There are so many different styles of dance out there it can be hard and confusing for any parent to choose which class to start their child in.
Which Dance is Best for Kids?
The best type, style, or discipline of dance your child should begin learning is ballet. If your child finds ballet boring or too disciplined then start with a class in jazz, hip hop or tap instead as it will mean they will be motivated to stick with dance and can do ballet later on.
Many parents will just choose a beginner dance class for their child dependent on availability, location, time or cost. Not sure how to choose a school? Read How to Choose the Best Dance School For Your Child: Guide For New Dance Parents
But if your school of choice offers a selection of classes, why start with ballet?
Why ballet is the best type of Dance for children to begin learning?
Ballet is the best type of dance for children to begin learning as it creates the foundation for aesthetically pleasing movement.
It teaches kids how to point their toes in a way that looks nice to the eye, use their arms gracefully whilst building strength, develop flexibility, increase balance and strengthen their core muscles which are useful in the practice of all other types of dancing.
My child wants to learn hip hop or tap and not ballet, is this ok?
It is absolutely ok for your child to learn another style of dance in the beginning if ballet is not their thing.
It is important that your child is interested in what they are learning so that they are motivated to improve.
Therefore if they love dancing to popular music a hip hop or jazz class might be more beneficial for them to develop their love of dance first.
We are just here to give you a straight up answer which is why we have said ballet is the best.
But if dance becomes more than just a hobby, and your child wants to improve even in their preferred style of dance, they should be doing ballet lessons to build a strong foundation of technique, strength, and flexibility to enhance their dancing in that style.
Our local dance studio doesn’t offer ballet for toddlers and preschoolers what should I do?
Many dance studios may not actually offer a strictly ballet class for toddlers and preschoolers.
Instead, they might call them a combination or combo class or just preschool or toddler dance or something else that does not actually mention ballet.
My youngest daughter started with a preschoolers dance class at the age of three. In the class they practiced pointing their toes and plies just like they would in a ballet class, however they were also taught isolations such as moving their hips and heads to more upbeat songs as they would in a jazz class.
This way the teacher was able to cater for the engagement of the children she was teaching by incorporating a variety of styles of dance into the classes.
Therefore you should ask the studio what styles of dance are taught within the lessons and what classes they will move up and into when they get older.
Our local dance school just offers a creative movement class for kids is this ok?
Yes, a creative movement class is a great way to introduce dance and movement to your child, especially if they are young.
In fact, the Royal Academy of Dance changed their syllabus and teaching to incorporate more creative movement into their preschooler classes to keep students engaged and motivated to continue learning dance and ballet in the future.
A movement lesson will introduce your child to dance and musicality, creativity, and enjoyment,
But again, if your child becomes serious about wanting to be a dancer, you will need to begin more formal training lessons in the future to help them achieve that.
For some online creative movement lessons check out our sister Youtube Channel Move Dance Learn!
What age is best to start dance lessons?
The best age to start dance and ballet lessons is when a child shows interest in learning to dance.
This is different to a child who moves and dances at any sound reminiscent of music or who loves to dance to their own beat.
They need to be able to follow directions from a teacher and want to learn the steps that someone is teaching them.
Young children who instead just enjoy making up their own dances and flitting around the room endlessly saying watch me, watch me can be a distraction to the other students and are not really learning much in the classroom.
It should also be said that your child should be able to use the toilet with little assistance, (unless it is a grown-up and me class) have a good attention span, be able to follow a series of instructions and be confident enough to be without their carer for at least an hour of time.
We discuss ages and how many lessons children should be doing in our articles:
How much should kids dance lessons cost?
Most schools in the US and Canada charge you on a monthly basis for dance lessons and you should expect to pay between $30 to $50 USD per month for one lesson a week.
In other places in the world such as Australia, you are more likely to pay per school term, and attendance in one class for 10 weeks can cost anywhere from $100 to $250AUD (that equates to $10 or $25 per lesson).
The differences in all these costs will depend on your location, demand for places in the dance class and the experience of the teacher.
Discounts are usually given as you add on more lessons with some schools having a capped price for attending unlimited lessons How much do dance classes cost? We compare 50+ schools across the US!
Please remember that when starting at a dance school you are usually not just signing up for lessons but also for an annual recital which will incur costuming and other fees which costs you can read about in our article The Cost of Kids Dance Lessons – A Guide for First Time Parents
Most schools also charge a registration or administration fee when you enroll.
What Types of dance are there to learn?
For a full guide to the different types of dance check out The Ultimate Alphabetical Guide to Different Dance Types, Classes & Styles!
Apart from ballet, your school might offer any of the following lessons for your child to participate in.
If there seem like too many options and you are worried about how many classes your child should be taking you can read our related article by clicking on the link or if you are wondering how many lessons it takes to have a career in ballet follow that link.
What Should Kids Wear to Their First Dance Lessons?
Your school will probably have a set uniform but you will want to try a class before you commit to paying for lessons or a uniform.
In this case, try any of the following options:
FOR A FIRST BALLET, JAZZ, ACRO DANCE, TAP or SIMILAR LESSON
- Leggings and a singlet top or t-shirt.
- Shorts or bike shorts and a singlet top or t-shirt.
- A leotard with leggings (so they can be barefoot)
- A leotard with tights and soft soled shoes.
- tracksuit pants and a singlet top or t-shirt
- yoga pants and a singlet top or t-shirt
You can also check out our article What do toddlers wear to a dance or ballet class?
FOR A HIP HOP or SIMILAR LESSON
- Clothing for a hip hop lesson can be loose-fitting street clothes that are easy to move in.
You should try and keep away from long flowing dresses or clothes that are too baggy as this can inhibit your child’s movement if they keep getting caught or tangled in their clothes.
You should also consider easy-to-remove layers rather than heavy or warm clothing as your child will be active and will naturally get hot from moving.
SHOE OPTIONS FOR A FIRST DANCE CLASS:
- Ballet: Ballet slippers if you have a pair in either leather or canvas. Otherwise rare feet or a very soft soled shoe (preferably not a jiffy as these are actually very slippery to dance in).
- Tap Dance – tap shoes or a hard-soled shoe to help make noise when tapped on the floor.
- Jazz Dance: Leather jazz shoes if you have a pair. Otherwise bare feet, or a soft soled shoe or even joggers, runners or trainers.
- Hip Hop: Joggers, runners, or trainers.
- Acro Dance: Bare feet
Is Dance Good for Kids and Toddlers?
Dancing is great for children, preschoolers, and toddlers as it helps develop gross motor skills, crossing the midsection, musicality, and creativity, and is a good way for kids to exert extra pent-up energy.
Children love to explore what their bodies are capable of and a dance lesson under the direct instruction of an experienced teacher will guide them on how to do this safely and in a fun environment.
You can read The Amazing Hidden Benefits of Dance Lessons for Kids for more information.
Which Method of Classical Ballet is Best?
There are many methods of ballet that are taught, such as RAD, Cecchetti, or Vaganova to name just a few!
If your teacher teaches ballet through a syllabus or system where they had to themselves go through examinations to become a teacher of that ballet method you should be in capable hands.
Some schools have also taken on programs such as Ready, Set, Dance, or Twinkle Toes Ballet for their preschool and beginner classes as they find these are more interesting for young kids today.
In the beginning, the method of ballet taught really is not as important as the person teaching it. This is because your teacher is responsible for the dance education of your child.
Your teacher needs to enjoy teaching kids, using a demeanor, material, and steps that hold children’s attention whilst at the same time ensuring your child is learning the basics of ballet which are the same whichever method you study.
If your child does not like their teacher, they will not enjoy their dance lessons and will want to quit before they have really even started.
Having said that, once you fall in love with a dance teacher, it is pretty hard to leave them or change studios as it becomes like a second home, so keep this in mind if they do not have accreditations to teach as this could affect your child training in the future.