Finally, we’re back to dance! It’s the beginning of the year, and the possibilities are endless. New teachers, new friends, new bodysuit—wait, my shoes don’t fit? Am I in the right class? Why is everyone else so much more flexible than I am?
Don’t let this happen to you, let’s start the year off right. Check out our ten top dance tips to help set the right tone for your dance year ahead.
1. Have an open mind, and be positive!
Let’s face it, whether this is your first time in a dance studio or your tenth year dancing at Prestige, the first couple weeks always makes everyone nervous. It’s busy, there are new faces, and you have to get used to your new dance class schedule. Let’s take this opportunity to be kind, patient, and encouraging. Strength is shown through kindness; help where you can, and make an effort to speak to someone new. Treat others the way you would like to be treated and remember why you signed up for dance class: it’s fun, and you love it! We will set the tone for the whole year with our attitude in the first few dance classes.
2. Know Your Dance Classes and Teacher’s Name
The first week of dance is crazy in the halls. There are usually at least two dance classes in the hall at any given time. Some going in, some coming out. Sometimes class times are staggered, other times they all start at the same time. Though we always do our best to make sure that each dancer is in the correct class, there are often last-minute registrations or class changes. We missed you. We want you to dance. Let’s not waste time!
3. Know What Not to Wear!
Character shoes or pointe shoes, bodysuit or sweatpants, hair up or hair down? Dance studio dress codes exist for a reason and making sure everything fits is a must. If you have the wrong clothes, or your shoes are too small, you are restricting your movement and possibly will be setting yourself up for injury. Try everything on before coming to class so that you’re not in for any nasty surprises. If you’re in a rush to dance after school, try going to school with your hair ready for class, or packing a brush and extra elastics and pins in your dance bag.
No time to get to the dance store before your first class? You may be in luck because now Prestige carries dancewear essentials for ages 3-8. If you’re growing like a weed, make sure to keep an eye on the Prestige Shoe Swap!
4. Listen to Your Body.
Have you been relaxing on the beach all summer? If you haven’t stretched or exercised all summer, you will find that your muscles won’t be quite as cooperative as you remember. Don’t jump straight into your splits just because last year they were flat; ease into them with warm muscles and hold it where your legs tell you to. Push yourself, but be smart and attentive about it. This is important as you don’t want to miss any of your dance classes through injury.
5. Give Your Best Effort In All Your Dance Classes, Even If They Are “Easy”
Your teachers know what they are doing. If you start out a dance class by doing something that you perceive to be “easy,” there is always a reason for it. Remember: reviewing old material gives you the chance to warm up and show off your skills; learning new and difficult moves gives you a chance to push yourself and expand your dance vocabulary. A simple exercise can be a great way to get the cobwebs out of those tired summer muscles; it can also be a great way to assess a group’s fundamental skills to see what new material can be brought in right away versus what needs to be strengthened first.
If you go into an “easy” exercise with a negative attitude and do it sloppily, you are telling your teacher that you are not ready for the harder material. If you really want to show your dance teacher that you are ready for something more challenging, put all of your efforts into the tiny details. Remember, professional ballet dancers always start their warm up with a simple plié exercise—and they work up a sweat!
6. Don’t Compare, Grow!
Everyone in your class has had a different dance journey. Everyone’s starting point is unique, and everyone’s bodies are unique. Some of your friends may have been dancing all summer, while others haven’t even touched their toes for the past two months. When you come to our dance classes, your focus needs to be on yourself. Teachers are the only ones that should be correcting students, and you need to focus on trying your hardest. All of your teachers are paying close attention to make sure that dancers are in the correct classes. The first few weeks often come with a few class changes, so make sure you are patient and kind to all dancers, especially if you feel like you are at different levels. The important part is that you try your best, and are stronger than you were last class.
7. Know The Dance Studio Rules!
Dancers, parents, and guests alike—it’s important to know the dance studio rules. The rules have been set for a reason, in order to keep the studio a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment.
In the hallway, you will find dancers with bare or stocking feet, and dancers stretching, eating, or practicing on the floor.
This is why we ask that outdoor shoes are removed from the mats and placed on the shoe racks provided; we want to keep these hallways clean for everyone!
No children are permitted in the dance studio without a teacher present, unless given specific permission and instruction, for the safety of the dancers.
Our floors are ideal for dancing, but they are also hard and slippery.
Dancers are not permitted to chew gum, eat food, or have a drink other than water in class. These are choking hazards, belly aches, and time taken away from dancing!
8. Don’t Miss Your Dance Classes Warm-up
We get it, life is busy. Traffic is insane, and there are so many things that are out of our control when it comes to getting to dance class on time. Try your best to be at class early; if your muscles are not properly conditioned for the elements that you will be learning during the class, you are setting yourself up for potential injury. If you absolutely cannot make it to the warm-up, see if there is a way that you can warm up those muscles before you get to class.
9. Make Sure Your Teacher Knows About Your Medical Issues
We cannot stress this enough, most importantly, If you have a severe allergy, diabetes, ADHD, hearing problems, a broken finger … your teacher cannot help you if they do not know. In fact, we could make it worse. We care, and we always want to make sure that you are safe. Because beyond that, we don’t want your health issues to prevent you from being able to do what you love: dance.
10. Be Teachable: Corrections Are a Blessing, Not a Curse.
Being a great dancer isn’t about natural talent, it is about the energy that you put into each class. Every correction your teacher gives you is to help you, not to discourage you. Sometimes the corrections are for timing, sometimes they are aesthetic, but—more often than not—they are for your safety. When you come into class ready to listen, ready to try your hardest, and ready to have fun, you will be getting the most out of your dance classes, every time.
So there you have it, these are Prestige Dance Academy’s top ten dance tips to start the year out right. But, most important of all, we want you to come and have FUN! We are all looking forward to seeing you, and we already know that this year is going to be the best yet. Good luck at your first week back to dance.