Updated: Aug 22
One of the biggest questions that I get asked by parents is "What type of dance is “right” for my child?"
If you know my philosophies, you know that no matter what the question, my answer will always be ballet.
Truthfully, there is never a “right” or “wrong” dance class. Sometimes, it is easy for parents or students to go for the “glamour” and not what their teacher suggests to them. Ultimately, each student must figure it out...usually there is one form of dance or the arts that “speaks” to them more than others. If a student really enjoys a certain type of dance he/she will usually do better in that form just due to their interest and drive. If there is an obvious talent in any one area, the instructor may encourage the student one way or another; however, the student must want to do it!
Ages 3 to 6
At the Academy, we firmly believe in giving the young child a base in creative dance and simple ballet movements. We respect the child’s development, and save the strict demands of disciplined dance forms (i.e. ballet, jazz, and tap) until they are both physically and mentally ready for it; around 7-8 years of age. Keeping these and many other things in mind, the Academy places students aged 3 to 6 by age. Classes are just once per week and class length is directly linked to the average child’s attention span at a given age. All of the classes in our Early Childhood Program are ballet based with creative movement and dance, with the difficulty and expectations increasing along with the child’s age.
Although there are always exceptions to every rule, most children from 3 to 6 are still learning basic locomotor movements, discovering their muscles and creativity, and exploring group dynamics. By using imagination, stories, and props we gently encourage even the most shy child to participate in our dance “adventures”.
Ages 7 and up
If a child has never danced before and does not have a specific dance form in mind, The Academy strongly urges the student to begin with ballet. Why? Ballet is the base form of tap and jazz. Ballet teaches proper dance posture, techniques, feet positions, grace co-ordination, and fluidity...all of which are needed in other dance forms as well. For a trained eye, it is easy to pick out which jazz or tap students have taken a classical ballet class before! Usually, it is an easier transition for a student to move into jazz or tap after doing ballet rather than the other way around.