Dance Academy of Libertyville is a paid Little Lake County Advertising Partner.
Five years ago I became a dance mom, it started because my daughter needed an activity to help get her acclimated to being with people other than mom. Dance seemed like a natural fit as she loved music and twirling and dancing all over the house. I had no idea then just how much a preschooler can gain from dance. I’ve spent the past six months visiting with a Pre-Academy Ballet 1 class at Dance Academy of Libertyville so I can show you just how much a preschooler can learn in a dance class.
The first thing you need to know about the Dance Academy of Libertyville curriculum is that its specific to their school and connected across all levels. Developed by one of their teachers it combines the curriculum of classical ballet from the Royal Academy and the Vaganova Method, with a mix of age-appropriate fun mixed in. Since all the teachers are teaching from the same curriculum building on skills each week, make-ups and switching classes are no problem.
DAL’s teaching philosophy is that children thrive in a loving, positive, and nurturing environment. So all their classes, particularly at the pre-academy level, incorporate fun, musicality, and creativity with their learning. Examples at the preschool level are making (imaginary) pizza while stretching or having a snake (foot) slither up the tree (leg). Of course, there is also freeze dance that incorporates skills they learned while allowing them to express themselves.
As my dancer has grown and matured (she just completed her 5th year at DAL) I have seen those skills and games played in pre-academy tun into the skills she is using now in Ballet 2. Even the three-year-olds I spent this past spring with have grown and changed so much while I was filming them it’s hard to believe it was only a few months and at one class a week really only a few hours!
I watched little girls go from entering the classroom and running around and hanging on the bars to learning procedure and discipline. They sit and listen and mostly know what comes next. Sure there is still laughing, talking out of turn, and sometimes wondering away but the last class was less like herding cats and more watching little dancers.
But ballet is not exactly a skill, my child needs for kindergarten.
While that’s correct, your preschooler doesn’t need to know what the ballet positions are there are many skills learned in pre-ballet that will directly improve and enhance your child’s skills for life. For one, they learn how to listen to a teacher, someone other than a parent, and get along in a group setting. Also, large motor skills such as hopping and skipping are integral to the preschool dance experience. They also learn how to remember a dance routine (or at least watch someone and copy them) and perform on stage. Being able to stand up on stage and perform in front of a crowd at the age of 3 is simply remarkable.
While we’re on the subject of recital one of my favorite things in our ballet experience was watching that very first recital. DAL’s policy is that no child is forced to go on stage. Pre-academy students come early and practice on stage before the performance but if at performance time they don’t want to go out they don’t. Their teachers stay with them backstage and reassure them and it’s so loving and my heart just swells. In the 3 years we were in pre-academy shows I think I only saw one child leave the stage, which is a testament to how nurturing the school is that all the children manage to come out and enjoy themselves.
These skills all contribute to your child’s social-emotional well-being and growth. Dance classes can increase their confidence, develop a positive self-image, teach them to focus and control their emotional energy, all skills that will enhance their academic experience in kindergarten and beyond.
If you think this is all platitudes from a dance mom just search for benefits of dance for children and you will find hundreds of articles saying the same thing. This article from I See Me’s blog is a fast and simple read that says many of the same things. But as they say, the proof is in the video so take a look at how much these little ones grew while I was watching them:
I’m so glad I became a dance mom all those years ago and I encourage you to try out the pre-academy program at DAL. Children ages 2.5 through 5 can try a class at the Pre-School Dance Open House on August 17, 10:30 a.m.
Registration for new students is now open, online or by calling the studio.
Disclosure: Dance Academy of Libertyville is a paid advertising partner of the Little Lake County. All thoughts and opinions are that of the writer. Interested in having your business featured? Contact us today.