Twelve Things Your Child’s Dance Teacher Wants You to Know
Teaching dance is one of the most gratifying professions out there. Dance teachers get to share their
passion with the next generation and watch them learn and grow. Seeing our students shine is one of
the best rewards for the hard work we put in. As with any profession, there are things we struggle with
behind the scenes. Here are a few things your child’s dance teacher wants you to know.
1. We love dancers who are on time for class!
Being a little bit (or a lot) late every week is detrimental to your child’s experience in class.
Set your dancer up for a great experience by making sure you are on time for class. In fact, arrive
a little bit early so that you can change shoes and get settled. If the class lines up outside the
studio door, this is a part of class that your child will be missing if you run in late. Your child will
pick up on your energy if you are rushing in and ushering them through the studio door while
class is in progress. Its not a great way to start class for your dancer, and it is a distraction to the
students who are already immersed in class. As the instructor, of course we will do everything
we can to get your dancer settled and get back to teaching. We realize life happens and
sometimes it can’t be helped, but when it is the same dancer week after week, we get
2. Attentive caregivers in parent/child classes make our job so much easier.
Parents should guide their children in mommy and me settings. During a parent/child class, the
role of the caregiver is to direct the dancer while participating in a structured activity. We know
these classes are a great opportunity to meet other parents and make much needed
connections, and that is definitely part of the experience. Class is also a great way for you and
your child to have some one-on-one time and share in an activity. When parents get distracted,
start chatting over the instructor or using their phones instead of being fully present with their
child in class, they are missing out on this great opportunity to bond.
3. We appreciate it when our dancers have the right equipment for class.
Bargain brand dance shoes make our job a lot harder… and aren’t doing your dancer any favors.
This one is near and dear to dance teachers everywhere. Please see what type of shoes your
studio prefers and purchase accordingly. Bright pink, cute satin slippers with glittery tiaras on
them are rarely well-made, good quality dance shoes. You are spending the time, money and
effort to provide your child with a professional dance education, so please provide them with
the right equipment to be successful in class. To read more about this topic, please click here.
4. We love our job, but we are still professionals who deserve to be paid for our work.
So many times, we get requests from parents to go over steps for a child who has missed class
due to family vacation, birthday parties, or extended illnesses. We will work hard to make sure
your child gets up to speed during class time. If your child needs additional one on one time, this
should be handled as a private lesson. You would not ask your accountant or other professional
for free services. Even though we enjoy our profession, it is still our job and expecting free
lessons isn’t appropriate.
5. We love it when our students arrive dressed well for class!
When a dancer walks though the door in proper leotard and tights, with hair securely pulled
back looking ready for class, we are overjoyed! There are practical reasons for the dress code
your studio requires. Well-fitted garments help us to see a dancer’s alignment and offer
appropriate corrections. Hair secured to the head will allow your dancer to execute turns
without being hampered by the weight of a swinging ponytail or hair in their eyes and face. As
with any activity, dressing the part helps students get into the correct mindset for class.
6. Our preschool dancers learn so much more than basic dance steps and technique.
When your dancer participates in their first class, they are learning how to follow directions,
take turns, work in a group, and so much more. We make lots of necessary progress in class that
may not be obvious to the untrained eye or immediately translate into becoming a polished,
experienced dancer. A good, solid foundation in dance begins with being comfortable in the
studio and learning to love movement. The rest will come in time. To read more, click here.
7. Your child’s hair accessories and jewelry may be distracting during class.
This is a big one for preschoolers. Many times, the dancers want to show us their fancy
headband, bracelet, or ring. And we love to see all of the things the dancers are proud to show
us! But during class, these items can be a distraction and are better left in the dance bag. In
general, jewelry and hair accessories are not appropriate in dance class even as the students
age. Anything that can come loose or fly off during turns and leaps creates a hazard for the
dancer and others in the room. Headbands can get in the way during tumbling in a preschool
class. When its time for dance class, leave the jewelry and extra accessories at home.
8. Using the restroom in a leotard takes practice.
This is another one for the preschool set. Unlike preschools and daycare centers, we are not
able to help your child in the restroom. So, if you leave the building during class, please be sure
that your child is able to take off her leotard to use the bathroom, as well as get the leotard and
tights back on when she is done. Even children who are fully potty trained have a hard time with
these garments and could have an accident while trying to get their leotard off. Once off, the
leotard and tights can become tangled together making them hard to pull back up. If your child
needs assistance with this, please stay on site so that you can help.
9. We really appreciate holiday and end-of-season gifts.
Everyone loves to hear that what they do makes a difference. A note or other small token from
your child during the holidays, teacher appreciation week, or at the end of the season is
sincerely appreciated. We treasure the heartfelt notes from tiny dancers, teens and parents
more than we can say. Most of us have a scrapbook where we save these gems.
10. We cry backstage when our students do well!
We work with your children for months. We see their progress and we take great pride in how
far they’ve come by the end-of-year performance. When we are standing in the wings watching
the dancer who wouldn’t even come into the studio on their own in September dancing their
heart out on stage, we are filled with emotion. We truly love what we do and this moment
makes the whole year’s work worthwhile.
11. Our hearts break every June when the teens go off to college.
Especially when we’ve known your dancer since the preschool years, seeing their final
performance with the studio is very emotional for us. Our students become part of our lives.
When we see the same dancers several times a week for years, it is hard to let go. We do it with
a smile on our face and well wishes for a successful future… but inside our hearts are breaking.
And when we return to the studio in September and your dancer is not at the barre, their
absence is tangible and bittersweet.
12. We appreciate your trust in us!
As educators, we understand what a privilege it is to play a part in each dancer’s story. Those
tiny dancers are getting their first impression of dance and deciding if it will be a life-long
passion. This is a great responsibility and we take it very seriously. Each dancer along the
journey is allowing themselves to be vulnerable and creative in the safety of our guidance. It is
an honor to help shape these young students into the dancers they will become.