My child dances at home but not in the classroom




04 Nov 2019

You’ve paid a small fortune to get an outfit, shoes and matching Ballet Bag.

Beyond excited, you both can’t wait for that first dance class.

She loves to dance around the entire house, Ballerina Movie is her fave, but once you get into that much talked about classroom she just freezes.

You watch your dollars go down the drain with every pirouette the teacher does, while your ballerina bites her fingers and just stares. What should you do? Do you go in and talk to her, tell her you’re going home, bribe her?

You just know how much she will love the class if she only jumped in and had a go….

I see this all the time with aspiring little dancers. It’s more common than you think!

You need to put yourself in their place.

Let’s use singing as an example. You, yourself, sing almost everyday. You have an incredible shower voice, you get the courage to try a singing class, you walk into the room with a bunch of strangers, you are nervous, is my shower voice really that good? Will the teacher think I’m good? Will I sing the notes right? Or will I be a complete embarrassment and creak and croak with every note.

Everyone starts to warm up their voices and it’s like nothing you have ever done before. Panic sets in so you freeze. But being an adult you know for sure that if you were to fast forward a few weeks, you would know where your voice fits in the group, you would know your teacher is lovely and encouraging, you would know the procedures of the lesson and you would be loving every minute of it.

Our little ones feel the same, but…. 

They cannot fast forward and think ahead to the next few weeks.

They need time to feel out where they fit in the class. To get to know the teacher and what he or she likes and doesn’t like. To make friends with the other kids and most importantly to feel safe.

They need to make the connection. ‘I come into this room, and I feel safe. I trust and I like this teacher.’

Dancing at home in the lounge room feels good and makes them happy. To have that same feeling in the classroom depends on how soon they can understand the process and feel confident with it.

And that takes time.

Let them find this confidence in their own time.

Don’t give up on them! The worse thing you can do is panic and pressure them. And all kids are different. Some children take 5 mins to warm up to the new environment and their teacher, and others may take 5 months.

As a teacher it is so amazing to see a child fall into their own comfort zone on their own, and in their own time.

Then, the love of dance, friendship and bond with the teacher is genuine and will last a lifetime.

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