Parent Guide: Getting Dance Ready
It’s that time of year again. School is about to start and for dance parents, that means dance classes are too. Not only do parents have to start buying school books, pencils and rulers, but they also have to think about dancewear and dance shoes. For many new dance parents, this can produce a feeling of panic – what do I need to get? There are so many different dance shoes – which ones are the right ones? What about tights, tutus, and taps? And what do boys wear? If you are feeling confused about what to expect from dance classes or what dancewear to buy, this back-to-dance guide will take the hassle out of preparing your child for class.
Preparing for the First Class
It’s time for that all important first dance class. Before your child joins in, here are a few suggestions that will make the experience much better for you both.
- Before you rush out and buy anything, it’s a good idea to find out if your child needs specific dancewear. If yes, the dance school should give you a list, put it on their website, or even better, many will have given their list to their local Bloch store, making it much easier for you to make a one-shop stop. Check with the dance school if your child is joining a dance level above beginners, in case they have different requirements. If you are unsure what your child needs, follow our Back to Dance checklist.
- A bag large enough to hold dance shoes, a change of dance or street wear and other small items finishes off the basics. Try to keep the dance bag just for dancewear, so that you will always know where everything is and if possible, packing the bag the night before will help you make sure everything is prepared and present.
- You will find this especially helpful when you are in a rush. You will find it easier if you dress your child and get their hair ready before you leave home. In general, girls and boys should both wear their hair off of their face and secured, so that it doesn’t fly around during class or cover their face. Long hair should be either in a ponytail or a bun if required. Not sure how to make a bun? These instructions will help you make a secure bun. To save shoe wear and tear, wait until your child is inside the dance school before putting their dance shoes on.
- It’s a good idea to arrive in plenty of time on the first day, so that you can familiarise yourselves with the layout of the dance school, including locating the office, change rooms, bathrooms, etc.
- Give any snacks or drinks at least 30 minutes before class starts.
- Attending an open day will help your child understand how a class is run and what will be expected of them. In general, most classes start with some warms ups, followed by dance exercises, and often a small dance putting it all together. While some children may be scared to go into a class, watch for the big smiles at the end.
- It’s good to be aware that while some dance schools allow parents to view classes, most will ask that you and any siblings wait outside to avoid distractions.
How to buy the right shoes
- It’s really important to buy good quality, dance shoes appropriate to the dance style. Most dance schools provide you or their local Bloch store with a list of the shoes your child will need.
- It’s also important that shoes fit correctly. All Bloch stores have trained shoe fitters, many who are former dancers, who will take the time to make sure your child’s shoes fit correctly.
- Don’t forget that you may need shoe accessories. For ballet pumps, you may also want to buy a length of ballet ribbon and for pointe shoes, you will need ribbon, suede toe cap protectors and glue. If you are new to ballet, you will find these instructions for sewing elastic onto shoes useful.
- All dance shoes must have a snug fit. While it’s tempting to buy shoes with ‘room to grow’, loose fitting shoes can be dangerous, as the extra length or width may trip up your child and cause friction and blisters. Well-fitting shoes will also help your child get the proper ‘feel’ of the floor.
- Check any returns policies, in case you need to exchange shoes. Many dance teachers like to check the fit of dance shoes before they are worn for class, so it is a good idea to only let your child to wear their shoes, to alter them or to sew on ribbons or elastics after they have been checked.
- And finally, to save losses, label all shoes to make sure they return to the right child.