Is there a little dancer in your life that is eager to venture into the dance world? A great place to get started is Dancenter North in Libertyville. Located right in downtown Libertyville, this dance school gave me a welcoming feeling from the moment we stepped in the door. It was very appealing, clean and all the staff I met were upbeat and friendly.
I took my 4-year old, Ava, to try the Pre-Ballet 2 class for 4-year olds. I had her enrolled in a different ballet class elsewhere several months ago and it did not go very well so I was a little nervous for her. Because of her rather negative experience at the other place she had declared she did not want to try ballet anymore. I did however, manage to convince her to give this one more try since it was at a new place (There may also have been the mention of a possible treat afterwards.)
We entered the dance studio which was bright, clean and organized – walls lined with mirrors and ballet bars. It was glorious! The other little girls in the class were all sitting in a circle wearing cute pink tutus and they all welcomed Ava and invited her to join them. She cautiously joined the circle but within minutes she was participating with everyone and following along for their warm up.
The teacher in the class, Miss Samantha, was amazing! She was incredible with the kids and had a smile on her face the entire class. She kept their attention the whole time and didn’t force any of them to do something they didn’t want to do.
I loved how she tailored everything to the age group. During the warm up for arm circles, she referred to them as “baby bear circles”, “Mommy bear circles” and “daddy bear circles” – to differentiate between the sizes. All the kids caught on real quickly as they eagerly followed along, even my child (to my delight!)
There was one time when Ava just stood there for one of the jumping exercises. Miss Samantha noticed and while still directing the class, she calmly walked over to Ava, took her hands and said quietly to her “Ava, let’s do this together,” and they jumped together. I thought that was a great way to handle it. In our previous class (elsewhere), whenever Ava didn’t want to do something, the teacher called her out on it in front of everyone.
Miss Samantha had a fun kid-friendly twist on all the various stretching moves and ballet positions. She made everything seem so fun and on their level. What a great way to learn ballet basics! I was sitting in the back and it was hard not to follow along. I kept catching myself starting to do the moves as she was leading the kids.
For one of the stretching exercises, she had them pretend they were jack-in-the-boxes and they had to pop out of their boxes – jumping in the air. All the kids seemed to be having such a great time with that one!
At the end of the class, she told the kids she was very proud of them and gave them each a sticker. All the kids then gave Ava a group hug making her feel so special! I think we have finally found a dance class that my daughter will enjoy. A big thank you to Miss Samantha and the rest of the staff at Dancenter North for letting us try the class and making us feel so welcome.
Dancenter North offers Mommy & Me Ballet and Pre-Ballet for preschool-age children along with a variety of disciplines for children and adults including Ballet, Fitness, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Lyrical, Tap and more!
Disclosure: The author was provided with a complimentary lesson in order to facilitate her review. All thoughts and opinions are her own. Dancenter North is a Little Lake County paid advertising partner.