Tis the season of getting settled back in school as well as new activities! If your child is a new dancer or thinking about trying dance soon, here is some helpful advice:
1. Set proper expectations
Whether you’ve chosen, Tiny tots, Pre-Dance, Hip hop or Tap, your child will enjoy the experience much more if they understand what dance class will be like. There will be time to work and time to play. Let them know that when the teacher is talking it’s time to be quiet. The teacher is going to tell them all the secrets of dancing, and if they forget to listen, they might miss it!
You can prepare them by explaining they will need to practice, which will make dancing all the more fun. Not only will this conversation help your child enjoy a better experience, but their dance teacher will thank you immensely.
2. Buy properly fitting dance shoes
The fit is critical. If the shoes are too large, it prevents the teacher from seeing whether or not your child is doing their footwork properly. If they are too small, they will hurt your little dancer and get holes quickly. Having the right size shoe promotes better posture, alignment and technique. It also helps prevent dance-related injuries. Make sure your child tries on the shoes before dance class. Street shoe sizing is unreliable for dance shoes, and all brands are slightly different.
For most beginning dance classes, your child will need ballet slippers. Ballet slippers should fit like a pair of socks or gloves. Make sure there is no puckering or extra material near the toes; this can prevent proper form. Your child should be able to feel the floor with their feet when learning technique. Young children may not be learning barre exercises, but the fit is still important as they’ll be developing balance and alignment.
Tap shoes should be snug but not tight. Extra foot room will give your child less control over the sounds. Unless specified by the teacher, boys and girls should get a sturdy shoe with a flat heel no higher than on inch.
Although sneakers of any kind are typically accepted in these classes, not all street shoes are created equal. A sneaker with lots of treading is going to make turns and sliding extremely difficult. Choose a flat shoe with medium to low grip. Avoid slip-on shoes as these can cause injuries. Let your child pick something they love that has laces.
3. Buy proper dancewear
Our Dress codes are on our website. You can find the correct dress code for each of our genres under the Tab ‘Levels/Styles/Times’ (Click to go to this tab) If you still are unsure, always opt for something snug. This makes it easy for the teacher to correct alignment. If your child is wearing a loose-fitting T-shirt and pants, the instructor has no way of knowing if their form is correct. Your child will benefit most by following the dress code or choosing something form-fitting
4. Encourage them to demonstrate
Asking your child to show you what they've learned in class has many benefits. It helps them retain new information and expand their understanding of the concepts, as they are having to “teach” someone else. It also gives them a noticeable boost in confidence.
5. Don't correct their technique
I know you want to remind them to turn their feet out “as the teacher showed them,” but it can do more harm than good. Your child is venturing into an art form that takes a lot of vulnerability. What they need from their family are support and encouragement. If parents start critiquing their child, the child will be less inclined to share what they’ve learned. It’s the nature of creative work. Leave the teaching to the teacher. If you are concerned that your child is doing something incorrectly at home, you can always email the studio to ask for additional help so the teacher can show you or let you know what to do.
6. Arrive early
Especially for the first class, arrive early to avoid the stress that comes with being late, especially if the child is a little nervous. Get to the studio early to find your classroom, get settled, watch the other classes a little and possibly even meet a few fellow dancers in your class before your class begins.
Dance is an amazing journey and these helpful tips will allow you and your child to enjoy the experience even more! Happy Dancing:)