Tip #1: Ask your teacher for a class playlist
Having your class playlist on your favorite music streaming service is uper handy. You can play the songs the teachers are using in class at home, or in the car. The more your dancer hear the music, the more it will help them retain what they are learning in class. The will learn to associate certain parts of class with certain songs. That will help them feel comfortable in class, and on stage.
As an example, one of the most heard comments in class for us is – “Hey! We have this song in our car!” That fact alone will help your kids engage with the teacher and the curriculum.
Tip #2: Have your dancer teach you the dance
Preschoolers love to imitate the adults in their lives. It’s part of their learning process. A great way to get your dancer ready for the stage is to have them play the role of teacher. They can pretend to be “Teacher _____” while they lead you through a pretend class. It’s a good idea to have the songs they are using in class on a playlist ready to go for such occassions.
Remember, we do not expect them to memorize entire dances at these ages, but anything they remember and can pass along to you will help them retain the material. It’s also a boost for their confidence and that may transfer to the stage.
Tip #3: Take your dancer to a theatre or dance performance
As stated above, kids love to imitate the adults in their lives. Taking your kids to see a live stage performance gives you the opportunity to give them a preview of what they can expect when they take the stage. If you can arrive early, tour the space. Walk the aisles. Get close to the stage, and let them see what the performers see. Kids tend to love live performances, and it may inspire them to do it as well.
TIP #4: Put on a show at home
Gather the family and make it an event! Have your dancer design a stage area, a back stage area, and seating for the audience. Make some popcorn and play the songs from the performance. Cheer, clap, and sing along. The more fun, the better.
Tip #5: Read books, talk through it
If you have a dancer that is shy, or maybe one that gets anxious trying new things; a good idea may be to just talk them through what to expect on the day of the show. If you aren’t sure how the show day will flow, you should ask your teacher. There are also lovely children’s books that you can read together that tell the story of kids taking the stage for the first time. Talk to them about stage fright, and reassure them that it is okay to feel that way. It’s a normal feeling that almost all the kids will have at some point. Even seasoned performers will get anxious about going on stage.
It’s important to remember that at this age, your dancer shouldn’t feel any pressure about going on stage. Our job as a studio is to create an environment that is suitable for this age group. With over 13 years and 25 shows under our belts, we have refined our process to make that age appropriate for your dancer.
What will happen when they get on stage? You never really know until they get out there. We have seen the shy kids in class run out on stage with big smiles. We have also seen the most outgoing kids in class go on stage, and freeze. Some kids will participate in multiple dance shows before they fully dance on stage. The important thing to remember is that one show does not define what they will do in the future. This is all new to them, and every kid will react differently. Have fun, enjoy the process, and let your dancer grow into that comfort zone.
BONUS TIP – Get a good night’s sleep, don’t skip their nap, and make sure your dancer isn’t hangry when they get to the theater, lol.