Ask the Experts: Minimum Age for Starting Dance


Q: What's the minimum age for starting dance at your studio? I get a lot of "But she'll turn 2 in December!" from parents.

A: We offer introductory classes in ballet, jazz and acrobatics for 2 1/2- and 3-year-olds. Our youngest competition level ranges from 4 to 6. But more important than age is the child's readiness to take a class or compete. Our criteria for class is that they be toilet-trained and can come into class without a parent.

We are strict on this last point—absolutely no parents are allowed to walk in with their little dancers or open the door to have a peek. In fact, we always have someone of authority who monitors the parents—this is often my role. We also make sure to have two or three assistants in these classes, to stay with the shy or unsure little ones.

Parents don't always agree with us when we tell them their child is not ready for class or competition. But allowing a dancer to do something you don't feel they are ready for is never a good idea. After all, the experience of taking a class or competing should always be a positive one.

Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

Keep reading... Show less
Teaching Tips
Justin Boccitto teaches a hybrid class. Photo courtesy Boccitto

Just as teachers were getting comfortable with teaching virtual classes, many studios are adding an extra challenge into the mix: in-person students learning alongside virtual students. Such hybrid classes are meant to keep class sizes down and to give students options to take class however they're comfortable.

But dividing your attention between virtual students and masked and socially distant in-person students—and giving them each a class that meets their needs—is no easy feat.

Dance Teacher asked four teachers what they've learned so far.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
All photos by Ryan Heffington

"Annnnnnnd—we're back!"

Ryan Heffington is kneeling in front of his iPhone, looking directly into the camera, smiling behind his bushy mustache. He's in his house in the desert near Joshua Tree, California, phone propped on the floor so it stays steady, his bright shorty shorts, tank top and multiple necklaces in full view. Music is already playing—imagine you're at a club—and soon he's swaying and bouncing from side to side, the beat infusing his bones.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.