As we register for dance classes for the upcoming semester, we may find ourselves asking, “how many dance classes should my child be taking?”
There is no one answer to this question, it depends on how old your child is and also what they want to do with dance. Keep reading for some general guidelines.
Let’s begin with age!
2 ½ - 3 years
If your child is starting dance at 2 ½ or 3 years of age, they will usually begin with Creative Movement Classes one time per week. At this age, one time per week is usually sufficient as students get the chance to move around, express themselves creatively while learning the very basics of dance - which includes basic dance vocabulary, following directions, taking turns, and class structure.
Classes become more structured for this age group. They begin learning vocabulary and building their technical foundation. Dancing one time per week is a good start for this age group, but dancers this age tend to want to try different styles of dance. They usually take two classes per week – ballet, jazz, tap or hip hop OR take a combination class. Combination classes are a great way for a young dancer to try two different styles of dance in one hour. Combination classes are usually ballet/ tap or ballet/jazz. The instructor will begin with one style and halfway through the class do the other style.
Most dance studios offer complimentary trial classes- have your dancer try as many classes as possible to see which suits them the best. If your dancer is showing great interest in dancing in the future, ballet is an important style for them to take. Ballet is the foundation of most other styles of dance. Taking multiple styles of dance will also help them progress in their other classes.
At this age, dancers are finding their dance niche- they are also continuing to build their technical foundation. In order to gain the most out of the dance classes they are taking, we recommend that they take at least two classes per week. At this age, they can still benefit from taking one class in each style that they are interested in- for example; ballet one day and jazz on another day; hip hop one day and jazz/ ballet on another day.
9- 11 years
Depending on their dance goals (which we will get to later), this is a crucial age for dancers – we recommend that dancers at this age take classes at least three times per week. In order to see steady and continued growth, dancers need more than one class in that particular style per week. It is recommended that they start taking ballet a minimum of two times per week in addition to the other styles that they are interested in.
12 and up
Once again, depending on their dance aspirations, we recommend that dancers at this age take a minimum of four dance classes per week in various styles with ballet being at least two days per week. If a dancer is eager to go en pointe, they must take ballet class at least two times per week. (Click here to read more about pre-pointe).
Let’s talk about goals!
What does your dancer want to do with dance? Are they dancing for fun and to stay active and healthy? Do they have aspirations of being on the dance team in high school or college? Are they dancing to help them with their acting classes? Are they hoping to dance en pointe? Do they hope to join a dance company one day?
If your dancer is dancing for fun and to stay active, typically, taking class two to three times per week will be sufficient.
If your dancer has hopes of dancing on the dance team in high school or college, or auditioning for a dance company - they will need to take a variety of classes at least five times per week. This may seem like a lot, but just like when getting serious about sports, dancers have to train their muscles daily to be able to perform the movements correctly and safely.
In order for dancers and parents to see true progress and meet their particular dance goals, here is a quick guide to what we recommend.
Ages Times per week
2 1/2 - 3 years One time per week
4-6 years Once to twice per week
7-8 year Two or more times per week
9 - 11 years Three or more times per week, depending on goals
12 and up Four or more times per week, depending on goals
*Disclaimer, this is not a one size fits all list, these are what we suggest and definitely not set in stone for each dancer. Our goal is to help each dancer meet their specific dance goal - whether that be having fun or pursuing a dance career in the future*