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 Post subject: Re: The Merit of Dance classes for 3-5 yr olds
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2001 6:46 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 130
Location: Pa, USA
Above I wrote my view on the potential for harm being done--now I will return to the merit for these classes as I see them.<P>I guess I really don't see the merit for the three year old group--it is a social experience--but should not be called a "dance class" or advertised as such. As I stated before the child who starts at seven will not have a big problem "catching up" to the child who started at three or four. Right now in my three year old class we do a lot of creative movement and work on using all the space around them--this does open up avenues of possibilities for them that may not have existed previously, BUT they will still have that opportunity at six or seven to do the same type of movement when their minds can grasp the concept more completely and their bodies are more under control. <P>There is no prior dance experience needed to be in the six-seven year old class, so three years in a studio setting prior to that age physically is not truly readying a student. It may be readying them on a psychological or rule-following level, but not truly physically speaking.<P>They may be more comfortable leaving their parent (but at six, most are in first grade and are confident enough to do so) they may be more comfortable in the studio--for some they may be "too" comfortable in the studio already feeling a sense of false ownership --i.e. "That is MY cubby--it has been for three years!" They may have a false sense of knowledge since much of the basis of their prior work has been geared to this first "true" ballet class--they already "know" it all--why can't they do fouettes at eight? <BR>This can be a problem for some students (the competitive stage mom's kids) when they carry that false sense of knowledge to their eighth or ninth year and a sudden realization hits and they are not what they thought they were all along--OR they continue with that mindset and are horrid teens who cannot take a critique--OR they quit dance at the ripe old age of eight because they aren't "learning anything new". <P>There is some merit for the five year olds--but is is largely based on becoming familiar with a studio setting, leaving mom behind, working within a group, following rules--it is not solely a physical or physiological type of merit--and parents should be educated on what precisely they are receiving for their tuition dollars and teachers should be well aware of what they are instilling in small children--and not fool themselves into thinking that the three to five year old student --after three years of "dance" is physically more ready for a seriously structured class than the student who is walking in the door for the first time. <P>The physical merit for a five year old could include understanding the space around them; forwards/backwards; hopping/skipping; left/right; but the basis for this age group should include a large dose of fun and dance manners as well--when they are older the physical merit comes more into the equation; but not necessarily (sp?) at five.


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 Post subject: Re: The Merit of Dance classes for 3-5 yr olds
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2001 7:56 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 3129
Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
I agree with you jan that at a young age what we do with the pupils cannot really be called a dance class - but the question is what do you call it? Most parents perceive that what you are doing with their three year old is dancing even though it is not strictly and the benefits are perhaps in other areas - however if a parent is looking for a ballet class for their three year old they will search until they find one and this may be at a school that tries to get them to do what they shouldn't be doing yet.<P>Surely it is better they go a school that offers a pre-ballet class (even if it is called ballet) that is not forcing them into positions they shouldn't be attempting then by the time they reach an age suitable to start proper ballet they have grown up in a school that doesn't damage them.<P>My point is there is a large market for classes for this age group surely it is better that good teachers fill this demand rather than sitting around watching not so good teachers destroying a young child's dream. In an ideal world we would perhaps recommend that there is no harm in a child waiting a bit - but unfortunately we do live in the real world where people don't want to wait and will go else where if they have to. Isn't it better they stay with you who can guide them successfully from creative movement into dance when the time is right?


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 Post subject: Re: The Merit of Dance classes for 3-5 yr olds
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2001 3:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
I just looked in the classified section of the phone book and I came across several ads specifying classes for children. At two studios - ages as young as two yrs. old are mentioned. One of the these studios is one of the oldest in the city and is considered one of the best. I am merely stating what I found - I am not saying that I agree that two is a good age at which to do this.<P>No one advertised them as ballet class or anything other than some form of "Tiny Tots" class. There is obviously a huge market out there. And, Joanne, I think, has a good point that at least some of those kids will end up with good teachers if the good teachers offer these classes.<P>As for teachers being judged by some kind of accreditation as Jan suggests: There are surely many wonderful teachers with accreditation that they have worked hard to earn and justly deserve the accreditation. However, in this city I can tell you without any hesitation, the finest teachers here have no official piece of paper to hang on the wall. I know them personally and can attest to their knowledge and ability. None of them are syllabus teachers or have passed examinations - except the test of time and the dancers they have produced. <P><p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited January 13, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: The Merit of Dance classes for 3-5 yr olds
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2001 3:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 4725
Location: Australia
hmmm- ...marvellous posts here, everyone! - joanne, i think you have summed things up well.<P>veering into another subject, basheva mentions the business of qualifications and the 'proof' of experience - in the production of dancers. i would like to throw in the idea that, in the case of THIS age group, qualifications are more important than with the vocational student (where professional stage/company experience may count for a lot), or even with the average recreational child student.<P>and i am talking about educational qualifications - human development, child psychology, etc - not dance society ones (most dance societies don't cater to under 5's anyway).....<P><B>should we start another thread?</B> i think so, just in case you want to take off with this idea....after all, this thread is (wonderfully!) very long now. so i'll make another for the qualifications side of things for this age group, and you can go over there...<BR> <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000309.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000309.html</A> <P>or stay here to continue discussing other aspects... Image<P><BR><p>[This message has been edited by grace (edited January 13, 2001).]

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 Post subject: Re: The Merit of Dance classes for 3-5 yr olds
PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2001 3:44 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Great idea Grace !!


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