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gymdancermom

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Reply with quote  #1 
My DD (5.5) is in a 1x per week combo class.  She really likes it and wants to continue in the Fall.  I don't think I see even a bit of progress in her dancing since the start of the year (this is her first year of dance).  Can I expect her to learn a bit of dance if she continues at just 1x per week?
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JulieDB

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Reply with quote  #2 
She's still young.  I presume that the combo class is ballet and tap?  I don't know since it could be other things.  If so she will only be learning things like the positions in ballet, how to point her foot, perhaps how to hold her arms.  They don't usually get the arm thing until they are older but it is likely that the teacher will try to show them.  In tap they will likely just do things like shuffle, ball change.  And they should be learning things about rhythm, timing and where their window is.  Meaning where their place on the floor/stage should be. They should also be learning about how to properly behave in a dance class and how to pay attention to the teacher.  Not really too much beyond that.

Would she be taking a combo class again next year?  Different studios do things in different ways.  I don't personally like the combo classes beyond the very beginning stages.  They are enough to get the kid interested or to learn that they are not interested in dance.  But I think if they want to continue, they should go to individual classes.  Our studio in NY did not give this option until the kid was 8 or older and even then they could still take a combo class.  And to me it showed.  That place was more about fun and not about proper dance.  I guess it all depends on what you are looking for.

If she will only be taking a single class, then I would recommend it to be ballet.  But do not expect too much at this point.  Of course there are exceptions.  But in general, the really noticeable muscle development occurs around age 8.  Now when I say this, I don't mean that you'll see an 8 year old dancer and think amazing things.  In fact, you may find the opposite to be true.  You may think you are looking at the most clumsy person on the face of the earth!  Keep in mind that at these ages, they are kids.  Kids grow and their body has to keep relearning how to adapt to their new height or weight or muscle development.


What I think you should be looking for now...  Is she ready for class?  As in things like does not put up a fuss or tell you that she'd rather be watching TV or playing with a friend than going to dance.  Once at the studio does she willingly go into class on time? As opposed to hanging around outside, digging through her dance bag, eating snacks, checking out the bathroom, etc.  Does she pay attention in class?  Does she seem to be enjoying it?  If the teacher makes corrections does she attempt to make them?  Look for the positive things.  And if she is usually doing the positive things, then that's a good sign that she should continue on next year.

Oh and one more thing...  If you don't have a dance background yourself, or even if you do, you'll likely find watching ballet to be one of the most boring things on the face of the earth.  Especially if they are at the barre.  You have to look for it to really see what all they are doing.  And often that is isolating the very tiniest of muscles and working on getting them to move properly.  What you see in class isn't going to necessarily be showy or exciting unless perhaps they are doing across the floor stuff or working on a recital piece.  There will be a lot of warming up, and various exercises too.
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ggsmith

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Reply with quote  #3 
5.5 is still very young, and an hour a week combo class is only going to be an introduction to dance.  DD was in a dance program at a recreational center around that age and it seemed that a lot of the time was spent getting the girls to focus, follow directions, and move to the music.  Even changing into the tap shoes seemed to be a major undertaking, taking at least 5 minutes for everyone to get their shoes on, tied, and get back onto the floor.  I didn't see much progress, but DD was happy to be in class every week and asking for more dance.  She had a great time on stage at the end of the year.

At the ballet school, the 5 & 6 year olds are taking one 45 or 60 minute class per week, I think they are calling the classes "primary" and "pre-ballet" this year, they were called "creative movement" and something else last year.  I enjoy watching them and chatting with their Moms!  Classes are smaller and the kids are getting more individual attention than in the classes DD took, but I'm not sure that there is a lot of visible progress for them either.  They don't start working at the barre until 7 or 8, so at that age they are doing simple exercises like skipping, moving to or "feeling" the music, hops and very basic pointing of feet, controlling arms, balancing on one foot.  They come out happy and smiling at the end, asking if the Moms saw them on the tv in the lobby, and most are looking forward to the showcase at the end of the year.

If I were looking for class for a 5/6 year-old, I'd want the class to be well run, as in, the teacher is clearly in charge and the kids are "on task" for a majority of the time, and I'd want to see the kids learning to move in different ways and respond to the music.  It is possible to teach some unusually focused and talented children that young to do some "real" dance with a lot of focused effort and hours a week in training.  There is some amazing footage of mini dancers on youtube, and in televised talent contests.  Everyone remembers Shirley Temple, but that is not the norm!  If you are concerned about the quality of instruction in general at the school, look at the older children and teenagers, keeping in mind the level of commitment and time most of them are putting in.  The girls in the recreational program DD started at are better dancers than the little guys, but they aren't spectacular.  They are, generally, only dancing two or three hours a week, so progress is slow.  Most of the teenagers at DD's ballet school are taking ballet 4-6 days a week in addition to other classes, and some of them are downright amazing.
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Jacaranda

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Reply with quote  #4 
The once a week combo classes will have the main aim of introducing children to dance. It's a taster to see how they like it and if it is something they would like to take more seriously in the future.

She will be learning foundation skills like terminology, pointing toes, straightening legs, posture and so on.

The class will also develop her musicality and coordination.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #5 
My dd danced 1 night a week until she was 10.  At 5 it was an hour combo class.  By 10 it was a two and a half hour combo class. She's 15 now and that slow boil didn't hold her back.  Don't worry.  It's plenty.
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Lunafly

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Reply with quote  #6 
I think as long as they're being taught and there is some structure I wouldn't worry too much about not seeing progress at this point. What I would be wary of at this stage are classes that are essentially organized play dates as that can sometimes be the case with pre-dance and creative movement classes. I'm personally not a fan of that. My daughter goes to day care all week so I don't really want her just singing and playing games at dance class. They should at least be learning some basic vocabulary and positions and how to follow simple age appropriate choreography. 

At this point I would observe the older dancers, if you can, during class and also at the recital. That should give you a good idea as to if you're spending your time and money at the right studio. Also if the studio has a website check to see what the standards are as they progress. 

Sounds like you're in the same boat as me and eager to get past that pre-dance starting gate. Can't say I blame you, but physiologically there is only so much most kids can do at this age.
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Bonbonmama

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Reply with quote  #7 
Exactly what ggsmith said. This is still and intro to dance, "creative movement" classes if you will. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Does your DD enjoy it and want to go back?
This is the perfect time to have her try out other things too. She's very young and soon enough there won't be much time or money to branch out [wink]
Enjoy the once/wk class while it lasts, before you know it you'll be driving to the studio every day after school (or whatever other activity she may end up choosing)..! [smile]
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My2DanceLoves

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Reply with quote  #8 
You should expect FUN at that age!  You'll know if your girl wants more and when to add more.  
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LeapYear0208

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Reply with quote  #9 
Ages 3-5 at our studio take a combo class. 3 is ballet/acro (basic tumbling-forward somersault, skips, balance beam). 4 is ballet/tap/acro (same basic tumbling skills). 5 is ballet/jazz/tap. Once they hit 6, they take 55 min classes of each individual subject. This is more where you will start to see improvement from beginning to end of season IMO. The combo classes are to give the child a taste of the different disciplines and for them to enjoy dance (although that is not to say that they stop enjoying it, just that it is more for 'fun' than grooming a dancer). My little one takes advanced acro as well this season-it is her absolute favorite. She started in the beginning class and a month or so in got bumped. Her improvement in that class has been through the roof. 

My youngest started in the 3yr olds-got bumped to 4yr olds in her first year. So she is in 5yr olds now and moves to 6 when the new season starts. I have seen improvement over the past 2 years, but no where near as much as I know I will see next year. My oldest is in the 6yr classes right now and she has improved a lot from where she was last summer.

Enjoy the once a week class, those days are long over for us. This coming season my oldest will be dancing 2x a week in 3 classes and my youngest 3x a week in 5 classes. Plus weekend rehearsals for the winter show for about 7 weeks. I am at the studio 3x a week this season too.
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dirtchic

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Reply with quote  #10 
I would also say that it is completely different for all kids. By 6 DD was bored with the combo the classes so was doing 1 hour of acro, 1 hour of ballet, and 1 hour of jazz / tap combo. Even at that age I let her led the way. Only once, and it was in the first couple of months of kindergarten, did she ask to skip dance because she was too tired. Fast forward to dd#2, at that exact same age she did only an hour a week of a ballet / tap / jazz comb class and hated every minute. She enjoyed it'ish for the first month or two but quickly started asking to not go. She ended up finishing up last year and when we switched studios we never put her back in dance. Only in the last month or two has she started asking to go back to dance. Maybe we will try a class over the summer to see if she it is what she really wants. 
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hotlegsdancer

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Reply with quote  #11 
u can expect a lot of fun! I remember wen i was in ur shoes like yrs ago. This place http://www.astrologyjunction.com/ use 2 like have career 4 zodiac signs ( doeznt anymore) but like it said the best one for me wold be a dancer nd like it was true. Here i just researched this on google https://storify.com/joanneadunbar/what-to-expect-in-a-dance-class  like maybe it can relate 2 u, but like i searched google cauz yahoo doesn't give like too many good sites its like so random lol ( feel so advanced explaining this like u have no idea) 
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hotlegsdancer

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Reply with quote  #12 
my current face  for my post above http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view/444945/beyonce-im-smart-o.gif 
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hotlegsdancer

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Reply with quote  #13 
awwwwwwww :///// the link only showed up nd not the pic like id wanteedddd ughhh i hate wen that happenzz sooooooo annyoing 
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PrimaMomma

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Reply with quote  #14 
Gymdancermom, sounds like your daughter is getting bored.  Have you talked to the SO?  I would ask her what she thinks, maybe your dd could try more classes at the studio over the summer.
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NYMomma205

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Reply with quote  #15 
I'm new to the dance world with DD just finishing her first year and she's younger than your DD. I agree that a lot of these classes become singing and running around and no dancing. A few studios, including mine, are now taking kids even before the age of 2, like 18 months? Yeah, cute to see in the recital, but I wouldn't pay money for it. DD takes a tap/jazz class, and while it's cute, they actually dance, were required to stand in a certain spot each week and they weren't just playing in class. The rest of the class is older than DD by a year and putting their kids in multiple classes next year, but def. not us. I can't imagine having a 4-5 year old in anything more then 45-1 hour a week per class until they are much older.
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gymdancermom

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Reply with quote  #16 
Thanks for the responses.  Just to clarify -yes it is ballet/tap with a little acro -or at least that's what it's called.  They actually keep ballet slippers on for about 40 mins of the 45 min class -though I'm not sure it's really ballet or more like free movement.  Then, for the last 5 mins they tap -or sometimes do cartwheels instead of tap.

We are definitely not considering putting her in more than one class per week at this point -mostly b/c she has too many other interests to make the time for more dance.  But I am hoping to switch her to a studio where she could actually learn something in the 1 class per week.  I really feel she learned nothing at all this year in her class.
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jazzminesun81

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Reply with quote  #17 
I think it varies from studio to studio. I've always been able to see improvement from year to year,  but it's been a while since DD's only taken one class. But it could depend on so many things. Some programs are more recreational than educational, if you get my drift, so it could be that studio or that specific teacher. Also, it depends on how much your DD wants to learn, too. The only thing I can remember class-wide from age 5 to age 6 is that at the beginning of the year not all of the girls had all their splits, but by the end of the year, they all did in the ballet/tap combo class. Also, they learned all their ballet positions that year. That was also the year they started stressing turnout for DD, but that was also the year she joined the team, so I'm not sure if they stressed it for all the dancers. This year (6-7) they've been focusing on DD's feet and the difference between pointe, demi pointe and "yucky" toes.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #18 
She learned she likes dance. That's usually the best outcome you can hope for in a combo class. And I think it is a fine outcome. She is also learning, music, rhythm, spacing, positions, and how to move.

I think you are experiencing a typical recreational combo class, but if you are looking for something else you could watch the recitals at a few other studios this year to see if anybody's rec kids have learned more than your dd. I don't think you will.

My dd never took a combo class, and I think some of the basics you learn early like pointing toes straightening legs, and dancing with music would have been good for her. Good luck!
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