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advice about dance and drama classes

(12 Posts)
apple85 Mon 05-May-14 13:21:19

Hi everyone. I don't want to come across as a pushy parent! Dd is 3.9 months. She has been doing dance classes at a local dance schook since last September. It's just run in a community centre and only costs 3 pounds a lesson. It seems ok for my daughters age. She likes it as she enjoys seeing her friends there. It is a street dance class but at dad's age they have really learned much, I think they really run round and play. This is fine but as she gets older I'd really like her to learn dance and or drama too as she is confident and I think she would enjoy it. At her current dance class they did a Christmas performance btw which was very poorly organised and went on to nearly midnight. I am looking for some advice about what type of class might be better as she gets older, or whether it's better to wait until she us much older before spending a lot more. I've been looking at stage coach, it seems expensive but I'm happy to pay it if it'll be worth it. We are in Liverpool so I've looked at different websites and stuff but there's so much choice and I'm not really sure which is the best direction to go in. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

apple85 Mon 05-May-14 13:24:25

Sorry bad typos..I'm on phone. It meant to read at Dd's age it's fine but they have not really learnt much

dancestomyowntune Mon 05-May-14 21:39:56

Stagecoach is a bit of a lottery ime, it's a franchise so some are ok but lots aren't. Also ime they are unable to really "get good" as they just don't do enough.

My advice would definitely look at a school with a good reputation and start your dd doing ballet (as this is the foundation for all dance) and then add in modern, tap, jazz Etc as the teacher advises it.

I know several children who have done stagecoach, but the ones that are any good do it on top of more specialised classes. It's run for the masses, in a one size fits all type philosophy and ime that's just not conducive to every child.

My 4yo dd (she is almost 5) currently does ballet, modern, street jazz, Greek, and song and performance. That's a lot for a child of her age but she comes from a family of dancers and has lived at the dance studio since she was tiny. Most children her age (at our studio) do ballet and maybe modern. She is begging to start tap but I am holding her off until September!

It does get expensive quite quickly, but I have four children all dancing a lot and I think it's worth it. Mine dance competitively and I would much rather they were at the studios than sat in front of the telly, or hanging around street corners.

Look for accredited schools, perhaps look at the RAD or ISTD websites for a teacher in your area (or IDTA/ BTDA or BBO). These are all examining boards. Also try and find a school that covers most genres that you think your dd will want to learn. It's best to stick to one school ime. Some teachers don't like you going elsewhere and if you do go to one school for one thing and another for something else then you will eventually come up against timetable issues!

Also think about If you want your dd to dance competitively or have the chance to perform regularly. Some schools don't go in for competitions (usually known as festivals) so that's something to be aware of.

nonicknameseemsavailable Mon 05-May-14 22:48:55

My DDs do dancing and drama. We go to a local dance school which has been running for a long time and is really very traditional. We pay £6 an hour and they do ballet, tap and modern, 2.5hrs a week each in total (1hr ballet, 1hr modern and half hr tap). all ISTD. they also do drama at the same place once a week.

Our dance school don't do loads of shows but are asked to provide dancers for stage productions. They don't do any competitions either. They just very traditionally learn dancing and that is what suits us.

If you go for a school which does a lot of shows be prepared for the additional costs, costumes, extra rehearsals and so on, even car parking adds up.

It really depends on what your preference is. Personally I would go with a local traditional school to learn good basic techniques as dancestomyowntune says. Then if as she gets older she wants to do shows and so on then she could change schools to do this or do them in addition. lots of kids in my girls classes also do another 3hrs a week at a more 'showy/stagey' place where they do singing, dancing and acting but they don't really learn the techniques in any of the three.

EvilTwins Mon 05-May-14 23:23:53

My girls do drama at a youth theatre run by the local theatre. It's excellent. They started aged 4 and then moved up this year (they're 7 now) I am much more confident that they are getting good coaching/tuition than if they did Stagecoach/PQA and it's a hell of a lot cheaper. The classes are run by theatre professionals and the groups are fairly small. They do their performances at the theatre, which is lovely for them. I teach drama in a secondary school and a few of my KS4 students are in the senior group. I've seen three of their performances and have been impressed with the quality.

For drama, I'd definitely recommend checking what your local theatre has to offer.

LJBanana Mon 05-May-14 23:29:07

In Liverpool you could look into lipa 4:19. They take children from age 4. When they get to 7 they go for 3 hours and go an hour of each discipline. Dance, drama and singing. Take a look on the website.

nonicknameseemsavailable Tue 06-May-14 10:02:03

oh and with drama in particular I think you need to see the classes to establish what sort of classes they are. my girls classes are fun, lots of games but they are learning different skills within it so for a couple of weeks might focus on miming for example. Some of their friends go to drama clubs where they do themes each week and do lots of shows so theirs is more focused on putting something together. I did drama from 8-18 in the form of formal speech and drama lessons which I LOVED. We did New Era and LAMDA exams so we had to learn theory about speaking and performing too, we did lots of fun acting as well as bits for exams but as we got older also did public speaking, reading (as in preparing and reading a piece and sightreading a piece with pauses and expression and so on). Drama can be done in so many ways. For my girls I think the classes they are doing are right for them because they are small and they get a particular task/skill to learn rather than just 'do it' but for some of their more outgoing friends I can see that the other type where they just 'do' the acting and plays is better suited to them and their personalities.

sassysally Tue 06-May-14 17:49:26

I would strongly advise against stagecoach.You are basically paying for the brand they have built up.Local independently run stage schools(often by ex stagecoach staff) offer exactly the same thing at a fraction of the price.

apple85 Wed 07-May-14 16:34:40

Thank you so much for your replies. You've all been very useful. I really don't know much about it as I never danced myself. I think I will look for a more specialised type of dance school then ad opposed to stage coach and take it from there. Hadn't thought much about ballet but after the comments on here its useful to know that it might be a good starting point

deepinthewoods Wed 07-May-14 16:54:31

I totally agree about ballet.
It is the foundation of all other tpes of dancing, and the best place to start, building confidence, strength and flexibility which all other dance styles need.
Rarely will you see even a professional modern dancer who did not have a grounding in ballet.
It's great fun for kids.

apple85 Wed 07-May-14 18:17:44

Thank you so much for your replies. You've all been very useful. I really don't know much about it as I never danced myself. I think I will look for a more specialised type of dance school then ad opposed to stage coach and take it from there. Hadn't thought much about ballet but after the comments on here its useful to know that it might be a good starting point

apple85 Wed 07-May-14 18:19:00

I don't know why my post posted again! Oops.

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