Updated: May 17
So what is the best age to start dancing? The truth is there really is no “perfect age”, but the earlier the better is what I say!
I (Miss Cassie) was put into Ballet classes here in Melbourne at the age of 3, and believe it or not I was that kid that cried before every lesson and didn’t want to go in. Back in the late 90s, Preschool Ballet and Preschool Jazz wasn’t what it is now. We are seeing an ever-expanding market in the Preschool Ballet and Preschool Jazz industry, with beautiful teachers who speak like a Disney Princess and there’s glitter and tutus and magic and props!! It’s wonderful! Back when I was young I remember an older woman who was probably incredible with amazing technique, but I remember she scared me. I remember her being quite strict, and as a super shy and reserved kid I didn’t respond to that. She wasn't the right teacher for me. My Mum pulled me out of Ballet and I guess she thought that was the end of her only child’s dance career.
3 years down the track, we were living in Sydney. I came home one day, telling her I was desperate to go to Jazz like the other girls did in my class! With her scepticism from my last experience with dance, she sent me off to the local dance school’s Jazz class. I remember it being daunting, a large class but I had about 6 of my class mates to welcome me with open arms. Miss Julie lead the class, and little did we know then, but she would go on to be my teacher for the next 14 years. This studio was my second family, I learnt the foundations of technique and developed my love and passion for dance that stays with me now.
As I said, the earlier the better. But what do I think is the most important factor? The teacher. A teacher that genuinely wants each student to succeed, whether that is learning a new step or simply participating. A teacher should be warm, welcoming, kind, patient and energetic. Every child is different, some run in with exploding confidence, some need to take their time. I was that kid, that love and passion was in there, it just needed the right teacher at the right time. I always see myself in my shy students, and find that with time and getting to know them, I always manage to coax them into the class.
I have friends that have gone on to become professionals in the industry, who began dancing at the age of 10. Every child is different. That is the wonderful thing about dance, there is no age that you MUST start your child in classes.
Dance is a wonderful art form that has so many benefits. Aside from the obvious skills with strength, coordination and agility, Dance is the one thing that improved my confidence. It taught me amazing lessons in discipline, teamwork and respect.
So, if you are contemplating whether your child is ready, take them to a class! If they genuinely are not ready you will know. I have had so many parents over the years say “but they love to dance at home!”. Sometimes all it needs a little time, maybe a few classes, maybe a few years.
It is never too late to begin.