So! You’ve done all the research for which studio and class to enroll your dancer for their first dance class (if you haven’t, read our last post on how to choose the perfect studio)!
Here is what you will need to get them rockin’ and rollin’ in their first dance class!
Depending on what style of dance they are taking, they will need shoes. For our starter classes they are all combo classes so they need Ballet, Tap, or Jazz shoes. For ages under 12, they grow so fast but this is not really a place to buy bigger so they “grow” into them so teachers can just what the feet are doing. For Ballet and Jazz shoes we need to see just what the foot is doing so you want them to fit snuggly with no more than a half inch space at the toes. Makes sure that the back of the shoe doesn’t cut into their heal, especially when pulling the draw string. Dance shoes for children are pretty true to their street shoe size, but again, you want them to fit snuggly. They can be canvas or leather.
For Tap it can be a bit trickier to find the end of the toes and the shoe. You want no more than an inch room here.
Because they do grow so quickly, don’t feel pressure to buy the name brand shoes. I have found great quality shoes at Target and Pay-Less. Although, dance wear stores are reasonably priced as well. Two of my favorite brands for quality are Leo’s and Bloch.
At Total You Dance, we don’t want you to go out and purchase all new things until you feel your dancer is interested, and committed. That is why we offer their first class free and have a recycle shoe program.
When I was little I loved to twirl and spin in petticoats and tutus. The more ruffles, the better!
For Ballet you will need pink tights (which we sell at the studio) and a Leotard (leo for short). For younger ages, let them have something fun! You can never go wrong with ballet pink or classic black. But nothing too distracting please. I have had dancers show up in grandiose skirts and tutus just to want to watch themselves twirl and pose in front of the mirror the entire class. Very cute, but very distracting.
Ages 6 and above, I prefer no skirts, as I want to see what is happening in their body with alignment and posture so we leave skirts as optional. Again, pink or black colors would be best. Some schools require uniforms or certain colors depending on levels so that takes the guess work out of it.
For Jazz and Acro classes, same kind of rules apply. Leotard (leo), tights (pink or tan) and dance shorts.
Note: Don’t concern yourself with small holes or runs in tights, we want them in class dancing rather than miss out due to clothing mishaps.
It is mandatory at my studio that all dancers have hair in a bun, or they do not perform or enter class. Seems harsh, I know, but when you are twirling and whipping around, it can be quite painful to get hit in the eyes with a ponytail and it can be ver distracting for the dancers to keep pushing hair out of their face.
Is your dancer coming straight from school to the studio? Or Dad is dropping them off and when he does hair it seems to look like
a hurricane found its way to your dancers hair? I have a couple solutions. First, style their hair for the day in a bun before they go to school. Here is a video tutorial on how to make a great secure bun (insert link on bun tutorial). You want to make sure it is secure so your dancer doesn’t get in trouble for fixing a bun that has come undone and wont stay during dance classes.
We do have extra hair fixins to help for emergencies, but it is best to get into the habit of getting the hair up and out of the face.
Recipe for the perfect bun:
Metal Spiral Spin Screw (link to or image) or Hair elastic
Bobbie pins for fly aways
Practice makes perfect. and this is part of a dancers discipline in being a part of dance.
Is it 5 minutes before you need to leave for the studio and little Sally can’t find her left ballet shoe. Panic!
Enter: Dance Bag. Although we don’t turn dancers away for missing shoes, this is a great place to store all your dance shoes and accessories in one place. I always teach that once your shoes go off, they go into their bag. That way you are never scrambling.
I have seen everything from a brown paper grocery bag, to a reusable grocery bag, to a hand made fabric bag. A bag is a bag. Of course, making things ascetically pleasing (sequins, sparkles, and glitter oh my!) sure helps them to get excited about using it and not losing it. For little dancers, it can be small and functional enough for a few pairs of shoes, some extra hair ties, and maybe a furry stuffed friend who just has to come to dance too! As dancers age, the bag gets bigger and needs to be more functional. I suggest one with lots of pockets for help organizing and a zipper so things don’t fall out.
Check out our post on what goes in your dance bag (link to whats in the bag).
I grew up in a studio that had a water fountain, bathroom, and A/C in the studio. What a luxury!
Not to often here in Hawaii. In addition to the hot climate, dancers sweat a lot, therefor needing to hydrate more. Please pack a water bottle in their dance bag.
A Positive Attitude
No one wants a grumpy dancer, but it happens at times. Some dancers tend to throw a fit about going to dance, which can be hard on the parents.
My question is this: how are they when the leave class?
Happy? Excited? Tired and sweaty? Giggling? Smiling? Begging for more?
Chances are, if you are struggling with getting your dancer to class, they always leave happier.
At Total You Dance, we don’t want you to go out and purchase all new things until you feel your dancer is interested, and committed. That is why we offer their first class free and have a recycle shoe program.by