In most cases, after a trial class(es), new students find the correct dance class that suits their age, needs and desires and then they simply move up each year to the next level with or without assessments. But, what if a student starts dance as a hobby at an older age and has been placed in a class with younger students?
Sometimes parents and child together with the new dance teacher decide to start in a younger aged class to slowly catch up on their peers. It is a good idea to review this situation at the end of each term and decide whether enough progress has been made to be able to move up and join the correct age group. When dance is a recreational hobby, a sense of achievement and fun should be paramount and most children feel embarrassed and uncomfortable when placed in a class with younger students.
At The Dance Centre Peregian Springs we try and place new students in the correct age group from the start and then we provide a lot of help and assistance each class as well as the offer of extra free classes to catch up. However, some dance schools do insist on placing students in younger classes.
If your child has been placed with a younger age group check on their progress regularly. When your child feels they are no longer struggling with each exercise and have mastered the basics of the class with a moderate to good degree of stretched legs and pointed toes, some core control and knowledge of arm and feet positions you should consider asking the teacher if she/he can be moved up.
Term 2 is also a good time to rethink whether your child may have been placed in a class that is too difficult or the age group too old for them. Often children can be too proud to say that they are not managing or worry that a different class may be too inconvenient for whoever is doing the driving. If you are concerned please check with both your dance teacher and your child if this may be the case. It is always better to be one of the 'Stars' in a class and not one of the strugglers, and the correct class placement can work wonders for a child who is perhaps under performing and under stress. Suggest trying out a lower level at the start of Term 2 and see if this is the better class. Often children give up dance after a few terms because they think they are not good enough when in fact they were simply placed in the wrong class and never had a chance to shine. A change in Term 2 could be the answer to fulfilling those dreams.
TIME TO ADD A DIFFERENT GENRE?
The start of a new dance term or year is also a wonderful chance to trial different dance genre. Often students start their first exciting year of dance in one genre - say Classical Ballet and after the first term realise that they absolutely love dance and more importantly that dance can be a whole lot more than just one style. They realise that there are some amazing and vastly different styles to try. As a parent please don't be tempted to simply switch classes but ask your dance teacher if your child can trial some other dance genre. Term 2 is often an ideal time to try out other classes as exams and concert work are usually in Term 3 or 4.
Ask if your dance school offer free extra classes to trial different dance genre. At The Dance Centre we offer three extra free classes per term which can be used to trial other teachers, classes or style.
Doing more weekly dance classes and different genre will not only increase your child's pleasure, self confidence and self esteem in dance but bring them added technical prowess, strength and control and a huge amount of satisfaction in their progress which will be greatly accelerated through the extra class(es).
If your child would like to take a dance examination this year most schools have set numbers of classes that must be attended. Finding out now is a good idea so that you don't miss out. The classical ballet Royal Academy of Dance examinations for example often require twice weekly attendance and starting earlier rather than later means a well planned, relaxed and more confident approach to the assessments later in the year.
Enjoy Term 2 and explore all the opportunities your dance school has to offer!