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If you are new to dance classes and have never had any prior experience with dance classes, don't be afraid to ask questions. There are no dumb questions.

Students generally begin their classes at the age of 3 to 3 1/2. Although some studios have classes for 2 year olds and a parent.

Very young dance students will learn some of the basic ballet and dance terminology, but, by no means should you expect them to be studying "technique".....meaning that they would be working on perfecting movement placement or movement combinations.

Young students will have fun in the classroom, and should be encouraged to do so. Occasionally very shy students may appear to be learning nothing at all, but when they go home, they show their parents everything that went on in class that day. Eventually these students will come out of their shell and this is just one of the many benefits of dance instruction.

Tap dancers will develop a sense of rhythm gradually, and each child will learn at her own pace. Some students will be more challenged by rhythm structures than others, and this is normal and natural.

Jazz dance is a fun high energy form or dance that is usually accompanied by popular music using a strong background rhythm, or more free form jazz musical accompaniement. A classic jazz style of dance is stylized, "stretchy" and follows the structure of the music.

Hip Hop evolved out of street dancing and is culturally based. While some folks think it can have a negative connotation, if it is presented as the fun solidly based rhythm study that it is, the negative aspects disappear. Sometimes it has been know to incorporate break dancing, which was popular in the 1070's. Hip Hop benefits the students by presenting the strong background rhythm structure. Movements are jerky...similar to a marionette.

Acro dance combines dance movements with gymnastics. Sometimes this is referred to as lyrical dancing which is an interpretive form of movement expression. The movement is designed to reflect the emotions of the song the dancer is dancing to.

Modern Dance grew out of a desire to perform the antithesis of ballet, as it is more solidly grounded and less ethereal. Famous modern dancers include Martha Graham, Jose Limon, Murray Lewis, and Alwin Nicolais, to name a few. One of the most popular and familiar modern dancers is Twyla Tharp, who pretty much put the modern dance world on the map of universally recognized dance forms.

You may find that your child will develop a strong preferance for a particular style of dance, but it is always important to have classical ballet training...not matter what!
Ballet training gives the dancer the discipline to easily transition into other dance styles...almost effortlessly at times.

For Inspiration, take your child to see professionally performed ballet concerts like: Cinderella, The Nutcracker, Copellia, and Swan Lake

-Kathleen Bazzano

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