A new dance season is an extremely exciting time, but for new dancers it is truly special! The thrill of attending their first dance class, wearing their first tutu, trying on tap shoes or hip-hop sneakers, making new dance friends!
Just like any other sport, new dance moms and dads have plenty to learn. Don't worry… We've put together 6 great tips to help you get off to a great start…
1. Know What You Want In A Dance Class
Every dancer will have a completely different reason for why they started dancing. It may have been for exercise, to increase confidence, for co-ordination, for discipline, or just for fun. Whatever your reason is, it's the right one.
Be sure that you know why your child is interested in dancing so you can confidently confirm the studio you have chosen meets your expectations. Telling the studio director why you have chosen their studio gives them a chance to direct you to the class best suited to meeting your needs.
2. Do A Free Trial Class
Many studios offer a free trial class. It's a chance to get a taste of the feel and culture of the studio, so you know if it is right for you and your dancer. Taking a free first class will also confirm you are registering for the class suited to the level of your dancer's ability.
As a new dance parent, stick around in the waiting area during the class to be sure you feel comfortable with the other parents waiting there. You may be spending ample time there with your dancer. Your comfort is important as well.
3. Get In The Know
Once you have chosen which dance studio your dancer will attend, get to know their policies. For example most studios do not allow street shoes beyond the front door. ...parents included! Ask at registration about the studio rules and expectations, often posted at the studio or on the studio website.
If there are are parent groups that assist with fundraising, consider participating to get to know your new dance community.
4. Talk To Dance Moms And Dads At The Studio
Other parents are your essential resource for surviving your first year of dance. Experienced dance parents will help you by answering your questions as they arise, and guiding you into the know as you start to feel you belong.
Don't be shy. Getting to know your fellow dance parents fosters a positive community-based experience at the studio. Often the friendships that dancers make are deeply enhanced by the their parents becoming fast friends as well. Make an effort. You'll be glad you did.
5. Look The Part
Showing up to a class wearing something different than everyone else can feel traumatic. Often studios have dance uniforms that they require their students to wear for classes. Make sure your child feels comfortable on the first day by asking what the clothing expectations are.
By the way, it's not just about the outfit. Having dance clothing standards allows teachers to easily monitor posture, foster discipline, and provide a sense of community within the class.
A note about budget dancewear…
(It may be self-serving to mention this, but it really is in your best interest that I'm sharing this bit.) Buying seemingly budget-friendly big-box department store dance clothing is actually more expensive. The products you'll find at non-dance retailers will be noticably different from what the rest of the class is wearing, both in colour and the quality of materials.
Dance parents realize early on that many products that are found in department stores fall short of true dance manufacturers such as Capezio, Mondor, Bloch, Bodywrappers, etc. It may seem like saving a few dollars at the beginning of the dance season is a good thing, but these products will need multiple replacements throughout the season as they are not made for the wear-and-tear of actual dancing. This is frustrating as new dance parents will buy these products because they don't know the difference, and then find they have to replace them them shortly after.
Buying quality dance products supports your local dance retailers, protects your dancer from injury, and saves you money because the products are of a quality made for dancing.
6. Be In Communication With The Studio
Dance teachers are dedicated, passionate, and hardworking individuals. If you have any concerns, speak to the studio owner or dance teacher directly as they really do want your child to thrive. But remember, they are often teaching back-to-back classes so calling ahead to find out when they can spare a few minutes is always appreciated. Email or book a phone call if a longer conversation is needed.
The more you communicate with the teachers the more you will realize that you have a caring partner in the success and well being of your dancer.