We are in the beginning weeks of the season. It is an exciting time as dancers come in with their new shoes, tutus, and are trying new disciplines. It's also sometimes an anxious time for our tiniest dancers. For many this is their first experience in a classroom setting. For some this is the first time they have been away from Mom. How do you know if your child's behavior is normal? Is it ok that they cry? Yes! It can take them 4-6 classes to adjust to the new environment. Some of them will cry. They don't have the language or self awareness to express their anxiety through words. Usually our wonderful teachers and assistants can distract them, get them to engage, and love them until they feel comfortable. It's also hard for some of our little ones who have spent all day in daycare. All they want to do is spend time with Mommy and now they are going to another class. It doesn't mean that they don't like dance. They just want something else at that moment. Toddlers don't understand time and waiting. (Those of us who have them know this well!) It is also very normal for some children to sit and watch for several weeks. They are processing, reading the situation, and determining if this new experience is ok. Some are perfectionists who won't try something until they know they can do it right. If your child is coming home and practicing her steps, moving like the animals, doing the Wake up and Wiggle dance, talking about dance, or "teaching" her stuffed animals, siblings, or you then she is right where she belongs. Give her time to adjust and get comfortable. Learning this dance of independence is a process. I have attached a great article for your reference. Be patient, give lots of encouragement, and know that it is normal. =)
This is a GREAT question! You are getting ready to shell out hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars for your child to dance. How do you know it is worth it? Her eyes light up when she talks about dance. She comes home and shows you what she is learning in class. Her confidence is blossoming. Maybe she always stood at the back or wouldn't talk to others. Now you see her up front in the class, chatting away with new friends and sometimes even random people. She is willing to try new things. Her perseverance and work ethic are getting stronger every week. She meets challenges head on with a look of determination. All of these things come from dance. All of these are life skills.
Meet Gina. She came to us as a shy middle schooler who had just moved from Connecticut. She barely said 3 words her first year at the studio (I am not exaggerating). As she learned, grew, and became more involved with the studio we saw her transform from this shy kid to a confident young woman. Her skill level increased dramatically. She started competing and doing solos. She took as many classes as she could. She assisted in the preschool classes. She helped lead the Big Sister/Little Sister program with our Troupe dancers. She danced on the Disney stage and in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. She took dance in high school and auditioned for scholarships. This once shy kid was offered a $100,000 scholarship to Long Island University's dance program! She ultimately decided to stay closer to home and attend UNC-Charlotte as a dance major. She is just one of the many success stories at Studio Five. As she heads off to college this week we wish her joy and success beyond her imagination.
Your child may not choose to continue with dance beyond her grade school years, but isn't the confidence, self worth, perseverance, work ethic, and determination worth more than gold? Find the studio that will build that in your child. The one that is focused on proper development, love, and building confidence. That keeps class sizes low so that every child is given individualized attention and care. Where they value building relationships with all of their families, not just the company families. Come see us here at Studio Five. We would love to help build your child into a confident, passionate, well rounded young woman like Gina.
Ms. Meghan is the owner of Studio Five Dance Company, LLC in Fuquay Varina, NC. She graduated from Meredith College with a degree in dance education, has taught in the public schools and private studios for over 15 years, has a special love for a "good prop," cannot remember lyrics to save her life, is known for her unique descriptions of movement, and is always up for an adventure.