Dance Class Tips for First-Time Parents and Students
Back-to-school season also means back-to-dance season! For those students who are attending their first dance class ever, the dance studio is an exciting yet unfamiliar world. Here are some tips for parents and students to feel more prepared for their first steps into the dance studio.
Now that you’ve registered for classes and received your schedule, it’s time to prepare for dance. The studio should provide you with their preferred dress code for your child’s classes. If they haven’t you may want to check with them on their preferences. A typical dress code for a young beginner ballet class, for example, is a black leotard, pink tights, and pink ballet slippers (for girls) or a white t-shirt, black dance pants, and black ballet slippers (for boys). Some studios can be more or less strict with their dress codes, so it is important to check with your teacher, studio owner, or office manager (or the studio’s website, if they post it there) before purchasing any dancewear.
Dance shoes are just as important, if not more, than the dancewear portion of the dress code. Every studio has different brand and style preferences. Again, the dance shoe preference for each of your child’s classes should be communicated to you but, if it is not, you should reach out to the studio for direction. If you have an old pair of shoes that still fit but do not meet the dress code, most studios will allow you to use them for a short period of time. However, it is always beneficial to keep the lines of communication open between you and the studio, so they are aware of your situation.
A common question that first-time dancers ask is what to bring to class. All dance students should have a dance bag that they will use only for dance class. It should be big enough to at least fit all of their dance shoes and a change of dancewear. Very young beginners should always have a change of clothes (leotard and tights, or underwear and dance pants) in case of an emergency. Having a bag that fits all of their dance shoes, instead of just what is needed for a given day, ensures that shoes will not be misplaced and they will always have the correct shoes for class.
For older students, or those who have several classes on the same day, it is a good idea to keep a small, non-messy snack in the dance bag. Many bag styles have several outside pouches to accommodate this. Water bottles can also be stored in an outside pouch, or clipped to the dance bag strap. Students who have breaks in between classes can also bring their school homework to work on at the studio, if necessary. Some studios sell water and healthy snacks to their students, so having a few dollars on hand would also help for older students.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Before packing snacks for your child to bring to class, it is important to ask if there are any food allergy concerns at the studio. Some children with peanut allergies, for example, can be susceptible even if someone else in the room is eating a food item with peanuts in it.
The first day of dance class can make a child anxious, just like the first day of school. For new students, it is a good idea to attend a studio open house or make an appointment to take a tour of the studio, familiarizing them with the dance rooms, changing areas, teachers and office staff. Knowing and adhering to the studio policies, dancewear and shoe requirements can also reduce nerves on the first day. Dancing is a means of socialization and interaction with other children, and it can also cultivate discipline, coordination, memory skills, and organization.
Best wishes for a wonderful new dance season, and welcome to all of the new students for this year!