August 8, 2022
If you have questions or are uncertain about the first week of dance classes, you are not alone!
The first week of dance class is an exciting but nervous time for children and parents, especially if they are new to dance, or are at a new studio. First impressions are important, and your child is no exception. Making sure that the first week of dance class is fun can help the whole year go more smoothly.
We have organized these tips into Before Your First Class, The First Week, and After Class so you can jump to the ones that are most important to you.
a) Being well prepared ahead of time (both student and parent) is an import part of setting yourself up for success. Most studios expect dancers to arrive at their lessons dressed in appropriate attire, with limited (or no) jewelry and hair secured away from the face. Different studios and dance styles have different clothing requirements. Your studio should send you emails, give you a handbook, or other communications to make sure you are clear about attire. Don’t hesitate to ask if you don’t know, they are always eager to help!
b) It would be helpful to find out if there is a washroom or change room available for your dancer when they arrive, or if it would be better to get them dressed and prepared at home before you go.
c) Setting expectations is important also. If your dancer is old enough to understand, be honest with them about the hard work as well as the benefits of dance class. Don’t sweet-talk your kids into believing dancing is all fun and no work. Let them know there will be hurdles to overcome; learning will involve making mistakes and growing with them; some class sessions are easier or harder than others, and so on. Help your child to remain open-minded to understand that these classes build character, and encourage resilience and perseverance. As they grow and get more involved, they will learn teamwork, how to manage conflict of interests, how to work under pressure, and best of all, how to develop the confidence to perform in front of an audience.
a) Be on time. This teaches your dancer the importance of punctuality, and shows them that you respect the time of everyone else in the class.
b) The youngest dancers will often have tears or anxiety in the first few weeks. This is normal. Dance teachers are trained to get children on task quickly. It is not uncommon to have a few dancers that need to be held the first month of class! The best way to ensure success is to assure them they are going to have fun. It might sound counter-intuitive, but if you leave as quickly as possible you are teaching them that you trust the environment where you are leaving them, and they will pick up on your confidence. We recognize that this is hard for parents as well as young dancers!
c) Encourage your dancer to use the bathroom before class. Teachers will gladly take them if they do need to go during class, but this can be a disruption.
d) The first few weeks of dance classes for older children often include curriculum review and getting everyone comfortable with new classes and new teachers. This will relax the students and helps teachers ensure that students are properly placed in correct classes. If dancers have been placed into classes that do not fit them, teachers will let parents know and make adjustments
a) You don’t always have to stay at the studio while your child has a class, and some studios do not have waiting rooms or lobbies. However, if you do leave during your child’s class, please be on time for pick-up. If you are running late, please call or text the studio so that your dancer and their teacher are not worried when you will arrive.
b) Ask your student about their class. They can be experiencing some overload of new things, you help them process their experiences by asking specific questions. Here are a few that we like to get the conversation going:
c) Build excitement for the next class as soon as this class is over. The idea of dancing every week might be a new habit for your dancer, your encouragement is very important to help them build this wonderful habit.
We would be more than happy to answer any questions you have, dream with you about your dance ambitions, or discuss any dance-related topics.