Are you wondering what our Music and Movement - Intro to Tap Dancing for Toddlers and Preschoolers looks like at Trinity Dance and Fitness Studios in Weaverville, CA? Here are peeks at some of the segments that our 2 and 3-year-olds learn.
AKA: "PARENTS & PLAY," the classes recorded on these videos are so much fun -- and not just for the tiny boys and girls who dance! Parents have a great time helping their children follow along, pause, rewind, make and retrieve props, and generally keep the kiddos moving, whether they're dancing outdoors or inside.
We usually begin this class by drumming with our hands and feet and learning the teacher's signals for attention. This is accomplished through progressive tapping, drumming, reaching, and stretching. --Oh, and laughing. Dancers learn how to act as a group member, get a chance to speak in front of the circle, and practice waiting their turns during fast-paced activities. This is a great time to watch the warm-up video, if you're interested. You're welcome to help your little one through the activities at the same time. If you don't have drums at home, grab a bucket or bowl. If you don't have bells or rattles, make them out of two cups, beans and tape. (Watch out for choke hazards!)
We don't call this class: "Pre-Dance" because we believe dancing is dancing. Have you ever seen a toddler shake it 'till his diaper falls off? That's "dancing" if I've ever seen it. So, during this section, we help elicit the dance moves that are already packed in that tiny container you call your child. We teach them real moves and try to speak whatever movement language each kid needs in order to understand the skills. That often requires the recruitment of stuffed animals, dress-up hats, balls, and hula hoops too!
As one of my Little Bitties says after about 20 minutes of tap dancing class, "Yay, yay! It's time to ballet!" Changing shoes makes a nice, brief water beak. It also gives kids' focus a small reprieve so that they will be even more attentive when their attention span gets to be stretched back on the dance floor. Classes differ weekly, depending on the students present and their dynamic, but we generally begin the ballet segments by reviewing how to properly point and flex, understanding posture and knee placement, what first and second position looks like, how to plie and relive, etc. This is also the time students begin to hear and develop an appreciation for classical music -- one of Mozart's pieces having been proven to improve brain function and intelligence
(according to the MIND Institute.)
We really do want these students to perform in the biannual showcases. Sometimes, the group ages and dynamic disallow for such a goal. But it is great for kids that young to begin learning how to memorize and recall steps, and how to apply strands of things they've learned in a cohesive manner. (Here, that would be learning a dance.) We also learn and practice beginning ballet technique across the floor.
In the CLASSES drop-down menu in the navigation bar above, there are pages hidden to everyone but our paid subscribers and studio members. When you become a subscriber or member, those pages appear and give you access to over 50 multi-class videos. Presently, that includes four that are exclusive to Little Bitties.
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NOTE: TDF class music is used under license from the Zumba Instructors Network, etc.