Get to know the sport.
There are multiple paths your dancer can take in the sport. From starring as a Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, to having their own solos in competitions. It is important not to stay in the dark - ask the teachers or studio staff any questions you have about the upcoming competitions, class or recital requirements.
Be positive and respectful.
Unless otherwise appointed, your job at the studio is to support and cheer for your kid. Focus on the positives as he or she learns the sport and avoid any instruction from chairs in the lobby.
Practice, practice, practice.
No matter what level your dancer is at, practicing new steps and choreography at home is important in their dance development.
Become familiar with instructors.
In recreational dance, your child’s teacher will likely change yearly. So, introduce yourself to the dance teacher and get to know his or her philosophies. Then communicate anything you feel he or she should know about your child early in the season. Once they move to the competitive track, it will be common for a dancer to have the same teacher for years. A good dance teacher will be open and honest about goals, expectations, and methods.
At most studios, they are looking for a 6-9 month commitment with the end of the season culminating in dance recitals. Many will also offer Summer Classes, workshops, or intensives to help you to continue progressing on your dancer’s journey.
Play other sports too.
Encourage your child to hang up their ballet slippers occasionally to try other sports and avoid dance fatigue. Certain dance skills—like body awareness, quick reactions, and conditioning—can be practiced by participating in other sports.
Focus on life skills, not scholarships.
Dance, like any other sport, is not a financial plan for college. Fewer than 1% of high school athletes receive athletic scholarships, and only 3% of dancers become professionals in the sport.
Encourage your child to focus on the valuable lessons they can learn from dance, like how to handle winning and losing, overcome the challenges while learning new choreography, how to manage relationships with teachers and teammates, and the benefits of being active. Above all, focus on having fun!
Pick the right program for your child.
There are many dance disciplines and programs to choose from that vary in cost, time commitment,
and competition level. Talk to your little dancer and discover what dance styles they would be interested in most to maximize their enjoyment participating in the sport. Choose a program that suits your child’s interests and skill levels. [See: “Ways to Dance – page 8”]