Why is it so important that we teach age-appropriate movement here at SDC? Because your child’s safety depends on it!
Safe movements for young dancers are dependent on their ages and rate of physical growth. For example, growth plates in the skeleton—the growing tissues that help bones become strong—don’t reach full maturity until a child’s teen years.
This is one reason why an eight-year-old dancer will still be introduced to age-appropriate movements even if she has been dancing for six years. Our instructors at SDC understand that certain skills may not be safe for her to practice just yet.
To develop proper technique and a love for dance, we help all of our students build a strong dance foundation over time.
At SDC, we take pride in knowing that our teaching methods must include different approaches for different ages. Our faculty take great care in their teacher education to learn how to instruct children of all ages with the most-relevant tools and resources. Our curricula allow us to ensure the pace of learning is just right at each level.
Here are some examples you may notice from your child’s class:
With little dancers, we focus on developing gross motor skills, such as marching, galloping, and hopping—not intricate technique
Our younger dancers also work on non-locomotor movements such as bending, turning, stretching, and balancing on one foot
Since the muscles that support a child’s hip joints are still developing, we never force a child’s “turnout” (the rotated position many dance steps are performed from)
As our dancers grow, we introduce strength and flexibility exercises only at developmentally-appropriate times
We ensure our dancers of all ages know to never overstretch their muscles, either in class or when they stretch on their own time
In keeping with our modest standards, we also take great care in teaching a mix of family-friendly traditional and trendy movements (everything is “grandma-friendly”!)
Your child’s safe physical development in dance is a top priority in our classrooms, and it is a privilege for us to be a part of their personal growth in the classroom. We appreciate your trust in us as we help your child progress in dance, step by step!
– Ms. Julie
Posted in Education on 10/30/2018 | Comments Off on Age-Appropriate Movement
Many of our students absolutely LOVE practicing dance at home. You’ll find them twirling in the living room and tapping in the kitchen—they just can’t contain themselves! It’s not uncommon for a parent to tell us that their child feels compelled to create her own dances in the living room or teach their stuffed animals how to piqué and passé.
If your child is one these non-stop movers, you might have started wondering, “What can I do to encourage this practice in a safe way? How can I foster this passion?”
We’ve got some great advice for you here with our Dos and Don’ts for practicing at home:
First and foremost, Do designate a specific spot in your house that is “dance practice” space! This could be a room or hallway with very little furniture, or perhaps your garage—somewhere that is easy to move in. Don’t allow tap shoes on your easily-scuffed floors, and never allow your child to practice in pointe shoes at home (even if she has earned her shoes).
Do challenge your child to practice what they remember from class, but don’t worry if they just want to improvise their own moves! Resist the urge to “teach” the dance steps yourself; Do allow your child’s dance teacher to be the authority of those skills in the classroom.
Don’t expect perfection with at-home practice; it should feel relaxed and carefree as much as possible. Do suggest that your child practice with music (any music!) since it will help them become even more familiar with finding the beat and keeping time with rhythms.
Also take care to supervise when your child practices; do watch what they’re doing at home to ensure they are safe—and don’t hesitate to join in the fun!
Practicing dance at home should always feel comfortable and supportive so that your child can unleash their creativity and joy for dancing. Oh, and sneak a video to show us if you can! We love seeing our students in their element at home!
– Ms. Julie
Posted in Education on 10/19/2018 | Comments Off on Practicing at Home
As you’ve probably noticed, the team at SDC has already begun talking about next year’s recital! Costumes will be ordered soon and the event planning is well underway. It’s this time of year, with the buzz of recital beginning, that parents sometimes ask us, “Why should my child participate? What’s beneficial about it?”
The recital is an investment in your child’s dance education and it’s a pretty important commitment, so it’s easy to understand why you want to know all the details. At its core, dance is a performing art, which is part of the reason why we want every child to experience the thrill of being onstage!
We believe there are a few core reasons at the heart of why performing is so valuable, even for our youngest dancers:
Throughout the dance season, your child is making awesome progress in class. And when we say “awesome progress” we don’t necessarily mean the obvious, like learning fancy ballet steps (although that is pretty awesome too!). What we mean is that your super-shy child bursts with confidence, or your child who said “I can’t” now says “I can,” or your teen who hid her smile now shines with every practice. Seeing this kind of progress in class is great, but having it showcased on stage is priceless! Performing allows your child to demonstrate their progress—both with the steps AND with their self-esteem.
The recital is an excellent time to see what’s possible if your child sticks with dance for the long-term. From the audience, you’re able to see the potential dance holds as you watch the variety of styles and age groups. Your child, too, will be inspired by seeing the different dance routines, and might think to themselves, “I bet I can do that too!” Dance offers the promise of so much growth if a young child perseveres and works hard; the recital performance brings this potential into the spotlight!
Performing holds an excitement like some children have never experienced before. Nerves can transform in an instant as the dancers light up with joy when stepping foot onstage; they are swept away by the magic of entertaining the crowd. The sense of accomplishment they feel has them hooked! It’s this growing passion—not perfect technique or memory—that makes performing so special.
Progress, potential, passion … these are truly the foundation of what performing is all about. At SDC, we love pretty much any opportunity to chat about these benefits, so if you have any questions about having your child perform in our recital, don’t hesitate to ask!
– Ms. Julie
Posted in Education on 10/04/2018 | Comments Off on Why Performing is So Beneficial
At SDC, we’re not just teaching dance steps in our classrooms—we’re developing curious, compassionate young leaders and equipping them for success!
We know that it can be a challenge sometimes to know what to do to offer support and encouragement for your dancer—especially if you are still new to the world of dance! Here are three of our best tips for making the most out of your child’s class experience throughout the season:
Talk about dance at home
Although many of our young dancers take just one or two classes per week, dance is usually on their minds every day! Read dance books together or listen to music and try some dance moves in the living room. This helps keep your child’s mind engaged about dance in an extra-fun way—because they can share it with you!
Ask your child to teach you what they are learning
Since dance lessons are built on structure and repetition, teaching someone else can be a fun way to practice. Even if your child is still working on remembering their steps, this can help exercise their memory! (Plus, it can be pretty cute.)
Voice your support
The way you praise your child can be very useful in helping them get the most out of dance class! Use phrases like, “I love watching you dance!” or “I can tell you’ve been working hard.” or “Did you try your best? That’s what’s most important.” Your child’s confidence and enthusiasm will continue to grow with this kind of encouragement at home and at class.
We hope these three tips come in handy as your child progresses through the season, and of course we’re always happy to help with any class curriculum or programming questions you might have. Thank you for choosing to dance with us!
– Ms. Julie
Posted in Education on 09/25/2018 | Comments Off on Optimizing the Dance Experience
It’s a common question to hear from dance parents and students alike: What purpose does the dress code actually serve? Well, SDC’s dress code was established for a few very important reasons:
The number one factor in establishing a dress code is for all students’ safety in class. A basic leotard and tights, along with hair pulled back and the appropriate shoes, ensures that there are no extraneous clothes or jewelry that can cause safety problems, such as an earring caught on someone’s sleeve. The dress code also helps teachers see that students are using the right muscles and alignment.
At SDC, we want every student to feel great about trying his or her best in class. Following the dress code helps us make sure that everyone is appropriately covered … but not so covered that their movement is restricted! We know that kids can sometimes feel self-conscious, and we want to encourage their confidence by helping them feel comfortable in their dance clothes.
A dress code is one way students show respect for their peers and their teachers. It demonstrates an understanding of how a dance class operates, with minimal distractions and the ability to move easily for any combination of steps or choreography. It shows that the students are prepared to learn and are willing to save their fashion statements for outside of class.
Because leotards and tights also often serve as a versatile base layer for costuming, it makes sense that students become accustomed to them during class time. Just as swimmers wear swimsuits and basketball players wear jerseys, dancers wear leotards and tights to have the freedom of movement required to practice correctly and efficiently. It’s our version of a uniform!
At SDC, we take a lot of pride in our dress code and are happy to help you with questions at any time.
– Ms. Julie
Posted in Education on 09/12/2018 | Comments Off on A Dancer’s Dress Code
We are excited to kick off our 13th dance season NEXT WEEK and would like to welcome all of our new families!
Now that you’ve formally signed your child up for lessons and you’ve gotten all the pertinent information about the season, you are officially a dance parent at SDC!
Being a dance parent here is a little bit like being in a secret society; there’s this new lingo to learn and a whole culture that you are now a part of. Here’s the inside scoop on what you need to know for your new status as a Studio Dance Centre mom or dad:
Study up on your dancewear vocab. A leotard is the form-fitting bodysuit that dancers wear to class, and tights are worn underneath (kinda like pantyhose). Ballet shoes are usually pink and should fit snugly on your child’s feet; don’t buy them with room to grow! Tap shoes are the noisy ones, and jazz shoes look a little like slip-on ballet shoes, except with a small heel.
Practice how to do a bun. A bun is the hairstyle we recommend for most classes, as it allows students to move freely without getting hair in their face. A quick Google or YouTube search will give you oodles of tutorials to choose from—or just ask us! We can give you a demo right here in the lobby.
Pack a dance bag. Dance shoes, a water bottle, extra dancewear, and hair supplies … all of these things belong in your child’s dance bag. (Avoid allowing your child to wear their dance shoes outside; it’s damaging.) Be sure to label everything with your child’s name or initials!
Learn about the recital. At SDC, we offer an opportunity every spring for our students to perform onstage. The recital, as it’s commonly known, is when each class performs a routine onstage and in costume, and family and friends watch the show from the audience. Check your Welcome Packet for all the details!
Introduce yourself to the other parents. We love building a community of like-minded moms and dads who understand our culture and enjoy having their children involved in dance. Our super-friendly dance parents are some of the best people we know, so we encourage you to introduce yourself in the lobby. Share stories, find carpools, plan playdates, or ask about their personal experiences at SDC.
We hope this primer serves you well and helps you feel welcome at the studio. We’re glad you’re here!
– Ms. Julie
Posted in Education on 08/07/2018 | Comments Off on Welcome, new dance parents!