Here we are again. Dance Class Season! You thought I’d say Fall, didn’t you?
In my experience, dance is a year-long activity broken down into its own seasons: Dance Class season, where dancers are going back to school and back into formal dance technique lessons; Dance Competition season, where dancers add weekend dance and travel to their routine; Recital season, where all of the Dance Class season and Dance Competition season come to a final crowning pinnacle of joy and rapture; and finally, Summer Intensive season, where dancers can try a new technique, relax and let loose with their friends in the studio and blow off some steam from the past three seasons.
So, let’s talk about Dance Class season.
Dance class season is just like the first day of school. Fresh new leotards and new shoes. Maybe a new dance bag. Going to the drug store to get new ponytail holders, bobby pins, and hairnets. Ahh…love Dance Class season! It’s the chance to begin something new or advance to the next phase and bring along all of the technique you have learned from the past year.
With this opportunity for newness and excitement, parents and dancers sometimes forget that there are some standard etiquette practices in place. artists in motion has a Youth Policies document which you all read and signed, but I thought it was pertinent to throw out some helpful tips for parents to ensure that you have a great year!
• Have your dancer dressed in the proper dress code for their class. Laundry becomes overwhelming, but please make sure your dancer has the correct clean leotard and fresh rip-free tights or dance shorts. Dirty or “stale” dancewear can lead to your dancer feeling embarrassed and not being able to perform at their highest level during class. For older dancers, show them how to properly care for their leotards and tights in cold water with mild detergent on the hand-wash or delicate cycle, don’t use fabric softener. I use a lingerie bag I bought from the Dollar Tree to help keep snags from happening and stretching to a minimum. Allow dancewear to dry flat.
• Walk your dancer to and from the studio. On certain nights, there is a lot of activity going on in the parking lot due to Nease High School activities. There is always a lot of activity going on in the dance studio in between classes and when you add parking lot activity to the mix, teachers can’t be in two places at once.
• Make sure your dancer has used the restroom before they get to the studio. If the teacher has to stop the entire class for one dancer to use the restroom it causes a distraction and sometimes starts a chain reaction. Of course nature can’t be dictated, but at least trying to prevent interruptions for bathroom breaks is important!
• Be encouraging to your dancer and support them in the challenges that dance provides. Do not judge other dancers at the studio or as if your dancer is better than anyone else. Leave “Dance Moms” to the television writers, treat each other with respect and courtesy. Always stay positive and encourage your dancer to try their best and to have fun while learning how to dance!
• Teach your dancers to say thank you to the teacher after class. This one may be a bit more difficult since you are not in the classroom. In most studios applause or verbal thank you’s are common. (if you don’t come from a dance background, bet this one was a new one for you!) artists in motion instructors end each class with reverence which instills respect in each of the dancers.
I’ve loved seeing all of the new dancers bustling in and out of the studio in the past couple of months. Their excitement is catching! It’s going to be a great Dance Year!