously, they will have some basic skills under their belts.

3.If you want a recital, sign up at a dance studio. Recitals can get expensive, but can also be fun, especially if you have a natural performer on your hands. Be sure to ask the school about their recital policies and procedures, some dance schools get kind of wound up about recitals and issue handbooks bigger than a phone book packed with rules and regulations.

Also screen the dance school's approach to recitals. Do they think 'Bootylicious' is a good song for 3 year olds to perform to, while wearing a barely there tankini? Or do they keep it age appropriate?

4.If the goal is to develop a future ballerina, look at local universities, art centers, and theaters. Some dance studios also specialize in more intense dance instruction, but you'll have to ask around to find them. These dance classes for children will be much more traditional and are for kids who can follow directions well. They will also have a strict dress code (i.e. hair in bun, leotard, ballet shoes etc...). Which is fine, but I know my toddler would never do a bun, so we would totally be expelled from these type of children dance classes.

So how did you find dance classes for your children? What was your experience? We are starting with a rec center community class and we'll see from there. Having studied dance quite a bit myself, I hope our toddler is interested, but knowing her genetics, she probably won't have the body type for classical dance. I ended up performing folk dance myself.

Oh, and don't forget to take a second to check out my review of Brontorina a lovely book about a dinosaur who wants to be a ballerina.

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