I am a big believer in getting children performing at an early age. Of course it helps to develop their performance skills as they grow and develop into stronger dancers but more than that, I think performance is an opportunity to develop life-skills.
A dance recital is a fun experience that creates memories for a lifetime and is a wonderful chance for family and friends to see what the dancer has learned in class. The preparation for a recital is important because as the dancer is working on their recital dance, they are developing memorization skills, rhythm, technique, teamwork, and much more. Dancers learn to be proud of what they have learned and accomplished with their dances. It’s important for children to understand that when you work hard at something, you are rewarded with a great experience, some fun, and pride in your work.
A recital also gives the dancer a opportunity to be on a stage and to perform in front of an audience. This is a truly needed life-skill. Being able to get up in front of a group will prepare them for group projects in school and public speaking their entire life. Performance increases a child’s comfort level and confidence in all that they do as they are learning it’s good to try things in front of people and even okay if we mess up...the show must go on and life must go on.
I know many parents who are hesitant to have their child perform because of one reason or another. I encourage parents to have their children perform and to ensure it is not their own insecurities keeping the child from going on a stage. The earlier a child begins performing on some level, the better. With that said, a performance can bring on some nerves or different emotions but that is both normal and okay. Unfortunately I see a lot of dance studios or teachers putting unnecessary stress on the children when it comes to the recital so be sure you are comfortable with the studio’s philosophy on performance. Also check to see if the teacher will be dancing with their younger classes or not as this makes a huge difference for the little ones. Ask how long the show will be so you understand how long the kids will be backstage. Some studios, like Dance To EvOLvE, even allow volunteer class moms to be backstage. Knowing that you could stay with your dancer might ease some anxious feelings.
When a parent is hesitant to enroll their child in recital because they are shy, I always tell them, “you never know what we will get on show day. I have had my stars of the class freeze up on stage and I have had my shyest students in class be the stars on show day...it is all okay and a part of the experience.”