I have recently written a post for parents of little movers on Green Spot Blue (a parenting and literary Web site) on dance education and what to look for and expect in a dance class.  The article can be found here.

Here is a snippet from the beginning of the article:

Dance education, like any other type of education, seems to be divided into two main approaches:  hollistic or test-oriented. In this case, however, the test tends to be the end of the year show, most commonly referred to as the “recital”. 

As a dance educator, the word “recital” makes me cringe. To me, it implies a demonstration of acquired skills, which could also be referred to as “tricks”, to an outfit dripping with sequins referred to as a “costume”, and a production with little care to the design of lights, sound, set, or choreography to express more than a picture of the product that has been bought. The treatment of dance lives more in the arena of athleticism than artistry and education, and well, kids are learning stuff but what stuff might be up for debate when you pay close enough attention.

The key for deciding how, when, and where your child should start their dance education (and they should, regardless of gender!!) is to first decide what kind of experience you’d like them to have and then find a venue that may offer those type of experiences. As in everything else, there is good and bad and ugly, but with the right information you may either A) be able to find the right place or B) make the most of what is available.

You can read the rest of the article here. I hope you enjoy it.

3 thoughts on “Picking Up the Steps: An Introduction to Dance Training

  1. I see your points…..but please remember that although many many studios have the typical recital as you describe……there are still some of us who have a show, which we call a recital, in which every dancer is showcased for his or her strengths, where we do age-appropriate movement (both age-appropriate in that it is not “sexy”, but also appropriate in that we are teaching the building blocks and not just tricks), and where we try to have the older kids learn about unique choreography and telling a story through their movement.

    Not all recitals are created equal! 🙂


    1. I agree! That is why I chose my words carefully (such as implies rather than means, for example) and said there is the good, the bad, and the ugly before describing what to look for. Since many “good” studios are also competition studios, I also mentioned that competition can be healthy when done for the right reasons or framed in the right way. I am sure I would send my own kids to where you are teaching, Corey, “recital” or not. 😉

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to respond! I means so much.

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