For as long as I can remember dance studios didn’t accept children for classes until they were three. It was like something happened when the child turned three that allowed them to be able to dance. I just accepted the fact and regurgitated it to parents when they wanted to sign their children up for dance. I understood this as dance “law” and followed it to a T for the first 6 years that I taught dance. And then something happened. I became a mom.
Ever since my oldest daughter could walk (at the young age of 9 months) we had daily dance parties at home. She was doing some of the most amazing moves in our kitchen, living room, and anywhere that the music played. I have a video of her at about 11 months doing her own interpretive dance complete with pivot turns, dynamic movement, and some pretty creative arms. As she got older I began to teach her marches, jumps, skips, chasse, bourree, and grand jete. I was amazed at the transformation that was happening right before my own eyes. Friends would always comment on how physically advanced she was and I never really made the connection between that and how much dance “training “ we were actually doing at home.
When I had my second daughter two years later I decided it was time to begin my own dance program. I always had dreams of opening my own dance studio so I began to make the transition. I started by renting other people’s space. I wanted to offer classes that they didn’t have so I was not directly competing with their existing program. Also, I did not have a sitter so I had to figure out a class to incorporate my 14-month-old daughter. I decided that it was time to dig into my creative movement studies and put together a Parent/Child class.
The journey from that first class has been incredible. Those students who started with me when they were all 1.5 years old are now turning 4 and have been dancing with me for 3 seasons already. The skills that they learned in the Parent/Child class has served them well through their dance training. It has also made strong bonds between the students and I, as their instructor. It is so exciting to watch them grow up and expand their knowledge of dance. I feel privileged to have instilled a love of dance in them as they grow into amazing children.
The rule about needing to wait until you are three to take dance is not one that I follow at my studio. Dance can begin as soon as you can move. We foster this innate love for dance and start early to build a long lasting relationship with dance. Just take a look at my four year olds who have been dancing with me for 3 years and you will be amazed. More importantly, the skills they have acquired along the journey have turned them into life long lovers of dance. They have built healthy and creative habits that will last them a lifetime. What more can we ask for!