Finding Your First Dance Class

Be in control from the minute you decide to take your first dance class. Take your time and check out all of the offerings in your local area. Ask if they have classes specifically geared towards kids who are interested in Musical Theater.

You can check for dance lessons given at the obvious places e.g. dance schools but don't overlook other venues. You can check your local Y, after school programs, recreation centers, fitness centers, etc. Try to find the best place for kids who are interested in Musical Theater.

Call around and ask each place to mail you a kids dance class schedule. Class schedules can, many times, be obtained on the internet so don't forget to ask if the business has a website.

Other kids your age are another good source of dance class information. If you know of kids taking lessons, ask them about their classes.

You may additionally ask to sit in on an advanced class in the style of dance that most interests you. By sitting in on an experienced class you will get a good idea of the elements in that particular style.

Choosing a Style of Dance for Your First Class

Today's Broadway shows feature a combination of dance styles. Recent shows have featured ballet, jazz, modern, tap, hip-hop, African and many other styles. Usually you will see more than one dance style in a show.

So how do you decide what to study?

Having a child in Musical Theater I asked that question of many professionals. The answer always came back the same.

If you want to do well in theater, you need to study ballet. Ballet is the dance style upon which the vocabulary of most of the other dance styles are based.

In a ballet class, you will learn the vocabulary of dance,e.g. first position, second position, turn-out, pirouette, and so on. Placement of the arms is also learned. You will learn basic movement and you will learn how to properly hold your hands and the positioning of the feet. If that isn't enough you will also benefit by the wonderful overall physical workout, better posture and both the stretching and strenghtening of your muscles. Ballet will increase your overall flexibility which greatly enhances your overall dance ability.

It is a very disciplined style of dance and many kids may not find it to be their primary dance choice but, if you want to become a "Triple Threat", you will at sometime in your young life need to take some ballet classes.

Jazz is another style of dance which you often see in Musical Theater. Jazz style has evolved over the years to include elements of many different types of dance. Not as formal as ballet but with many of the same elements it is a necessity for Musical Theater Kids. In fact, if you decide to study Musical Theater in college you will be taking jazz dance for certain. It is, therefore, advisable for the serious theater kid to start young.

Jazz is ideal for a first dance class if you are not ready for the discipline of ballet. It is also fairly easy to find a class in most areas and beginning classes are usually popular so there are lots of them on class schedules.

Tap is another form of dance which is perfect for a first dance class. It is popular in shows, both classic and contemporary. Tap classes are easy to find and the beginning classes are taught to people of all ages. Tap is a good form of exercise and will increase your rhythm skills tremendously.

It is great to study tap but you will eventually need to take ballet or at the very least jazz to round out your dance skills. By doing this, you will also become a better tap dancer.

Think about what if right for you now. What are you trying to achieve? Look at the information listed here, then further investigate. Find out what is available in your area, visit some schools. This will give you a better understanding of each style of dance. Then, just go for it...start your dance training.


Get Ready To Dance, Dance, Dance & Start A Revolution of Your Own

Now that you've signed up for your first dance class, you probably have some don't know what questions to ask or what to expect.

Don't worry, this is where you'll find the basic information to help make your first dance class a joyful experience.

Begin by calling the studio to find out about:

  • Dress requirements for your specific class
  • Whether the class requires a specific dance shoe, socks or do you dance in bare feet
  • Any additional requirements for the class (e.g. do you need to bring a music recording device)

Be sure to follow the guidelines given by the studio. Usually they are set up to ensure your safety. Do not be surprised if you are told that you can not enter class if you arrive late. Many teachers will not allow a student to enter if they miss the warm-up. This helps to prevent injuries.
Upon Arrival:

  • For Your First Dance Class it is best to show up at least 20 minutes early in order to prepare.
  • Bring a bottle of water with you and something quiet to do in the event you have to wait before class begins.
  • You will need to change into your dance apparel. Most studios have specific rooms to do this and to leave your belongings.
  • Hair should be tied back or kept off your face. Again, this is for safety reasons and also so you can see the teacher.
  • Wear very little jewelry or better yet, none at avoid being injured.
  • Your teacher may give you additional dress guidelines in class...follow them.

What Happens In My First Dance Class?

Most dance classes follow a basic structure. Sometimes it can vary a little based upon the teacher's method but for the most part, this is what to expect:

  • Your first dance class will start with a Warm-Up of some kind. Every teacher has a preference and they will lead you through the moves.
  • Next, as this is a beginner's class, you will learn some basic moves.
  • The moves you learn will be formed into a Routine. The Routine will be broken down into small parts, so don't worry.
  • At the end of the class, there will usually be a Cool-Down stretch.

First Class Guidelines

Here are a few tips to help you do well in your first dance class:

  • Do your best by paying attention to the teacher. Do not be distracted by following other people..they may or may not be doing the steps right.
  • Do not become discouraged. Ask questions if you are having difficulty. A good teacher should be willing to explain.
  • Concentrate on learning the steps correctly.
  • Be patient! especially when it is another person's turn to perform a step. Don't lose focus.
  • Relax, it's only your first dance one expects you to dance like a professional.
  • Be proud of yourself, you're on a new adventure and on the road to your goal of becoming a Musical Theater Kid.

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