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Below are the 4 most recent journal entries recorded in Dance Moms' LiveJournal:

Thursday, October 16th, 2008
8:27 pm
How to choose a dancing school
What are your goals for dance? Is your child a beginner who wants to get *her feet wet and learn the basics? Or does she have prior experience and wants to expand on it?

Talk to other parents who have children in dance schools. They aren’t on the school’s payroll, so they’re more lkely to give you an honest appraisal.

If you don’t know any other dance moms, looking through the phone book is a good first step to finding a studio, and of course, check the internet, because most studios have a website.

How far do you want to drive? Although this might seem like a less im consideration, you need to take into account your already existing schedule and the schedules of your other children. Racing around from activity to activity is exausting and is a set-up for parental burn-out.

Call some schools, find out their schedules and prices. Ask what types of classes, what ages they teach, and their rehearsal/recital schedule. Take note of how courteous the staff are. They should be willing to share their prices over the phone and should offer to mail you a brochure with class schedule.

When you’ve narrowed your selection down to your favorite two or three, call back and ask if you can sit in on a class to observe. Some will even allow you to participate.

The studio should be clean, well lit, with mirrors so the student can observe themself. Find out what type of flooring they have. A suspended or floating floor will help prevent knee and back injuries from intense contact. A concrete floor is dangerous.

Observe how the teachers interact with the students--do they encourage the students? do they take time to answer the questions? How to they correct mistakes? Do they seem organized?

What education do the teachers have? Are they certified by or do they have real-life experience, or did they major in dance in college?.

Some certification programs: Dance Masters of America, Dance Educators of America, National Dance Education Organization

Ask about class size. The younger your child is, the more supervision she will need.

*For ease of reading, the students will be referred to as “her” or “she”. No sexism is implied.
Thursday, October 2nd, 2008
8:50 pm
What style to choose?
I am of the opinion that if your child is serious about dance, they should begin with ballet. It is the most disciplined of all the styles of dance with very strict protocols for turn-out, movements, posture, etc. It has a language all its own, and a nearly six hundred year tradition, so basically, if your child can dance ballet, they can dance any style of dance.

But of course, that guideline is not set in stone. If a child resists the idea, it’s never a good idea to force them to choose any style of dance. They might change their minds on their own, later, or not, but whatever they choose, it should be what they’re enthusiastic about. You want dance to be fun for them, not something to fit your own preconcieved ideas.

Other types of popular dance for children include:

Modern--based on prinicples of fall and recovery or contraction an release. Feet are usually bare. This style emphasizes freedom of movement and the expression of emotion as opposed to the stylized and often rigid ballet “rules”.

Jazz--term is sometimes used interchageably with the term “modern”, but it is actually a separate form of dance. A soft, flexible, leather-soled shoe is worn. It has it’s roots in African folk dance, and emphasizes isolated body parts in motion. Popular form of dance on Broadway

Tap--this form of dance almost doesn’t need any definition. A specialized shoe is worn, with metal plates attached to the soles. Tap dance is close to the ground, and in addition to fancy footwork, the dancers’ feet take on the aspect of another musical instrument as the rhythms syncronize with the music played.

Hip-Hop--actually refers to several different kinds of dance, such as break dance and krumping. It emphasizes strong, acrobatic movements and is usually performed to “urban” music

Ethnic dance--(Irish, African, etc.) based on folk dances of various countries, they often have opportunities for competitions. Not usually taught at traditional dance studios, but by ethnic heritage organizations.
Wednesday, September 24th, 2008
2:03 pm
Why chose dance?
Why dance is good for children.
Right now we're in the middle of an obesity epidemic in the United States. Too many snacks and too many video games and too much television and too little exercize are partly to blame. Obesity can lead to high blood pressure and non-insulin dependent diabetes, both of which were virtually unheard of among children until ten or fifteen years ago. Dancing may help combat obesity.
Certain disciplines, such as ballet, emphasize correct positioning, balance, posture, and awareness of one's body in space (proprioception).
Dance, like all exercize, when performed regularly, actually increases your energy.
Performing in front of people increases self-confidence.
Dance classes are social. Children get to know other children besides the ones they see every day at school.
Dance is creative.
And finally, children are naturally active and want to move their bodies and learn new challenges.

Current Mood: working
Tuesday, September 16th, 2008
8:25 pm
Why I started this community
First of all, because there are no other communities with this interest. But I'm hoping to find other mothers who are involved in the dancing school scene. Hopefully this can be a place where we can share our experiences and survival tips, and possibly be informational, too.

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