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What type of dance for 5yo DD?

(11 Posts)
dancingwitch Tue 27-Jan-15 22:58:52

Now that DD is settled at school, I'd like her to start some after school activities and know she'd really like to do some dancing. She did four terms of ballet before starting school and enjoyed that but has spent the last few days jumping around & doing jazz hands which made me think she might prefer something a bit more lively.
Is ballet a good foundation for all sorts of dance? What does modern or tap involve? And how many DC do all three? What about street? Or zumba? All of these are available locally. Or a school where they do a different style each term?
Any thoughts would help as I know nothing about this.

Ferguson Tue 27-Jan-15 23:32:06

Having played drums for forty years, in pretty much every amateur music setting there is, including stage shows, big bands, folk, county rock, barn dance and everything in between, plus as a TA running keyboard, recorder and percussion groups in primary school, I like children to be able to CHOOSE what activities they do outside of school.

I am also keen that children learn an instrument, again of their own choosing, rather than what parents 'want' them to do (often, I feel, so the parents can bask in the reflected glory), and of course dance and music go together. There is some evidence that learning an instrument can enhance academic performance, and social relationships.

I personally am not keen on the latest trendy 'bandwagon' things, so as she has already done some ballet, perhaps stage, ballroom and tap could be a good mix, and learning to sing is also useful.

[But then I am biased, as thirty years ago I knew a fourteen-year old who is now a top West End and Broadway performer and director!]

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 28-Jan-15 09:22:02

my girls do dancing. we didn't go when they were really little for various reasons involving one being clingy and them being close in age so they started at the same time age 4.5 and just turned 6.

They do an hour of ballet, an hour of modern theatre dance and half an hour of tap a week as well as a musical theatre/drama class. (I thought we would just do ballet but it seems to have escalated from there and they both want to add other styles too!)

I PERSONALLY think ballet is the base of most dance styles (with the exception of street and hip hop type stuff) and I know our dance school owner says the same, they have to do ballet there whatever combination of other styles they do. Ballet is obviously great for posture and coordination but it is also a lot more formal.

She might really like modern jazz (I have no idea how that differs from modern theatre to be honest but ISTD board do modern theatre and I think most of the other boards do modern jazz so they are probably just different names for the same thing)

Out of my girls friends they do a real mix, most do ballet or ballroom (a lot do ballroom, becoming very popular and some of them are amazingly good winning lots of competitions), a few do ballet, tap and modern, some do disco and quite a few do drama or musical theatre.

There are lots of different exam boards and different schools have very different approaches to it all. I THINK IDTA do a rosette or star scheme where they do a mix of different styles and take tests in each so they can try lots of different things but I could have misunderstood that.

Where in the country are you? I think you need to contact a few different schools and see what they offer.

Seeline Wed 28-Jan-15 09:30:08

Agree it needs to be something that your DD wants to do, not have chosen for her. If you think she might like dance, and she has expressed an interest, then I would ring round some schools and see if she can go and try out some different classes, or at least watch some. Keep an eye out for any shows that you might be able to go and see for examples of different style.
My DD started baby ballet and tap at just turned 2. Now 10, she does 45 min lessons each week in ballet, tap and modern. Her teachers are very keen on them doing ballet if they want to progress with modern. She also learns the piano. All activities were ones she requested herself (yes - even at 2 smile )

taxi4ballet Wed 28-Jan-15 09:34:06

Ballet is a good foundation for many types of dance. If she's really keen and enjoys dancing, then adding either tap or modern might be a good idea for her, perhaps you could talk to her ballet teacher and ask for their suggestions. Does her dance school do those classes as well as ballet? Modern is the style you would see dancers doing in West-End type shows, and tap is fun and really good for teaching rhythm and a sense of timing.

Lots of children do all three, but usually when they get a bit older - it depends on how much of a live-wire she is, and whether doing three styles might be a bit confusing at 5.

There might be a theatre school near you like Stagecoach (other theatre schools are available!) which do singing/dance/acting for that age group.

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 28-Jan-15 09:41:14

you also asked what modern and tap involve. tap is especially good for coordination and rhythm and some children do find it very difficult at first but I think most children enjoy making a noise with their shoes!

modern is a bit of a mystery to me even though my girls do it, I think it is a much more free style, modern theatre seems to be basically stage dancing type style if that makes sense. so expression, more modern music, different style etc.

so the balance of modern, tap and ballet is good, ballet is the formal, disciplined, control, slower dancing, you have to be strong for ballet, tap is all rhythm etc and then modern is more relaxed and expressive. Well that is how I see it anyway but as I say I probably have no idea what I am talking about.

I agree with Ferguson that it really has to be what she wants to do. One of the advantages of us waiting until our girls were a bit older was they CHOSE to do dancing rather than some of their friends who danced from being tiny because their parents decided they would and they are tending to give up now at 7ish. Ask if she can go and watch some different classes to see what she thinks about what she would like to do.

Madcats Thu 29-Jan-15 21:52:13

Unless you have a dream of DD becoming a talented dancer, I'm not sure it really matters when you are 5. If she likes the teachers, she'll have fun.
If the journey to the dance club is stressful (or it interferes with your week) you'll probably give it up in a year or two.

DD started ballet at 4.....passed a couple of exams and is now trying tap and modern as well aged 7. For kids that could barely walk 5 years previously, tap looks decidedly tricky.

I grew up in a small town in the 70s; my potential clubs were ballet and brownies. I ditched ballet at about 14. Maybe it is a coincidence, but I don't have problems with back pain.

Bonbonchance Fri 30-Jan-15 15:18:34

Ballet is definitely the foundation for all dance, I'd (as a dancer & teacher) advise a good ballet class (which should be fun & lively still especially at 5) & then modern/jazz and/or tap. Tap is fun because they've got noisy shoes, it takes a bit of getting used to, not as easy as it looks to be good, but once you've mastered the basics it stays with you. When they're little the steps are quite simple & the timing, rhythm etc compliments other styles. Modern/jazz would link to ballet well, especially when little, there's a bit of an overlap in terms of strengthening little bodies, posture, basic movements like skips etc. I think 5 is a good age to start that & at 5 they tend to progress quite well in any style, more so than a 3 year old.

bigbluestars Mon 02-Feb-15 13:10:00

I agree about the ballet- it is the foundation od the other Western Styles. Learning ballet makes for a better modern or tap dancer.
My dd does ballet majors, tap, modern, musical theatre, and street dance.

RiojaHaze Mon 02-Feb-15 13:23:20

I'm going to agree too!

DD is 8 and does Modern, Tap and Ballet. She originally started with modern and tap as when she was little and did ballet she found it hard to stand still and concentrate so the modern and tap classes were a better outlet for her energy.

She wanted to do more and her dance teacher advised her to go with ballet as it is the basis of dance, and now she has been doing it for 2 years and is about to take her Primary 2 exams, which so far she has been passing with distinctions. I don't think if I had started her with ballet she would still be doing it though as I think that she would have got bored too quickly.

A good dance school should let her try all of them out to see which she prefers.

bigbluestars Mon 02-Feb-15 14:08:27

Our dance school only offers ballet until the age of 7. ( 450 pupils) The principle firmly believes that ballet should be the starting block for all dancing. After 2 or 3 years ballet the children are then permitted to take additional types of dance.

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