Dancing with the Stars gets around 6.4 million viewers regularly, and roughly 24 million Americans aged six and above subscribe to choreographed dance forms every year.
Suffice it to say, Americans love dancing! And rightfully so, as it comes with multiple benefits for everyone.
Therefore, if you're contemplating enrolling your child in a dance class, you're probably wondering what typical dance lessons for kids entail and what your child will learn.
Keep reading as we dish out all the details:
1. Familiarizing With The Teacher
Getting your kid to adopt an extra-curricular activity isn't the most straightforward task. The first hurdle is deciding what the activity will be, and after that starts an uphill climb!
Children rarely venture out of their comfort zones, and as a result, meeting a new teacher and peers will get them on edge initially.
Therefore, most of the dance teachers start slow and steady. In dance, there are no deadlines to meet, so there is no reason to rush through class – it should be fun!
The first session will summarise what students and their parents should expect throughout the entirety of the course.
Professional dance teachers do try establishing a systematic structure in their classes. This helps students set their expectations, helping them decide whether to continue with the lessons or not.
This session is usually a trial, and most instructors don't charge. This helps them attract a lot more participants and gives students a chance to sample the course.
Like any other class, the teacher will introduce themselves and ask the students to do the same in a light-hearted and casual manner.
They can also take this opportunity to break the ice by playing a game, helping the children introduce themselves, and the dance style relevant to the course.
Playing a game is an excellent way to help students make new friends while learning a couple of steps as a gateway to the course content.
Towards the end of the first session, the instructor should outline the goals of the course and what it may culminate in.
For most classes, this would usually be an end-of-year showcase for parents and organizational stakeholders.
This introductory session aims to give students the confidence and comfort to ask questions and prepare for the next session.
Find dance classes on Superprof, and cut the hassle of group sessions!
2. Warming Up: The First Step To Dancing
Once all the teachers and students have been introduced to each other, which would only happen after taking the first lesson, most dance teachers would move forward by warming up.
Like the adult classes, dance classes for kids also require warming up for about ten to fifteen minutes. This helps in stretching the muscles and preparing the body for exercise.
Warming up is always an excellent way to clear the mind and preparing for what is to come; plus, it is also helpful for avoiding injuries.
Furthermore, some kids sign up for dance lessons after school, which may be counter-productive because they are physically tired and mentally bothered with the thoughts of the day.
Warming up between school and dance class can help them focus, pay attention to their movements, and listen to the teacher. In this way, its results are pretty similar to meditation.
But we don't mean to paint a dull picture of warm-ups as they can sometimes be quite entertaining. Your instructor will probably have you warm up to the beat of a popular song, keeping everyone excited.
During this session, everyone has to sit together on the ground, be it, student or teacher. Every kid must find enough space for themselves without getting in their colleagues' way.
Turning the wrists, touching toes, loosening up the neck, etc., are some of the warm-up exercises that would help children evade any dance-related injury once they start the actual dancing.
In search of a session near you? Find dance lessons for kids in your vicinity.
3. Learning the Discipline
Whether it is contemporary dance, salsa, swing, ballet, tango, or modern jazz, the goal of any dance class is learning further about the discipline of dancing, having fun while getting better at it.
You can expect most of the class to be spent learning the routines and steps particular to the chosen style of dancing.
There is a difference in different forms of dancing, and the ballet steps are not necessarily similar to the ones in African dance, Capoeira, or Kathak.
A lot of dancing is about feeling the steps and becoming one with the routine. When you look the part, you are the part; therefore, most new dancers are advised to watch themselves in the mirror as they dance.
You could be preparing for the end-of-year performance or just a regular class; watching yourself will show you your progress. It also helps visualize their steps and correct their form and timing.
In most cases, the dancers learn by copying the moves. The end goal is being able to execute the entire routine after practicing a couple of times.
The children will rehearse the steps of the earlier sessions while adding newer steps into their dance until they become second nature to them.
This is because a good dancer tends to dance not just with their mind but with the heart and soul. They do not want to think of the steps while dancing; that is why they rehearse until it feels natural.
4. Creating Routines
Your child might be a part of a class where the teacher inspires them to create their routines or improvise. Here, students either collaborate or work alone to create a dance routine to present at the end.
Furthermore, the students can also make their own steps if they want. Generally, this part is most enjoyable as it allows the children to express themselves.
Creativity and imagination are essential for kids; it helps them find their identity as dancers. Creative workshops such as these would help prepare them for the end-of-year show as well.
Even when the instructor guides students with choreography, they may ask them to pitch in with their ideas and steps.
In many cases, some routines will not be shown to them until at the very last moment. This allows the teacher to assess the students.
Get help in choosing the proper dance lessons for your kids.
5. End Of Session Stretches
Whether it is tango, break dancing, or west coast swing, every session has to end with stretches. Very much like warm-ups, stretching at the day's end is therapeutic and healing.
For every muscle you used during your dance, you must stretch at the end of the session. The purpose of stretching is to avoid DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) a day after your dance lesson.
Stretching also helps you relax your body. The dance teacher would possibly play mellow music for the class to stretch to after a challenging routine.
Furthermore, you will be asked to carry out breathing exercises. Some may not feel useful; however, they are essential if you want to feel better the day after.
Your kids would leave the class feeling relaxed and calm!
Dance lessons for children and stretching also teach kids the importance of taking care of their bodies. There are no rules to that; every dancer must respect their limit and stretch as much as possible.
This provides a good life lesson as well. Know your limits, but work towards exceeding them!
Find out more about the benefits of children's dance lessons.
6. Preparing Your Kid For A Dance Class
What does your kid need to bring? How should they be dressed? Should you be present for moral support?
These thoughts will race through your mind as you drive your kid to their dance lessons. To help you feel prepared, here are some things to remember:
It is essential to wear the right outfit when dancing; keep in mind to avoid tight clothing or jeans. However, the clothes cannot be baggy either. Your child must be able to move and not get entangled.
Usually, your child would require leggings or jogging bottoms, just like what you would wear during yoga. These types of clothes are flexible, and they stay close to the body.
Initially, your child might feel like they are wearing very little; however, they would get used to it over time. A similar rule applies to the tops as well.
Additionally, you can also put together a bag for your child to take to the lessons. This can include a snack, water bottle, coat, and replacement clothes. Your kid should now be ready for their dance lesson!
Do not forget to check the schedule of classes at the dance school or your local dance studio. If you cannot find anything of the sort, remember that multiple private tutors offer dance lessons for children.
Whether your child wants to learn ballroom dance, classical ballet, jazz dance, hip hop dance, Zumba, or modern dance, you can arrange private lessons for them from various experienced and talented tutors at Superprof.
There are multiple tutors at Superprof providing online, face-to-face, or group tutorials. Each tutorial has its pros and cons; therefore, it is up to you to select one that is best for you, your budget, and your desired learning style.
Many tutors at Superprof provide free tutoring for the first hour, so you can use this time for trying out different tutors and understand which one is right for you.