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Is Your Child Serious About Dance?

Signs to look for and what to do So your child has been happily taking one or two dance classes a week and you thought it was all sorted for the year BUT then, out of the blue, she (for 'she' also read 'he' please) suddenly states emphatically that she wants to become a dancer and needs to be at the studio every day working hard towards this most elusive of goals. Or was perhaps the writing already on the wall and both you and your child know that taking more classes or even training to become a dancer is the next logical step.

What are the signs you need to watch out for

Your child:

Loves every class and talks constantly about the classes they take. Can't stop dancing around the house. Dances to every type of music wherever they happen to be. Spends hours making up dances. Doesn't want to leave the studio when class is over. Frets during the holidays that there are no classes. Is creative and artistic. Obviously in a dance school where professional as well as recreational teaching is taking place your child's teacher might have alerted you to the fact that your child has a lot of talent perhaps combined with passion, hard working ethics and/or a great physicality. The first step would be to add one or two more weekly classes to your child's schedule and if after a term or two that seems to make her even more eager then you'll need to make a much larger leap of faith.

If your current dance school has a renowned and successful Part or Full Time Programme you might consider trialing a term of this. Make sure that the Vocational programme is run by reputable certified ex professional dancers and has produced a good many professional dancers. A programme that doesn't deliver the progression to one of the big International elite dance schools is a shameful waste of time. The years and years of training, often to the detriment of a good academic schooling, should ideally always lead to a career somewhere within or related to the dance industry.

Making sure you are at the right dance school is paramount to your child's chances of success. The most talented child can be totally ruined and never have a chance as a dancer by poor or inexperienced teaching. You will need to search diligently for a school with a good programme for Vocational students. Here at The Dance Centre Peregian Springs we have a great Junior Excellence Programme that can give the 8-10 year olds a chance to try out a really seriously long weekly (early morning) classical ballet class. Those that thrive and declare this class to be their favourite inevitable progress onto the Full Time Vocational Programme. Trialing such programmes is critical in finding out whether your child truly has the motivation, determination, hard working ethics, discipline, perfectionism, humility and passion that makes up a great dancer alongside a near perfect physique and natural talent. Often the very young child will have no real concept of what becoming a dancer really means and has perhaps never even seen or experienced a professional ballet or dance performance. I was a typical example of this. As soon as I could walk I knew that all I wanted to do was move in various ways to express the music I heard on the radio, on our gramophone and in my head, even to sounds like the wind blowing or leaves rustling. I had no name for this activity that I constantly engaged in until I saw an excerpt Sleeping Beauty with Margot Fonteyn on my Gran's TV and I clearly remember the relief of having a name to what I wanted to do. Become a DANCER.

Exposing your child to a variety of live dance performances of various genre will help them decide if this is really what they want.

Talking to older dance students already in full time programmes is beneficial as well as following professional dancers via the internet.

Instal a small barre and mirror at home and see it it is utilised.

Whatever you do, don't ignore the signs as a frustrated young dance student can become difficult, depressed and lack concentration at school leading to bad grades.

Realising, supporting and facilitating a young dancer's dream is the greatest and bravest move you can make. Choose the very best of teachers and prepare for an incredible journey into an amazing world. It really wont be easy but it will be worthwhile - ask any dancer's parent.

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