Many times in the dance world, we see unbelievable feats of greatness from young children and young adults. Whether it is extreme flexibility, sky high jumps, or multiple turns, we can’t help but be entertained and enjoy watching it. These amazing dancers that inspire us are great prodigies or accomplished young adults who have worked their entire lives to get to that point of excellence.
In a culture full of competition and accessibility we want our children and students to be the best at the highest level, as soon as possible. Young students are attempting advanced movement that requires great control and strength that is difficult to accomplish by a pre-adolescent child. In rare cases, we do have exceptionally talented and strong young students, who with careful guidance, can attempt more advanced work at a younger age. However, not all students have the natural ability to do so, and it is important that your dance instructor is able to see that to avoid prolonged injuries.
There is a certain marriage between dance technique and the ability to perform many of the tricks we see on a frequent basis on TV or on the Internet. Dance Technique is the how, and why we do things the way we do them in dance. The body alignment, pathways and energy we put into each movement is the key to achieving the “tricks” at the right time, eliminating bad habits and injury. Tricks are essentially dance steps, practiced in repetition to achieve the ideal look and to provide a wow-factor in certain types of dancing. The goal should be an equal balance between the two, letting students progress at a pace that works for them individually and their abilities. Often times when we introduce young dancers to too much too soon, the line between the “little girls” and “big girls” is blurred. Then causing issues with age appropriate costuming and music choices that come along with more mature movement.
As a dance educator, it is my responsibility to instill the how and why in dance training at my studio.
Gradual growth in a structured, intimate environment will create strong, capable dancers and prepare them for the future.