First Dance Experience: Creative Dance for Children-How to Choose a Dance Studio

Choosing your child's dance studio

When your child expresses an interest in dance what should you look for when searching for a dance studio or teacher? If you are like most parents you want your child’s first experience to be pleasant, fun and a learning experience. But, what should you look for? Here is a list of several points to consider before making your final decision.


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What to ask when choosing a dance studio for your child

What age does the studio accept students?

While most studios have a creative movement class for toddlers, studios vary with their policy about exactly what age a child should begin. Age 3 or 4 is the average. Some studios have taken students at age 18 months, with a parent interacting through the class. Others may open their doors to a two year old.

What is the class size?

Class size for toddlers is an important factor. In most cases, if you find our child is one of over a dozen kids without more than two teachers or one teacher and an assistant, you may want to pull your child out. Individual attention, even in a carefree atmosphere, should be a primary goal, not filling the class with as many kids as possible.

How many minutes should the class run?

Thirty minutes is the average creative movement class. Any time over that your child may become restless.

What type of learning activities can I expect to be introduced?

A creative movement class focuses primarily on gross motor skills: hopping, jumping, skipping, turning, and marching; along with rhythm, counting, clapping, shapes, sounds, concepts such as soft and loud, following directions and other similar activities.

What if my child cries during class?

It is not unusual for a child, especially one who is shy, to be hesitant in any new class. Getting into a social mode with other children her age, or a first teacher experience may cause anxiety and perhaps a few tears. If after several weeks, however, you feel your child is still resisting and not enjoying the class, you may want to re-evaluate her attendance. She may not be ready for the experience, and may need six more months of maturity before re-introducing the class.

How to find the right dance teacher & other concerns

What should I look for in a teacher working with my child?

This is a very important question. Is the teacher friendly, greeting your child and seeing him or her as an individual? Does she know your child by name and his personality? How does the teacher handle a crying child in class? Is the teacher in control of the class? Are there discipline problems? How does the teacher gain your children’s attention and keep it? Does your child’s teacher look relaxed or frazzled while teaching? While teaching, where is the teachers attention; agenda; or motivation? Is the attention equally distributed? Is your child learning new things and having fun while doing it? Does your son or daughter look forward to dance class? Is your child’s teacher patient? Do you feel the class is progressing or is it stifling; or boring? Is there a progression of skills that your child is able to demonstrate?

What should I look for in a studio?

With today’s concern for inappropriate touching there is an emphasis on visibility. Many ‘old school’ studios have restricted viewing, in order to reduce the amount of distraction a child faces while learning a new skill and being ‘watched’. However, a good rule of thumb is how often you are able to watch. In my opinion, if a teacher needs to be in the confines of privacy to get your child to pay attention, then perhaps there is a basic problem with the teacher’s ability to be in control of her class.

Take a tour of the studio. Is it clean; roomy; with adequate changing areas and bathrooms? Are there windows for you to watch your child's class? Are there mirrors on the walls? How is registration and payment handled? Does the staff appear friendly and professional? And, finally, does the studio look bright, cheerful and kid friendly?

What type of clothing will my child wear?

That will be up to the dance studio’s policy. Some like leotard and tights with ballet slippers all basic black and pink; some encourage leotards and tutus. The tutu is the little net skirt around the dancer’s waist. Boys would wear black dance pants and a white t-shirt. Other places don’t care what a child wears as long as the student is able to move freely in it.

What if I register and my child does not like it?

Many studios offer a free first class; other studio policies restrict any refunds, but may offer a different class in lieu of the nonrefundable class policy. Be prepared for other registration fees.

Can I enroll my son in a creative movement class, or is it only for girls?

Creative movement is exactly as it says: movement , and what three and four year olds don’t love to move no matter what their gender. If your child loves music; and can listen and follow directions, by all means let your son march; spin and jump with the rest of the group.

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Comments 16 comments

Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

"If your child loves music; and can listen and follow directions, by all means let your son march; spin and jump with the rest of the group."

I just loved this! Thanks for this wonderful article.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

Fantastic tips on getting children moving. It is so important to keep kids moving and learning. This is a wonderful way to do both. Great hub!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Genna-thanks for reading and commenting. I used to have a dance studio and LOVED teaching creative movement. In fact, I really miss teaching to this age group-they are a blast! And, yes, we had boys in our classes.

Cara-Hi. Thanks for reading and commenting. Hope you have a wonderful w/e.


Ign Andy profile image

Ign Andy 5 years ago from Green Home Office

Great tips Denise, I should try this.

My little daughter love to dance. He favorite TV program is Boogie Babies (cBeebies TV), and always try to follow the dancing routine.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Andy, Yes, if there is a studio near you, by all means sign her up. Kids love this class. It's not only fun for them, but it teaches them so much, including socializing with other kids.


Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 5 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

Hello there my sweet friend, I love this hub, what a grand idea. Let that creative side of us run wild, let the children get the exersise they need and let them bond with others of like mind. Rate this up up up love & peace darski


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Darski-I agree, we can all let our 'inner child' run, dance and jump around. I LOVED teaching creative movement. I find the ages 2-4 to be so fascinating and refreshing. They are little sponges and it amazes me what they learn in such a short time of life! Thanks my friend. God Bless.


LadyTwizzelton profile image

LadyTwizzelton 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

This was precious advice for kids.

I'll pass this along to my friends with kids.

I loved this hub.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hello Lady T-thanks for visitng & reading the hub. I'm glad you found it useful and thanks for spreading the word about the value of creative dance for kids. I loved teaching dance and miss those days. It was a joyous experience for me and it should be a joyous experience for children.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Dancing is a marvelous way to help children identify with rythym, balance and co-ordination. Great for posture, which helps to alleviate back pain when they are older. Dancing promotes self-confidence and gracefullness. This is such a good article on selecting a dance teacher. You are a "gift from heaven" teacher and person. Rated up and awesome!!!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Audrey. YOu have named so many positive reasons to take dance class; wish I would have included them in my hub. Thanks for your comments and compliment. I appreciate them. Hugs.


reddoordance profile image

reddoordance 4 years ago from Wylie, TX

Great article- it is so true that parents need to do a little research before putting their kids in the first dance studio they find. The studio they choose can make or break the experience for the child. It could ruin dance for them or turn it into a wonderful, fun way to express themselves, exercise and have fun!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi reddoordance-you're right...many adults turn away from dance as a way of fitness because they had a traumatic childhood dance experience. Dance is natural and should be fun. Thanks for reading.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 3 years ago from Dubai

Dancing is a great way to enjoy and have fun for children. Great tips in choosing the best dance studio that makes dancing fun.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Denise - 2 yrs ago I read this hub for the first time. I was thrilled to see it come around again. I'd almost forgotten what a "class act" you are for the dancing world. How I wish I could have had you for my dance teacher as a child. I love dancing. My inner child feels so free. Dancing is a marvelous way to express one's feelings. Thank you dear friend for sharing your expertise. Voted up and rated all the good stuff!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks Vellur, I loved dancing as a child and an adult...it's really important for children to express themselves with music and dance.

Hi Audrey-let's make a deal-you sing with that beautiful voice of yours and I'll dance. :) and then you teach me to sing and I'll teach you to dance, lol Thanks for your lovely comment and accolades. I appreciate them. Enjoy your weekend.

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