You signed up your child for dance classes and you are SO excited to watch their every move! You go to walk into dance class with your child when the teacher excitedly welcomes her/him into class and asks you to please wait in the lobby/lounge.
You're thinking, "Huh?!"
Today I am going to introduce you, as a parent, to the world of dance studio life so that you know what to expect going in, and throughout the year.
As a parent myself, I totally get it. You are dying to watch your child's every move in dance class. But, the truth is, your daughter/son will thrive best in dance class without you in it. And I KNOW this sounds harsh, but it isn't meant to be.
Your child loves you to the moon and back, and when you are in class with them, all they will want to do is be with you. They will want to stay by your side and they will not take that very important leap of independence they need in this type of environment. Yes, they may cry... for weeks even. You will question whether or not your child is ready. They are. This is a transition period for them. They are learning to be without you for a very short period of time and with a group of other children, learning something brand new. It might be scary for them! But they will come around... trust me. The teacher will always come to you if she/he feels your child is not yet ready.
But don't worry! There will be plenty of opportunities for you to watch your child in action! Many times throughout the year, parents are invited in the last few minutes of class to watch a cute routine (especially around the holidays) or skill they have been working on. There is also Parent Participation Week - this week is amazing! You get to not only watch your child, but you get to dance right along with them.
Don't forget that your child is learning so much more than dance steps. They are learning social skills, patience, taking turns, sharing, listening skills, coordination, musicality, etc.
There's so much dance stuff. Leotards, tights, shoes for each discipline, hair ties, bobby pins, hair nets, bun forms, etc. Dance classes have dress codes you must follow. This is a good thing! This not only helps the class look uniform, but it helps the teacher see proper body lines and they are able to make many more corrections (which help improve your dancer).
If you see a small hole in a pair of tights, get some clear nail polish and put it over the edges of the hole. This will stop it from getting any bigger.
Always, always, always put your child's initials on her/his shoes and other belongings (but especially shoes). It is so much better than playing "does this shoe fit" in dance class!
It takes a village to raise a dancer! We are in this together. Your child is learning things every week in dance class, but in order for those things to not only stick, but improve, they will need to practice at home. They may even get mini homework assignments - such as memorize 2 sections of ballet theory for next week.
It's crucial that parents are on board with encouraging their children to practice at home. Whether they are recreational dancers or competitive dancers, we are teaching them to commit and be disciplined in their chosen activity. Dancers should be stretching, conditioning, and practicing exercises from class throughout the week.
Joining dance means you are committing to a full season. Some children may tell their parents they want to quit halfway through. I always encourage my children to see their commitments through, and if by the end they choose not to re-enroll, they don't have to... but teaching them to fulfill their commitments now will be a tremendous lesson they will take with them throughout their lives.
My oldest child said she wanted to quit piano about a month ago. I explained to her that she made a commitment and she had to see it through until the end of the season, and then she could make her decision. A few weeks later she came to me and told me how happy she was that she didn't quit.
Oftentimes, when children say they want to quit, it is a small bump in the road for them. I have seen countless times where parents have their children stick it through, and they always come out in the end happy they did not quit, and they even re-enroll for another season.
Never be afraid to communicate with the director/teacher about a problem or concern you may have. The truth is, we care about your children and we want to see them succeed just as much as you do. We are here to talk to you and work any problem out. We want both your child AND you to be happy!
The most exciting time of the year for dancers! They have worked all year learning, practicing, perfecting, memorizing... all for this moment. You have paid for the beautiful costume, the show tickets, and you're ready to watch your child shine on stage. This is the moment YOU have been waiting for. And let me tell you... all the walks/rides to and from the studio, the tuition bills, all the practicing (maybe some complaining), the countless loads of laundry of nothing but dance clothes... this is when you realize how worth it all of it is.
Here's a list of helpful tutorials!
How to sew elastics (criss cross):
How to sew elastics (straight across):
Different hairstyles for dance: