Dance parents invest a lot of time and money to make their children's dance dreams a reality. Hours of driving to studios, super early mornings to get to competitions, not mentioning the costs of lessons and outfits. Parents get so involved in dancing and they have lots of questions but sometimes never ask them. In this post you will find the answers to the most common questions from dance mums and dads.
1. How many dance lessons should my child have during the week?
If only a specific number existed. There are a few things to consider when you decide how often your child should dance:
Dance level- some experienced dancers who have been training for a while have daily practices with lessons throughout the week. Children who just started dancing are usually fine with 1 or 2 lessons per week.
Performance at school and other commitments- if you notice that your child's grades at school go down and they have lots of other activities already, adding extra dance sessions may not be sensible.
Goals- if you aim for winning big competitions and championships, 1 or 2 lessons per week won't bring these results. However, a single weekly dance lesson may just be an exciting hobby for your child.
2. What will my child have to sacrifice to be the best?
Remember that before being a dancer, your child is still a child. They need to live and grow up that way- it just happened they also love dancing.
Vast majority of competitions happen on weekends which means they will have to do all their homework regularly before going away. As many children have play time and birthday parties on weekends, your child may miss some of them, but SHOULD NOT miss all of them!
The sacrifices shouldn't feel like sacrifices. If you notice that your little dancer starts making excuses not to dance or go to lessons, they are trying to tell you something. So make sure you listen carefully! If you see that your child is unhappy, this may just be too much for them at the time.
3. When should my child specialise in a specific style of dance?
Many dancers, as they grow up, decide to specialise in a specific style, either Ballroom or Latin. It's a natural progression and it depends on what the dancer enjoys the most.
There is no benefit in encouraging your child to dance only one style. In fact, it may actually slow down their progress, make them bored or take away the opportunity of dancing at high level the other style. Many dance champions are usually great at both styles.
All children should do both Ballroom and Latin dances until they've grown mentally and physically to choose their specialty.
4. Do my children have the best dance teacher out there for them?
There are 5 important characteristics (5 Cs) of a great teacher for your child:
Caring- you can see it in the way the teacher leads a lessons and looks after your young dancer
Confident- children must see a role model in their teacher. The way they stand, talk and execute the steps as children always mimic behaviours
Competent- teacher who is qualified and has experience in working with children. Holding a World title doesn't necessarily make a good teacher for your child- remember that.
Composed- working with kids may be tough, but teacher should always remain calm and professional- during lessons and competitions.
Communicative- teacher must build a rapport not only with dance students but also parents. Creating a dance champion is a team work!
5. What results should I expect from my child at dance competitions?
Every parent sees their child as a star and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Before any results come, the child must first enjoy the journey of learning and competing. As a parent you shouldn't expect titles or medal. Of course, kids want to bring trophies and do better than their dancing friends, but you as a parent can't guarantee that, neither can the teacher.
You will notice how your child progresses in dancing. How they learn new steps, interact with others, improve posture or gain a bit more confidence. These are the most valuable things your child will gain from dancing.
Titles and trophies are a cherry on the cake which come when you mix fun with a lot of hard work, determination and seamless team work between the teacher, your child and You!
If you have any other questions, comment below and I will do my best to answer.
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Author: Marcin Raczynski
Photo Credits: Maggiore Fotografico