How important is it for young dancers to train based on their age? It’s a question that’s often debated amongst parents, teachers and dancers themselves. Good dance programs will build a solid foundation before pushing young dancers beyond the limits of their growing bodies.
A solid foundation includes coordination, musicality, spacial awareness, flexibility, strength and the ability to focus and follow instruction. Good dance teachers build this foundation with repetition, repetition, repetition! It’s no mistake that ballet and most other forms of dance have a set format for each and every class. An independent experiment conducted in 1995 found it takes 180 practice trials for the human brain to consistently reproduce new, simple movement patterns.
It takes a reasonably long time for the human brain to learn the basics of dance, so many dance students find overall success in continuing the same level of dance for a year or more. Curriculums should introduce new steps based on the age of the dancer, rather than the number of years the individual has danced.
Berks Ballet Theatre Conservatory of Dance prides itself in training dancers in a healthy and nurturing environment. Instructors are thoughtful and thorough when placing dancers in a level that is age appropriate. Dance is a journey and when taught properly, can be incredibly rewarding and memorable for any dancer that steps into the studio.
With the importance of age and development in mind, the conservatory received its certificate in Revolutionary Principles of Movement. RPM focuses on movement motivation and kinetic awareness. Learnings from the RPM program enhances teachers’ efforts to teach dance both artfully and healthily to all dancers.
(1)Relative phase alterations during bimanual skill acquisition. Journal of Motor Behavior, Lee,T. D., Swinnen, S. P., & Verschueren, S. (1995).
Revolutionary Principles of Movement: https://www.ballet4everybody.com/