Choosing the appropriate dance class can sometimes seem daunting, but this process should be simple as your dance teachers can help decide what is in the best interest for the dancer. Most dance studios will post the age requirements for each class so this is definitely a good guide, but there are some other factors to consider. For tiny tot dance classes (typically ages 6 year and under), the age requirements are truly a good rule of thumb to follow. Parents often call and say their child is really mature for his or her age, is used to pre-school, or has already had some dance experience. Although that is going to help the dancer’s success in the dance class, the dancer should most likely still be in the same age group as posted for that class. It does not benefit a dancer to be in a class that is too old for them as it won’t grab or hold their attention as strongly since the material will most likely be too mature for them. That is the biggest mistake parents can make is to register a child in a class that is too old. It is always a safe choice to start a dancer in the younger class as it is easier to move a dancer up than to move them down a dance level. Besides it is really important for the little one to be confident and experience leadership in the dance class before moving up to the next level. Parents will also say, “My child is 4.5 years, should they go in the 3-4 year old class or the 4.5-6 year old dance class?” Again, I would recommend starting in the younger class and then communicating with the dance teacher about when the dancer is ready to move up. Another factor to consider is if the child is mature enough to handle the older class in regards to emotion and coordination. It’s always a good idea to call the dance studio or teacher and talk through the options your dancer has and to go along with the dance teacher’s recommendations. Don’t be shy to ask! This is why they are dance teachers...to help teach the world about dance and to make sure your dancer is getting the most out of his or her class.
As dancers get older (7 years old and up) and the classes become more specific in terms of level and style, not only is age a factor but the student’s dance experience. It is really important for any dancer to feel challenged in the class, but also comfortable so that they mix well with the level, age, speed, and energy of the class. Boys especially need to be comfortable in the class. Ask if there are other boys registered in the class if that is an important factor to your boy. Teachers can change up the vibe of the the class depending on if there are boys there and what the personalities and dynamics are of the class. Overall, it is best for a parent to stay in communication with the dance teacher to see how their dancer is doing and to confirm they are in the proper class for their age and level.