Dance To EvOLvE Blog

5 Easy Steps to Enhance Your Child's First Dance Class Experience

Posted by Brittany, Dance To EvOLvE on Feb 28, 2014 11:45:00 AM


The first day of dance class is something to be excited about...it can also raise a lot of questions, though! What should we expect? How can we get ready? What will we experience and what does my child need to wear? In hopes of answering these questions (and more!), we've outlined a few things you can do for your dancer to give them a fanatistc first experience.

1. Talk About The Class Ahead Of Time:  It’s a great idea to talk about the new dance class beforehand so that your dancer knows what to expect.  For the toddler dance classes and older, it’s important your dancer knows ahead of time that you will not be going into the room.  Offer ongoing encouragement such as “I’m going to be so proud of you to watch you dance with the big kids.”  “I will be right outside if you need me.”  “You are going to have so much fun.”  “We will do something special afterwards for my big boy/girl dancer like get ice-cream.” “You are in a big kid class now, so mommy’s/ daddy’s have to sit outside.”   This way, there are no surprises.

kid's dance class

2. Meet The Teacher Ahead Of Time:  Use the teacher’s name when talking about the class ahead of time and show them the dance teacher’s bio and picture to get your tiny tot excited to meet their new teacher.

3. Bring A Friend:  It always adds to the fun and eases any butterfly nerves to have a friendly face with you. Invite a friend to join by having them schedule a trial dance class.

4. Come Dressed Appropriately:  It also helps, especially for the young dancers, to understand they are going to a structured class (versus unstructured playtime) if they are wearing the appropriate clothing.  We do not require you to buy anything specific, but get creative on the clothes choices to make them feel like a dancer.  If you are ready to make a purchase, receive 10% off your first order with discountdance.com by using Dance To EvOLvE's code TP35961. You will also find affordable dance attire and shoes at stores such as Target, Payless, and sometimes Walmart.  If you do not have the ballet or tap shoes, just let your dancer know you are going to try it for today and if s/he likes it, then you will get the fun dance shoes. 
dance class with your child

5. Get Involved:  If your dancer is participating in Baby Boppers or Magical Munchkins the more you get involved, the more engaged your dancer will be and the sooner they will start doing the activities on their own.  If your dancer is in an older class, just stay near-by (at least that first day) so s/he has the visible comfort of you close-by.

Remember, every dancer’s first experience will be different, depending on their age, the type of class they attend and their past experiences. And yes, tears are normal! Adjusting to a new activity can take time and it is very common for it to take a few classes before a new dancer is comfortable and fully engaged. The best thing to do is give it some time because only time will tell.

We can't wait to get dancing with your little one!

 

Tags: Dance Classes Dress Code, tiny tot dance classes, toddler dance class, Dance Clothes, Where to buy dance clothes & shoes?

10 Life Skills Kids Learn From Dance Classes

Posted by Brittany White on Dec 14, 2012 7:47:00 PM

Dance classes are an amazing tool for teaching children basic life skills that can be used for throughout the rest of their lives. So many different skills and rules are needed to be successful in this world and kids are never too young to start learning them. 

1. Spacial Awareness: Kids learn about spacial awareness pretty quickly in dance classes. In many young classes, you will see teachers using colors, spots, or shapes to keep the kids standing in a certain area. When teachers use props like these, they are also teaching kids to not play with them or move them so they stay in a formation or line. In the real world, we all get a little offended when someone gets in our personal bubble, don't we? Teaching kids to be aware of space at a young age will help avoid some conflicts at school and on the playground. ballet class

2. Taking Turns: Dancers must take turns going across the floor, sharing information with their teacher, standing in the front, freestyling...the list goes on! Knowing when it is our turn to do something is a skill that everyone uses constantly to get through every day life. The sooner a child understands this, the sooner they understand how to interact better with others, and the less conflicts they will experience.   

3. Standing In Line: Throughout dance classes, dancers will stand in lines to keep things efficient, organized, and visually appealing. When people are not in lines when they should be, it can create a sense of chaos. Imagine Disneyland, the grocery store, or the freeways without lines! School teachers, camp directors, and other program leaders rely on lines constantly to get from place to place and teach this lesson over and over to run successful programs. Why not reinforce this skill in dance classes to help kids be more acquainted with every day expectations?

4. Listening: Dancers are taught to listen and watch more than speak. They must listen to their teacher, to the music, and to the sound of their steps. The more a dancer can listen closely, the more they can stay on beat and develop their musicality. Good listening skills are one of the most important things you can teach a child. It helps them be successful in school, understanding rules, and communicating with others. 

5. Talking When Appropriate: How often do you correct your child when they speak out of turn, interrupt, or talk back? This happens almost all day long until about college, right? Dance classes teach kids to be quiet while stretching, waiting in line, while the teacher instructs, and so on. If the teacher is experienced, they will create moments for their dancers to talk so kids know when it is and isn't appropriate to share. You can't expect a kid to be quiet for an entire hour while they are having fun, but you can teach them when it is ok to share their ideas.

6. Respect: Respecting other dancers and well as your teacher is a huge concept in dance class. Kids are taught to share, respect space, take turns, listen, clap for others... the whole shebang! Teachers really tend to drive this point home when students start dancing in groups to perform for each other. Dancers are always taught to clap for one another, give each other compliments, and never make fun of anyone for their dancing. If the teacher does it right, s/he should be creating an environment that feels safe and loving for kids to build their confidence. The more dancers respect one another, the better they will all feel and the more they will grow. 

7. Good Posture: Part of good etiquette is having good posture. Dancers are taught to keep their heads up, stand up straight, and keep their shoulders back. Younger dancers don't always learn these skills in too much depth but they start learning not to hang on ballet barres like monkeys, to lift up to stand on their toes, how to shift their weight quickly, and to change how high or low they are dancing. The muscles that create good posture are being developed whether they realize it or not. Dance classes force kids to start having body awareness which translates to posture and good body language a little later in life. 

8. Following Directions: Kids are all in the process of learning how to follow directions. Children who dance really get this reinforced throughout the entire class. Dancing is one of the only activities where one must follow the direction of their choreographer, the music, fellow dancers, and their own bodies all at the same time with precision and while looking good. There is a lot of direction going on there! We all know that following directions is a huge skill that dictates the majority of our lives. Again, let dance classes teach them while they are young!

9. Sharing: Young dancers often get to use props in their classes because it is a creative way for the teacher to keep them engaged in what they are learning. With the use of props, students are typically sharing through using them as well as bringing them back to the teacher. It's amazing how willing a young child is to help clean up, isn't it? Many times tiny tot dancers can get into little tiffs over who gets to give which prop to their teacher. Sharing is encouraged during clean up and in dance games to coincide with the lessons kids are being taught about sharing in school and at home. 

10. Dressing To Impress: Many dance studios ask that dancers have their hair out of their faces and are wearing dance attire. Dress codes help dancers focus so they aren't fidgeting or confined to their clothing. You don't tend to see too many sloppy dancers out there now do you? When we learn to dress to impress at a young age, it sends a message of structure, organization, and cleanliness. We make better first impressions and become more appealing to others when we take good care of ourselves. 

Many children's activities teach or reinforce similar life skills but the way dance classes do it is unparalleled. Combine a great teacher with music, movement, precision, athleticism, beauty, grace, fun, games, props, and energy and you've got a recipe for an amazing experience! Try out a dance class and teacher that engages your child for a while and you'll be surprised at how quickly these skills kick in gear! We all know how important each and every one of them are in our every day lives, develop them in your child through dance!

Tags: children activities, Dance Classes Dress Code, kids dance classes

How important is a dress code in dance class?

Posted by Brittany White on Nov 20, 2011 10:24:00 AM

In regards to ballet classes and tap classes…

I believe there is a value and real importance in a dress code during a structured dance class, but I do question how seriously and when that dress code should be implemented. The clothing dress code helps a young dancer focus during class by 1. Understanding they are going to a structured class (compared to an unstructured playtime) 2. Ensuring that the clothing is not a distraction during class (such as when a dancer arrives wearing dress up clothes like a large party dress or fairy wings) and 3. Makes certain that a dancer is appropriately dressed to be necessarily covered. I do not think a dress code is necessary during general movement or Mommy and Me type classes. Of course dance leotards, tights and tutus always add to the fun, but they are not required for the educational development in any tiny tot dancer during dancing class. If a parent is watching the budget (and who isn’t nowadays?) or a child does not want to wear the suggested clothes, a dancer can be equally successful and have has much fun during class wearing a basic pair of leggings and a t-shirt. If this is the case, I would suggest setting aside the leggings and t-shirt for dance class only, so again, the dancer learns that these clothes are affiliated with a structured class and not just playtime.

The dress code that I do struggle with is when a dance studio requires a specific leotard or a specific color for a children's dance class, that is usually sold or branded by the dance studio. The real reason behind this requirement is not to benefit the dancer but to create additional revenue for the dance studio. Money seems to fly out the door enough as it is when you have children aside from having to spend money on expensive dance clothes that they will quickly grow out of. Besides, at that age, dancers should be having fun and what is more fun than picking out your favorite color leotard? Even if a studio does have a strict dance code, don’t get sucked into the unnecessary pressure to buy everything from the studio. You can find great dance clothes at great prices at www.discountdance.com or www.dancedistributors.com.

With all of that said, a dress code becomes more important as the dancer gets older, especially in ballet classes. Proper dance attire enables the teacher to see the dancers’ positions and movement in order to give necessary corrections for the benefit of the dancer’s education. A dress code also teaches discipline, which is important in an art as demanding as dance. For a very traditional ballet class, students are usually asked to wear a black (or solid color) leotard and pink tights. Pattern leotards can be a distraction to the teacher’s eye.

The other parts of a dress code in dance classes includes hair pulled back in a bun (or at least a ponytail) and proper shoes. These both are important for the dancer and should be adhered to. (Again, shoes do not need to be bought directly from the studio when there are less expensive options.)

In regards to hip hop classes…

A dress code for a hip hop class should be very general. To promote the culture and energy of the hip hop style, the dress code should simply be sweats, t-shirts, and tennis shoes with laces. Dancers will often do floor work and is why long stretchy pants are needed and t-shirts are important to cover the dancers as they start moving. Tied tennis shoes with less traction are good for sliding and turning. Girls’ hair should be pulled back so they don’t develop bad habits of fidgeting with hair while they are dancing.

Overall, a dress code is important in any dance class but the strictness should depend on the age and where to buy the required clothes should always be questioned or sought out at lower prices if preferred by the parent. Nothing should keep us from dancing...

Brittany White - EvOLvE Dance Director

Tags: Dance Classes Dress Code