#7: PerformingMarch 26, 2012

Are the teachers spending a month or more of classes on a dance recital?

My take on recitals is somewhat controversial, but I have a sound reason why children this age should not be drilling in preparation for a performance. For the 3, 4, and young 5, sequential memorization is an emergent skill. It is not until age 6 or 7 that they want to learn and perform dances in front of an audience, or have the capacity to easily retain extended combinations.

Parents want to see what their child has learned, and they love to see their child perform.  But keep in mind that performing in front of a large group of people can be very stressful.  Dancing at this age is about personal self-expression and joy in learning and should be treated as such.  I invite parents to three observation days a year.  We may rehearse a small combination, of which I spend only a small portion of two classes on.  I also dance along side them, and the choreography occurs naturally within the theme or story for that day.  And in regards to the ‘ever-popular’ recital with its sequined and costly costumes, I suggest playing dress-up at home, have them create their own playbill and tickets, and let them put on a show for parents and grandparents.  They’ll know exactly what to do and do it with style.