What’s the Best Age for My Child to Start Dance Classes?

Many parents wonder what is the best age for my child to begin dance classes. A dance education can begin as early as age two!  Children grow at different paces and as their parent, you are best able to judge when they are ready based on their personalities and motor skills.

It is not surprising that professionals and experts alike all agree that dance class is an excellent educational activity for children of all ages. Dance is an outstanding form of exercise, but it also fosters coordination, flexibility, rhythm, and grace, as well as inspiring creativity and self-confidence in children.  Many dance parents are surprised to learn that classes for preschoolers create a strong foundation for the rest of their kids’ lives.

There are some key things to think about as a parent when considering enrolling your child in dance classes. What classes are offered for the appropriate age and skill level, the type of dance style, and what dance attire is required.


Here are a few questions and answers that every parent should consider before registering their child for a dance class.


How old should my child be to start taking dance classes?


At Progressive Dance Studio (PDS), classes are offered for children as young as 3 or 4 years old, although it’s never too late to start dancing! Classes for this age group mainly focus on teaching simple coordination skills, rhythm, balance and basic ballet technique. By age 5 most children are then ready and able to start learning additional primary dance techniques.


Before beginning dance classes, your child should be able to pay attention, follow directions and handle mild corrections. At PDS we encourage children to begin with ballet classes because the fundamentals learned in ballet translate to all forms of dance.


What type of dance class is best for my child?


The most important thing when starting a dance class for your child is for the child to have fun!  Cultivating a safe, positive atmosphere and building a happy foundation is key. This way they will have a great experience and fall in love with dance!  Choose a class that matches your child’s personality. Are they soft and delicate? Do they play “ballerina” and dance around the house? Perhaps your child is spunky with high energy and would prefer a faster class like Tots Hop (3 yrs) or Mini Hip Hop (4-5 yrs).


What kind of dance attire will I need for my child?


For most dance classes, the basic outfit is a leotard and tights.  At PDS, our dress code is simple, a pink leotard and tights for girls, and white and black leotard for boys, plus ballet shoes. Be sure to have your child try on the leotard to make sure that it fits. The leotard should be comfortable enough for them to move and stretch, but tight enough so that the dance instructor can check their body alignment.  For Hip Hop dance classes, a t-shirt and leggings are the perfect dancewear. Make sure your child is able to stretch in the material you choose.


At Progressive Dance Studio, we offer the perfect classes to introduce  3, 4 and 5-year-old children to dance. 


Tots in Tutus (Age 3)   In Tots in Tutus classes the children are introduced to the concepts of rhythm and movement using creative games that expand their individual creativity. As Jolene Perry, Owner and Dance Instructor, explains “every creative game that is played in our classes has a direct correlation to learning basic ballet movements in future classes.  For example, our “bunny jumps” are for learning to jump with 2 feet together, which then progresses into the basic dance step called Sauté.” Students in Tots in Tutus will also learn spatial awareness, good listening skills, group socialization, and structure.


Tots Hop (Age 3)  If your child is spunky and full of energy, Tots Hop will be a great fit.  In our Tots Hop dance classes, the children are introduced to the basic concepts of music, rhythm, and movement of Hip Hop dance using creative games that expand their individual creativity.  Tots Hop classes celebrate your child’s natural ability to move in an expressive way. This energetic class focuses on developing coordination, musicality, spatial awareness, listening skills, group socialization, and structure.


Mini Hip Hop (4-5 yrs)  In Mini Hip Hop dance classes, the children are further instructed in the concepts of music, rhythm, and movement. Hip Hop dance classes incorporate creative games that expand a child’s individual creativity.  Mini Hip Hop focuses on learning basic grooves and teaches children to observe and mimic the dance instructor to repeat the dance moves. Children will learn spatial awareness, listening skills, group socialization, and structure.


Creative Movement (4-5 yrs).  During Creative Movement classes, children are introduced to the concepts of rhythm and movement appropriate for their age and skill level. Dancers are encouraged to expand their individual creativity using creative games and basic ballet techniques as a foundation.


In Creative Movement the children are building upon what they learned in Tots In Tutus and more basic ballet movements are added.  As the class progresses so does the intricacy and challenge of the dance movements…it’s all a level up. For example, skipping with a very high knee turns into a basic ballet step called a passé. As with all our beginner classes, students will continue learning spatial awareness, listening skills, group socialization, and structure.


If you are interested in dance classes for your toddler or preschooler feel free to come in for a free trial class or contact Progressive Dance Studio  at (201) 894-1333 to schedule a free trial.



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  Robert McBay  (Hip Hop Dancer, Instructor, Choreographer)Rob McBay is a born and bred New Jersey native, growing up in Closter, New Jersey. Rob is a passionate dancer, instructor, and choreographer. As we at Progressive Dance Studio can tell you, anyone...

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