By Former Australian Ballet Senior Artist – Felicia
With Christmas and the New year upon us I thought it might be a good time to let you know my thoughts on finding the right dance class for your children.
There are a few things to consider when evaluating your child’s class but for me the key factor is enjoyment. You want them to look forward to it and to have fun while they are there!
Having been a professional dancer I completely understand it is important to work hard and try your best, but dancing should be fun, especially at a young age.
A couple of other important things to consider:
Is your little one dancing just for fun or do you want them to focus on the correct technique? Technique is like a language for dance – if you don’t learn it by a certain age you have to really start again from scratch.
My advice would be to make sure they are dancing for fun until you know if they have a love for it. One class a week is perfectly fine if they are younger than 6. If they love dancing just for fun a class a week would always be okay.
If by around 7 or 8 years of age your child is continuing to love class and is showing a passion for dance and some promise, then it is time to make sure the school they are in has a good strong language behind their teaching – RAD, Cecchetti or Vagonava. If they offer one of these and are seen as a good strong school (ideally with graduates who have gone on to become professional dancers) you are in the right place. If not, it might be time to look around for an alternative.
This is an important one because if you are just starting off you want to be somewhere close to home so it is easy for you to get to. Also, there is a good chance of having other kids from your school and friendship circle too, which will make them have more fun and give them more chance of sticking with it.
Check fees before you join of course and don’t feel pressure to do more classes straight up. In the first few years a good teacher can teach a child well once a week for ballet. Make sure your child doesn’t over do it as far as taking on too much in a week after school because that can make them too tired and potentially lose interest, especially if there is no time left for anything else.
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