Dance is an incredible opportunity for young children – it offers exercise, socialization and an introduction to rhythm, musicality, memorization and more! But, the dance world definitely has its own lingo and etiquette that can be tough to follow at first.
Here are 5 tips for making sure you and your child are ready for the first dance class:
1. Learn the lingo
When talking with your child, other parents and teachers, someone will probably say something you’ve never heard. Like how hard today’s combo was. They aren’t talking about picking a meal at McDonald’s or the cheesy pretzel snacks. A combo is a short combination of moves that dancers learn in class.
Any questions you have, we would love to answer and there is always someone at the front desk ready to help!
2. What to wear
Attire is so important in dance – it shows respect for the teacher and enables the teacher to see the dancer’s form. It also gives younger dancers confidence when they like what they are wearing and they know it is appropriate. Here is a guide for what to wear.
A note about tights:
Dance tights are much more expensive than everyday tights, but they are also MUCH more durable. Everyday tights get holes very easily, while dance tights are designed to last a season or more. Also, most Charleston Dance Center dancers choose transition (or convertible) tights. These tights have a small hole on the bottom of the foot so the tights can be removed from the foot. These tights are often easier for younger dancers to put on.
3. What to keep in dance bag
It is very helpful for dancers to bring a dance bag.
In Preschool classes, dancers will be changing shoes mid-class so a bag helps to make sure the shoes come home after each class (please also label your shoes using sharpie). Some other items to include in the bag: extra tights, extra socks (just in case they are needed for tap) and bandaids.
In Level I-IV classes, dancers may want to have water (bottled water is also for sale at the front desk) and a change of dance clothes. Dancers taking ballet are required to have their hair in a bun, so a bag with hair ties, bobby pins and hairnets is helpful (the ballet teachers also have these for sale if needed).
4. Prep your dancer
Before the first class, prepare your dancer for what to expect.
All classes are one hour or less and dancers should not need to use the bathroom. Please remind your dancer to go right before class.
Dance is fun, but it is not playtime. Please help us set that expectation!
In all Preschool classes, dancers will change shoes from ballet to tap. The dancers will be expected to change their own shoes. In the youngest class, it is something we will work toward. This is one way we help dancers to become more independent and we have found that this is a point of pride for the children.
5. Your job is to be positive
It is so tempting to remind your dancer to turn their feet out like the teacher showed them or hold their arms a certain way. But, when you are supportive and encouraging, your dancer is more likely to show you what she has learned and to gain confidence. Home is the place of comfort, dance class is for corrections and learning.