A Showstoppin’ Guide to Preschool Dance Basics

Dance education for preschoolers has many benefits. It exercises the whole body and the mind. It also creates a love for dance that develops into a lifetime desire for being fit. If you have the insight to get your preschool age children to love learning dance, you have taken the first step in establishing a core of students who will be with you for years to come. Preschool age is when you cultivate an early love of dance, and that is a major responsibility. Studio owners should always have preschool teachers that are high energy, creative and love children.

Here are some of my best tips…

Studio Etiquette

  • Always start and finish class on time.
  • Never eat or talk on your cell phone in front of students or their parents.
  • Keep your social life separate. Don't discuss personal issues with students, parents, or teachers.
  • Be warm and affectionate. Love the children in class through actions and expressions.
  • Always be genuine to students and their family members! Your job is all about love, peace, and happiness.
  • Be prepared. Freestyling can be a fun exercise, but classes should be well planned and structured.

  • Have an opening and closing statement for every class. These are encouraging and inspiring to your students.
  • Be receptive to training. You have to believe in the program you teach.

In the Classroom

  • Limit parent observations. Parents can sometimes be a big distraction for tiny dancers who are learning to focus in class.
  • Learn their names quickly. Calling children by their names makes them feel very important.
  • Be flexible and intuitive enough to know when something isn't working and be ready to change it.
  • Strive to make each child feel important and special.
  • Break down skills to the minutest parts.
  • Be a sharp observer. Watch for the safety of the students.
  • Be an actor! Entertain, but keep the group disciplined.
  • Be authoritative but patient. Keep the children in line, but make sure that you maintain a caring and understanding attitude.
  • Maintain a high energy level always. If you seem bored, they will get bored. (Breaking the class into 5-10 minute increments is perfect for keeping the fun going!)
  • Be enthusiastic and extroverted to keep the class fun.
  • Make time to break into groups. Even large classes should feel small and personalized to every student. No one wants to dance in the back of the room for a whole class.

Performance Essentials

  • Have great music that everyone LOVES. This can make or break a class, and it is just as important on stage.
  • Never use anything that's in question. Parents and teachers are very sensitive about the word "sexy" as it applies to moves and music.
  • Just like music, keep costumes kid friendly and PG. (It's never too late to stay current with music, though! There are some great, clean pop songs out there that get kids excited and ready to have a blast.)

Keeping Their Attention

This approach to preschool teaching keeps the children's attention spans in mind. If children are attentive, you can teach, but if not, you can waste half of your class time just trying to keep them quiet. Keep everything moving. This means having your music ready to go so you don't have to walk back and forth between the speakers – even this can give them enough time to lose interest. Just put the music on and go with it.

Showstopper's Dance Conventions offer special Teacher Seminars to help teachers and studio owners with the daily challenges of dance studio life. In our Kids Pre-School Ideas seminar, you will learn timeless principles and fundamental ideas that will make your pre-school program even more amazing, including prop ideas, song lists, and many other creative ideas.

Click here to register your teachers and your dancers for Showstopper's 2018-19 Dance Conventions!

By Debbie Roberts, Founder of Showstopper
Edited by Veronica Good, Writer for Showstopper VIP

Getty Images

Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

Keep reading... Show less
Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

Christy Funsch's teaching career has taken her from New York City to the Bay Area to Portugal, with a stint in a punk band in between. But this fall—fresh off a Fulbright in Portugal at the Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, School of Dance (ESD), teaching and researching empathetic embodiment through somatic dance training—Funsch's teaching has taken her to an entirely new location: Zoom. A visiting professor at Slippery Rock University for the 2020–21 academic year, Funsch is adapting her eclectic, boundary-pushing approach to her virtual classes.

Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

Keep reading... Show less
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

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.