You have enrolled your child in a dance class; they love it, but you have no idea if they are progressing, what they should be learning, or really what to expect as they continue their journey.
Dance class is a lot like school: your child will explore new ideas, use their creativity, practice skills, and solve problems. Unlike school, dance classes do not have a new grade level every year or have a pass or fail grading system. Dance students may experience a year where they have a lot of growth and advance a level, and other times, they will hit a grinding year where they continue in a class or level to continue to work on the fundamentals needed for the next level. Each dancer will learn and grow at different stages and at different speeds. This is perfectly normal as some skills and styles may come easier to some and others just need some time to work through it.
Your child is making progress no matter which type of year they are in. Injuries can sideline a dancer and can be frustrating, which is why we ensure proper alignment and strength as well as foundational skills before promoting a dancer. This helps reduce the risk of developing bad habits that over time become harder to break to allow for maximum success as they continue the journey.
One of our priorities here at Intrepid Dance Company is to make dance accessible to everyone – and to paint an accurate picture of their child’s unique path.
To help you measure your child’s progress and they can communicate goals, talk to your child first! All parents want their child to enjoy their activities. If your child is making friends and enjoying the experience, then you can move on to questions related to progress.
Ask your child how their class went. Avoid yes or no, or one-answer questions. “Did you practice a new step? Did you work on that leap you have been struggling with? How did your recital routine practice go?
Is my child ready for the next age level? We get this one a lot from parents and there is no magic number on if a child should move to the next age level or stay and be the older one in class. We know that kids all grow and progress at different rates and the key to any level is the core foundation that begins in our younger classes. If a child is moved too soon, they will become frustrated and want to give up because they aren’t getting it and that is the last thing, we all want to have to happen. It's important to ask those key questions “How is your class going”, and “How are you doing on that step you have been struggling with”, this will help instill confidence and understanding, and it can also help the child set goals for themselves to reach as well.
Even if you don’t know the “lingo”, talk to your child about how their class is going. For many children, dance is also a social experience; like seeing their friends and catching up with them if they attend different schools which is all as important as the steps. If they express frustration over a part of the class, help them set goals around it or help develop questions to ask their teacher (if they haven’t already).
At Intrepid Dance Company, we believe in age-appropriate classes, so children are engaged with their peers while also being challenged individually. Often in our classes, teachers will offer options so all students can be successful as well as challenge themselves in a safe environment. It’s not “I can’t” but “not yet” and “I will soon.”
What happens when we make mistakes? NOTHING! We use this statement to reinforce that class is for learning and not perfection. We take classes to learn and build on the foundations that have been set as early as preschool classes.
Our team is equipped to teach classes to allow each dancer to explore their potential. Doing more or moving faster isn’t always a sign of progress. The true signs of growth come from the perseverance within, not necessarily from the obvious places. And the grinding hard work is what makes it possible.
Effort + Time + Intensity. (Shanna Kirkpatrick)
We will always enjoy celebrating the wins with our dancers as they demonstrate strength as peer leaders as well as mastery of new skills. As a staff, we hope that you will trust in our guidance and expertise and know that our goals align with yours. We are committed to helping your child discover their potential by sharing their gift!