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Its that time of the year, when school is about to end and parents are scrambling to get their kids into activities.    A lot of parents would try to get their kids into dance.  What style should they get into? Where do they train? The answers really depend on what your goals are for your kids.

When choosing a style for your child you should consider the what of the following aspects you want to develop:

1.) Musicality

2.) Acting/Character on Stage

3.) Expression and creativity

4.) Physical control/flexibility

5.) Physical strength

If you want musicality, then jazz, tap and hip-hop. The dependency of these styles on beats and syncopation makes them ideal for this goal.  For character and acting, the classical is the best.  It teaches you to carry yourself like a prince or princess.  If you want to foster creativity and expression, then nothing beats contemporary.

As far as physical training is concerned,  Classical Ballet and Contemporary develop great control over muscle groups.  Classical leg battements and port de bras define peripheral muscles.  Arabesques and pirouettes develop the back and abdominals.  Contemporary contractions and releases develop the core. Think about contemporary dancers rolling like on the floor like rugs.   Hip-hop is known for exposive moves.  Jazz is notable for pelvic and hip isolations.

Among the styles, contemporary appears to confuse some people.  A co-teacher of mine in ballet commented that contemporary is like jazz.  They are actually not.  To understand what contemporary, we go back to its roots.  In the early part of the 20th century,  dancers hated the “fairy tale” like quality of ballet so they developed a more realist, earthy style known as Modern Dance.  In this style, dancers would use the floor and contract their bodies.  In the 60’s some dancers emphasized that natural movement was dance.  Improvisation and natural movement marked what is known as post-modern dance. The combination of Modern and Post-Modern  is now called Contemporary.

After choosing the style, you then consider the teacher.  Is the teacher really a dancer? How long did he/she dance? Where did he/she get the training? Is he/she part of a guild or network of teachers that oversees the quality of instruction? Are the rates reasonable? In my case, I danced for about 3 years before working in industry for 15 years.  After that I returned to ballet as a teacher.  I am part of the Christ centered  ACTS Manila consortium of teachers and ballet schools.  You can call me to compare my rates with other teachers in my area.

Only after considering the teacher should you consider the studio. I have taught ballet in small kindergarten classrooms.  A good teacher should be able to improvise teaching methods to meet the needs of the students.  I teach in 60 sq. m. church hall at Laguna Bel Air 2, Sta. Rosa, Laguna, Philippines.  You can call me at 09083020319 for a free ballet or contemporary class.