Preparing for Your Child’s First Dance Class: 5 Essential Tips

Welcome to the exciting world of dance at Charleston Dance Center! Dance offers young children a remarkable opportunity for exercise, socialization, and an introduction to rhythm, musicality, memorization, and more. As you embark on this journey with us, it’s important to understand that the dance world comes with its own unique language and etiquette, which might seem a bit challenging initially. Don’t worry, we’re here to guide you through the process and ensure that both you and your child have a fantastic experience.

For your convenience, you can find our class schedule and online registration by clicking here.

To help you and your child prepare for that first dance class, here are five tips:

1. Familiarize Yourself with Dance Lingo

As you engage with your child, fellow parents, and instructors, you might encounter unfamiliar terms. For instance, you might hear someone discussing how challenging today’s “combo” was. Rest assured, they’re not referring to fast-food choices or snack preferences. In dance, a “combo” refers to a brief sequence of movements that dancers learn during class. If you have any queries, feel free to ask us. Our friendly staff at the front desk is always ready to assist!

2. Dress the Part

Proper attire is key in dance – it reflects respect for the teacher and enables them to assess the dancer’s form accurately. Moreover, wearing attire that your child likes and finds appropriate can boost their confidence. To help you choose the right attire, we’ve provided a guide for you to follow on our Class Descriptions page.

A Quick Note about Tights:

While dance tights may be pricier than everyday tights, they offer exceptional durability. Ordinary tights are prone to tearing, whereas dance tights are designed to withstand the rigors of a season or more. Many of our dancers at Charleston Dance Center prefer transition (or convertible) tights. These tights feature a small opening at the foot, allowing for easy removal. Younger dancers often find these tights more manageable.

3. Pack Your Dance Bag Wisely

A dance bag is a dancer’s best friend. For Preschool classes, having a bag is particularly helpful as dancers change shoes during class. This ensures shoes return home after each session (remember to label them using a sharpie). Additionally, consider including these items: spare tights, extra socks (useful for tap dancing), adhesive bandages, and a water bottle.

For Level I-IV classes, dancers are encouraged to bring water (bottled water is available for purchase at the front desk) and a change of dance attire. Dancers enrolled in ballet should have their hair in a bun, so packing hair ties, bobby pins, and hairnets can be very convenient (these items are also available for purchase from our ballet instructors).

4. Prepare Your Dancer

Set the stage for success by preparing your dancer for what lies ahead. All classes run for an hour or less, and bathroom breaks should not be necessary during class time. Kindly remind your child to use the restroom before class begins.

While dance is undeniably fun, it’s essential to clarify that it’s not playtime. Your cooperation in helping us establish this expectation is greatly appreciated.

In our Preschool classes, dancers transition from ballet to tap shoes. They’ll be expected to change their shoes themselves, gradually fostering independence. In the youngest class, this is a skill we’ll work towards, as we’ve observed it to be a point of pride for the children.

5. Stay Positive and Supportive

While it might be tempting to offer technical pointers like turning out feet or adjusting arm positions, your encouragement and positivity have a more profound impact. When you foster a supportive atmosphere, your child is more likely to showcase their newfound skills and build confidence. Remember, home is a place of comfort, while the dance class serves as a space for learning and growth.

We’re thrilled to welcome you and your child to Charleston Dance Center. With these five essential tips in mind, you’re well-equipped for a successful start to your dance journey. If you have any further questions or need assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Let’s embark on this dance adventure together!