3-4 Year Old Ballet, Tap and Tumbling
The preschool dancer will be introduced to a variety of beginner dance steps. First and foremost, the 3 year olds will learn how to “follow the leader”, how to “wait in line”, how to “take turns”, how to “follow simple directions”. Since most 3 year olds haven’t been to preschool yet, a lot of basic class management skills need to be established early on in the class, to insure success for the entire year.
Many types of music will be incorporated into the dance class. We are up to date with current preschool favorites, and of course have all the necessary “princess music” on hand. Since 3 year olds learn from repetition, we will use some familiar favorites that they already know. The ABC song, Itsy Bitsy Spider, etc. will be used along with dance steps, and props. We highly encourage the girls to learn the songs, and sing while they are dancing. They will improve their coordination by singing and dancing, and they will stay actively involved in the class.
A variety of dance props are utilized in the 3-4 year old class. This is because the girls are limited to what dance skills they are able to perform, plus if you have any experience with 3 year olds you are aware of their “short attention span”. So in a class we may practice “first position, plie, and chasse”, then we will become “Sleeping Beauty” and add a crown, tutu and wand. We dance to princess music and review “first position, plie, and chasse”. They have no idea they are reinforcing the skills introduced.
Gross Motor Skills are reviewed each week and are mastered at individual rates. Marching, skipping, hopping, leaping, twirling are all ground work for future dance steps and overall coordination.
Tumbling is very beneficial for young dancers as they are very flexible; however they lack upper body strength. We work weekly on arm and shoulder strength by doing “wheel barrows”, and “spider women”. It is amazing to see the progression each week the girls make as they gain control of their bodies and gain strength. It is important to teach the 3 year old the correct way to do a forward roll, cartwheel, hand stand etc. All of our techniques are based on words that the preschooler can relate to and understand. For example when we teach a forward roll we tell them first they are going to be a “big tree” (reach up with arms above the head), then a “little tiny bush” (squat down in a tuck position), then they are going to “roll”.
Specific ballet skills are introduced and mastered by the preschoolers. We will introduce many skills, and each week these skills will be reviewed and new ones introduced. Some basic skills the girls will learn include: first and second position, plie, relevee, tendu, chasse, passé, achappe, soute, etc. We introduce our ballet friend and her name is “Mousey Girl Friend”. All our skills relate to “Mousey” in order to help the 3 year olds comprehend the skills and when adding our friend, they become actively involved. Example: First position is where the heels are “kissing” and the toes are opened, making a triangle shape. We tell the girls Mousey needs a house, but the back door must be closed so she can’t get outside in the back yard. We tell them Mousey has a swimming pool in the back yard and she is not allowed to go near the pool without her mom or dad. The front door needs to be opened so we don’t “squish” Mousey. Using our imaginary friend the girls quickly feel like Mousey is their friend and someone who is going to help her learn to dance.
Tap is a wonderful tool to assist a young preschool dancer who may favor either her left or right foot. Putting on a pair of shiny black tap shoes and allowing the girls to march to music, tap, heel, toe, and shuffle is a wonderful addition to the class. Typically we don’t begin tap until October because we want the girls to have a normal understanding of how the class works, as well as we want to make sure the class as a whole is listening. Tap is excellent for memory, as well as overall coordination.
Stacey's Dance Studio offers a wonderfully unique program that encourages the girls to love dance and love coming to class each week.
Preschool Dance Attire: white ballet, black tap shoes and any type of dancewear. Please bring dance bag to class. Label all shoes with name.
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