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  • Writer's picture Alison Hollingsworth

Why should 3 year olds dance?

The preschool dancing years are very important! Until I became a studio owner I never really focused on why it is important for that age group to take a dance class. As an instructor over the past years I worked with older students who had already (fingers crossed) learned the etiquette and discipline of a classroom and a dance class. They already knew how to take instruction from someone other than their primary care giver. They already knew how much fun time away from a care giver can be. They already knew that as soon as they were done with that activity that the parent would no doubt be coming to pick them up. These are lessons that I took for granted.

Often a dance class at age 3 or 4 is the first introduction of a semi formal class setting. This is where children start learning to be independent from their parents and learn to take instructions from other trusted adults. They learn that when they follow the gentle instruction of the teacher they get rewarded with stickers and fun games. They learn to share and take turns with other children other than their siblings. They learn that with a little effort they can accomplish things on their own which is not only fun but is building self reliance and confidence.

Sometimes the adjustment to a class setting is not easy for a child. It is our job as instructors to find a way to make each child comfortable and to help them connect with the joy of dance class. This may mean taking a different approach with each child which is one of the reasons I treasure our small classes at the studio. It may take a few weeks for a little dancer to settle in and become comfortable with this new thing called ballet class; however, soon they will be bounding out of class with shining faces looking to where their care giver waits. That is one huge accomplishment by that little dancer!

This is also their very first introduction to ballet and dance. It is our chance to start fostering the love of dance through very simple movements. While they will not be able to execute a perfect tendu for a couple of years they can fast as lightening show you what it is along with numerous other dance terms. It is simply amazing how fast they pick up the vocabulary! They also start working on coordination, balance, and creative free dance. They are literally building a foundation at their most impressionable years.

So no, a 3 year old is not going to be doing pirouettes out of the classroom but they are going to be learning so much in the way of life lessons, socialization, confidence, self reliance, and a love of dance.

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