Monday, 25 February 2013

Dancing for Children in Toronto — What Age Should They Start?


As a child I participated in all levels of Irish dancing, from beginner to championship
level. I loved it! I loved the music, the shoes, the dresses, and of course the boys (as
there were so few). But I started late. I was about 8 years old. By the time I was in the
championship level I was 14 years old. I was ready to party, ready to play sports, and
definitely ready to spend three nights a week and all day Saturday at the mall.

Looking back I now realize that dancing not only provides physical activity, but also the
opportunity to be creative with your body, even if you are not coordinated or don’t end
up as an athlete later in life. And hey, it even helped on the dance floor at all of those
sweaty high school dances.

So I started to think about Lo starting dancing. At his age now, he is dancing and singing
all around the house and, well, any opportunity he can get, really. So I started doing
some research into dance in Toronto, and here are some options.

Movement Lab

“We celebrate the natural curiosity and creativity of our little movers, and use it as a
springboard into the art and technique of dance. Our creative movement approach gets
kids excited to discover just how far they can stretch their imagination, physicality, and
focus.”

Swansea School of Dance

2 Year Old Music & Movement
“Reach up high, curl down low, clap your hands and away we go! This program is for
our very youngest dancers and their caregivers. In this class, the students go on many
adventures to magical places and experience music and movement along the way.”

Pre-School Dance
“March right up! This program teaches 3- and 4-year-olds music and dance
fundamentals through nursery rhymes, songs, and games. Students develop
coordination and enhance their locomotive and mental development. They explore many
movement possibilities and begin to develop body and space awareness. Children not
only have fun in this animated dance class, but also learn important skills that enable
a logical and easy progression into building technique for future music and dance
programs.

Superboys
“This class is a great introduction to dance where boys can be boys. Following a similar
structure to the girls’ classes, they work towards developing an understanding of the
fundamental foundation of dance and movement. Challenged creatively and physically,
boys ages 3 to 9 can feel free to dance and move at a pace that is in accordance with
how boys learn.” *I love this idea for Lo.

Academy of Ballet and Jazz — School of Canadian Ballet Theatre

Creative Movement
“This is a specially designed children’s program. It serves as an introduction to classical
movement through images, imagination, and rhythm. The ABCs of classical ballet.” For
ages 3 to 5 years.

The School of Toronto Dance Theatre

“Our Young Dancers’ Program (YDP) is designed to introduce children and young
people ages 3 to 17 to creative movement and contemporary dance. Dancers are
encouraged, both individually and in groups, to explore the dance experience in a
focused and fun environment.”

Gotta Dance

“An award-winning studio, located in the west end of Toronto, Gotta Dance is entering
its 11th year! We have programs for boys [50% discount], girls, and adults, both
recreational and competitive.” Jazz, tap, hip hop, ballet, acrobatics, breakdance, Irish,
lyrical, afro-cuban, gymnastics, and personal fitness for ages 3 plus.

The School of Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre

“Instruction brings play-dance to the studio without removing its spontaneity. All classes
develop coordination, posture, imagination and fundamental dance skills.” For ages 3 to
7.

Joy of Dance Centre

Creative and fun ballet and hip hop classes. “Children experience story telling through
movement, creative use of props, and dance games.” For ages 3-7.

Brazil Dance World

This dance group offers Creative Movement, Brazilian dance, and Capoeira classes for
3- to 6-year-olds.

So what do you mamas out there think — is 3 too young to start dance? Should we wait
and let them ask to be part of dance? I am struggling as I see Lo dance around, and see
the joy he gets from moving to the beat — I think he is a natural!


-Gray Mama

[image: Swansea School of Dance]

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