Dance To EvOLvE Blog

Dance At Home: Bonding Time With Your Dancer!

Posted by Brittany, Dance To EvOLvE on Dec 30, 2013 12:15:00 PM

dance classes, kids dance class for kidsDance At Home:

Bond With Your Dancer!

For many children, dance class is a weekly activity, however with the company of a parent or guardian, dance practice can continue all through the week! Not only will practicing at home help your child to improve his or her technique, but it can also be a great bonding experience! 

Implementing at-home practice time often stumps the parents of young dancers. Below, we’ve provided several tips for making practice time a fun activity for parents and dancers alike!

How To Practice With Your Dancer At Home:

Talk with your dancer’s teacher!dance teacher, dance classes, dance classes for kids

Speaking with your child’s dance teacher is a great way to begin your at-home practicing. The teacher is familiar with how your dancer learns, what he/she struggles with, and what routines and steps the dance class is currently working on. Oftentimes, dance teachers will post videos of specific routines online for the purpose of at-home practice. Communicating with your teacher not only ensures that you will collect the appropriate material to practice, but also provides opportunity for positive reinforcement in class. Affirmation from a teacher, such as “I can tell you’ve been practicing at home,” is a great way to motivate children to rehearse. 

Set A Schedule!

It is important that your dancer knows ahead of time when at-home practice will occur just as they would know when their dance class is. By planning ahead, it is something that he/she can look forward to! In addition, working together to decide what different moves you'll practice together will give your dancer a feeling of responsibility, and he/she will enjoy the "grown-up" activity of planning a schedule with you. Post a calendar where your dancer can see it, and remind them in the morning if you have practice time scheduled for later that day. Keeping a consistent routine will turn practice into a habit, preventing arguments on days when your child may be feeling tired or lazy. 

Create a Rewards System!

Children are very goal driven; give them something to work towards! Create a chart where dancers can track their progress. Perhaps after 5 completed practice sessions, a small reward is given...such as a trip to the ice cream store! (This means additional bonding time!) For bigger goals, perhaps 10 practice sessions, a larger reward may be given. Maybe a new tutu? Talk to your dancer about what would motivate him/her. As each reward is reached, the opportunity to discuss progress arises. “After 10 practices, look how much easier it is to shuffle!”

dance classes, children dance classesMake It Fun!

This is the most important part of practicing at home! While practice is a time to focus on improving and memorizing, dancing together should feel like fun, not a chore! Obviously, your little one enjoys their kids dance class, so at-home practice should be the same. Create a fun playlist (your dance teacher can help with song suggestions), set aside a special dance space in your home or backyard, and perhaps even put on your favorite dancewear. Remember, technique should be mixed in with fun! Let your dancer be creative; once you’ve practiced steps and routines recommended by your teacher for 10-15 minutes, encourage your child to show off his/her favorite moves, or create a small piece of choreography together! Giving your dancer the freedom to use his/her imagination will keep dance practice interesting, engaging, and fun! Practice time can become "mommy/daddy and me" time...a special time for you and your dancer to spend together each week!

Every family is different, so take the time to see what kind of routine works best for you. As your dancer begins to improve and make progress, you can be proud and celebrate your hard work together! Think of all the fun you can have as you move and groove together throughout the week...who knows, maybe as a parent you’ll be inspired to take a dance class of your own!

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Tags: Dance Studios, dance, Tiny Tot Dance Technique, recital

How much technique should 3-4 year olds be learning in class?

Posted by Brittany White on Feb 6, 2012 2:26:00 PM

There are many approaches to teaching so every teacher and dance studio is going to structure their tiny tot dance classes differently. How much technique to teach in a 3-4 year old class will depend on the goal of the class, type of dance, and the quality of the teacher and studio. If the class is designed to be a general movement or creative dance class, specific dance technique may not be taught and that is okay. The teacher will most likely concentrate on the creative side of dance and developing the dancers’ imagination. Teaching and encouraging expression, pretend play/ dance, coordination, music and listening are key in such a class.

I believe all of these things can be taught in a class in addition to introducing the basics of technique. There is a reason fundamental classes are so popular for 3-4 year olds, it is the perfect time for them to be introduced to basic dance technique. This age is beneficially challenged by learning basic balances, turns, jumps, and choreography and specific technique such as 1st position, plié, and introducing the ballet barre. In a tiny tot tap class, dancers can learn heel and toe digs, shuffles, stomps, and shuffle hop step to name a few. The specific technique taught is not as important as a good teacher using moves and activities that have a purpose. The movements taught in the dance class should build a basic foundation compared to a class where the teacher goes from one activity to the next with no ultimate plan or goal in mind.

I often hear parents asking if their dancer is learning enough technique or they want their dancer to move up a level so that they will learn more technique. I caution parents to have this mentality. Dance lessons need to be age appropriate. If a dancer is doing something that is too old for them, they will not be successful because they are not strong enough to physically execute the dance move, which is why dance teachers plan curriculum appropriate to not only a child’s mental ability but their physical ability. Also, in a dance class that is not age appropriate for your dancer, the movement would be presented in a way that is too mature for the young dancer and therefore will lose the dancer’s attention.

The most important thing for a tiny tot dance class is that the class has a good balance of learning ‘dance’ moves while also having fun. Everything, even the technique, should be taught in a fun, creative and game-like manner to keep the young dancers engaged and wanting to come back to class each week. As they get older and stronger with a higher attention span, the teacher will introduce more and more technique.

Brittany White, Dance To EvOLvE Director

Tags: Tiny Tot Dance Technique