“Age is of no importance unless you're a cheese.” - Billie Burke
A lot of people are getting into dancing styles like Zumba and pole dancing. These two styles require a lot of physical training.
But what about children learning to dance?
Whether it’s a dance course with a dance company, dance class in a dance studio, or a private tutorial with a private dance instructor, here’s our guide on how children can learn to dance.
In this article, we'll be looking at how people of different ages, from children to the elderly, can benefit from dance lessons and tutorials that are adapted to them both in terms of their mental and physical development.
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Doing sports can be tricky and sometimes it’s hard to know how much children benefit from it. Some physical activities aren’t suitable or beneficial for children. The same is sometimes true for dancing.
Dance schools and conservatoires often have a minimum age when it comes to dancing lessons for kids. Generally speaking, 6 is the best age for children to start learning to dance.
Does this mean that younger children can’t learn to dance?
Of course not!
Rather than dance courses, they should get an introduction to dancing. There are similar lessons for music, too, where younger learners are introduced to the basic concepts of the art.
In these types of classes, children won’t be expected to adopt advanced postures or do complicated dance steps because their muscles and bones aren’t fully developed. These are far from the dance fitness classes you'll get in gyms and the demanding dance training they'll get from a dance company as they got over.
When it comes to ballet classes, pointes should also be avoided for those under 6 years old. Intensive dance exercises could have negative repercussions for children. Of course, kids dance classes will have taken this into account and will focus on energetic fun rather than serious dance instruction.
Introductory classes include exercises to help children developer motor skills. The main goal is to help children with their coordination and get them into dancing with some basic choreography and the kind of routine that a beginner of any age would be comfortable with.
The goal isn’t to make a child a good dancer. Instead, the child is there to discover dancing and see whether or not dancing is for them. The dance lesson is so that they get a taste of dancing and develop their musicality rather than getting them dancing with the professionals on Broadway or the West End.
The psychiatrist Patrice Heurre explains that “This will only work if the activity is seen as a game, fun, and then it won’t matter what age you start”.
Dance classes should never be stressful for children, regardless of their age. Most of the programme will be covered by dance teachers and will include games and performances by the children.
Find out what you can expect from your first dance lesson...
Learning to Dance Aged 6
Learning to dance really starts once a child is either 6 or 7. A lot of places offer dance classes for beginners. Most children of this age will definitely be beginners, even if they’ve already attended introductions to dance.
The teacher will generally start from scratch and won’t differentiate between those who’ve already studied a bit of dancing and those who haven't. Their dance education will introduce them to the discipline and they'll be taught about different dance styles and how to move in rhythm to the music.
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From this age, the lessons can become more technical but without being physically demanding. They’ll usually alternate between teaching steps and the dancers expressing themselves.
Dancing is as artistic as it is physically demanding. While children’s joints can deal with more complicated movements once they reach this age, they still have to takes things easy.
Children are expected to develop their imagination and broaden their minds. This is the age where children can choose between different styles of dance (ballet, jazz, hip-hop, Zumba, etc.)
Find out more about how dancing benefits the mind as well as the body!
It could be a good idea to sign up your child for a class where they can discover the different styles of dancing. They still have plenty of time to choose a speciality (salsa, ballroom dancing, breakdancing, ballet, waltz, flamenco, tango, etc.) later on in life.
Learning to dance at this age is also a great way for children to get rid of some of all that extra energy they have. It’s also a great opportunity for them to unwind after school and make new friends.
Of course, if a child is being forced to go to their dance classes, it could have the opposite effect. They may end up hating dancing.
It’s important to talk to their dance teacher to find out how they’re doing in their classes throughout the year. Make sure you ask about how interested they are in their classes.
Getting Teenagers Interested in Dancing
A lot of children start dancing once they’re teenagers. It might be because they’re developing new tastes or their friends are doing it, for example. It’s never too late for them to start.
A lot of schools and associations offer classes to teenagers of all levels (beginners, intermediates, experts). Thus, they won’t find themselves in classes with little kids or adults.
Teenagers also want to enjoy activities outside of school and make friends. Modern jazz and hip-hop are often popular with teenagers. That said, there are some that want to learn ballet.
Learning to dance as a teenager is a great way to channel their energy and make sure they’re doing some exercise. Their joints are more flexible and, as a result, they can move a lot.
They may also gain popularity with these best dance accessories!
The most difficult thing when it comes to teenagers is to keep them motivated. As teenagers, we start to learn who we really are. Some students start their dance lessons and want to immediately give them up.
Their teacher has to find the right way to keep them motivated. They could do this by showing them famous dance moves or letting them choose the type of music they want to dance to.
There are also a lot of famous films about dancing like Step Up.
However, dance classes london aren’t necessarily like they are in the movies. They should ask the teenagers what they expect from their classes in order to get a better idea.
Learning to Dance as an Adult
What about learning to dance when you’re 40, 50, or 60? Why not?
This is more an advantage than a disadvantage since your bones have fully developed by this point. Of course, it does help to be in good shape. However, there’s nothing stopping adults learning how to dance.
They may struggle in terms of flexibility since, over time, we become less flexible. Just trying doing a somersault and you’ll see.
However, as you get back into shape, your lessons will get easier. You need to find the right approach, too. There are schools, courses, and private tutorials for adults wanting to learn to dance.
If you live too far from where lessons are taking place, contacting a private tutor is a great option. If you have a suitable space to dance in your own home, a private tutor can come to you and teach you how to dance. In some cases, they'll either have their own space or be renting one in a gym or a dance studio.
Just believe in yourself! We often think, wrongly, that it’s too late to learn something new and that it’ll take too long for us to catch up with those who learnt as children. While it's often better to learn something when you're young, as you'll have more time to learn it, there are plenty of examples of people who succeeded in something later on in their life.
The most important thing is to believe in yourself. Dancing is an artistic pursuit that allows you to express yourself. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not an expert in ballet or salsa after a few hours of lessons. These things take time.
Salsa, merengue, cha cha, country, jazz, waltz, Argentine tango, tap, ballroom dancing, African dancing, Oriental dancing, rumba, breakdancing, and contemporary dance all need to be studied at length.
Whether you’re warming up, stretching, learning new steps, or performing, you have to regularly practice dancing. You can learn to dance in dance studios, too. There are some good things about being an adult.
With all the different options available for those wanting to learn how to dance, if you want to learn how to dance, you can. You no longer have an excuse!