Choosing dance lessons for kids
Physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and it's especially important for children, who tend to carry habits formed in childhood into their adult years. Plus, regular exercise helps ward off childhood obesity and, perhaps more importantly for parents, teachers, and other caregivers, burn excess energy, helping children to focus better in school and sleep better at night.
Of course, exercise can take many forms, and children don't always have to think of activity as "exercise." Sports are one great way to encourage physical activity, but not every child is athletically inclined, and many sports are seasonal. For those who want something a bit more artistic, dancing lessons provide a great source of activity year-round.
Types of Dance Lessons for Kids
Although many people envision ballet lessons or cotillion when they hear the words "dance lessons," there are actually many different types of dance lessons for kids, from the traditional jazz, tap, and ballet to contemporary, ballroom, and even hip hop dance lessons. Dance doesn't have to be the formal, structured waltzes of yore -- there are all kinds of dance and movement classes that help children tap into their creative, expressive side while improving their rhythm, flexibility, and coordination.
Some of the most popular kinds of dancing lessons for kids are:
- jazz (including variations like Broadway and lyrical)
- modern and contemporary
- hip hop and African
- Latin or ballroom
Group lessons are the best way to introduce your child to a particular genre because they are relatively inexpensive and allow children to learn with others of their own age and level.
What to Look for in a Dance Teacher
Most dance lessons are offered through dance studios, which may be large facilities or simply a renovated portion of an individual home. Often, the studio owner is an experienced dance teacher who instructs most of the classes, at least at the advanced level. However, beginner dance classes may be taught by other instructors or even advanced students.
You may not have much choice in your child's actual instructor, but most dance studios provide an opportunity for you to meet all of their instructors and even sit in on a class or two before you sign your child up. Instructors should be practiced dancers with competition and performance experience. Above all, they should be friendly and patient with children.
Ask about a trial period so that your child can attend a couple of classes before you commit to regular lessons. Many studios have a per-class fee or a period of time within which you can get a refund.