s a little girl my favorite thing to do was dance. In fact, I began dancing at 4 or 5 at my nursery school that had an informal program for kindergarteners. From there I joined a credentialed dance school in my area that I loved! This is where my passion was ignited. The diligence, focus and commitment to perfect a craft was so obvious by the fellow studio dancers. In addition to my Saturday dance classes, I also was featured in local talent showcases, various drill/step teams and even cheerleading; needless to say, its in Bella’s genes.
In 4th grade we had to complete a project on our desired career path and I vividly remember wanting to be a choreographer, struggling to spell the word choreographer, but crystal-clear on the end goal. In the era of MTV Jams, TRL and BET’s the Basement; fascination about the next music video was at an all time high. Id watch, learn, practice and repeat until it stuck. I was so specific with my vision I recall listing who I wanted my mentor to be (Fatima Robinson – the beloved choreographer for Aaliyah) and ultimately claiming my dream job as a staffed dancer for Janet Jackson – aim high, right??! That chapter in my life led me to want to expose my future children to the arts.
With my love and passion for all genres of dance I set out last summer to find a dance program for Bellamy. What I learned was that a majority of dance schools actually don’t have a curriculum for 2 year olds, most programs start at 3 or 4. This was frustrating to say the least, but I kept digging and found a school in our area that did have a class for the 2 age group and actually had a curriculum that focused on the basics of dance; as opposed to just free “movement”. We found a school with a long history and track-record, plus passion for building little dancers through foundational learnings and fun.
Fast forward through juggling Saturday dance class among our busy family schedule all fall and spring to her spring recital day! The theme for this years’ show was “Fairy Tales & Bedtime Stories”, Bellamy’s group performed a number to the 1994 literary fairy tale; Thumbelina. The little girls and boys looked adorable in their costumes and makeup.
This past weekend was nothing short of amazing! Our ‘village’ showed up and out for our girl. Bellamy did not know who was traveling from near or far to witness her introduction into performing arts but once folks began to arrive the night before was when it hit her of who would be in the audience the next day.
If you’re looking for dance options for your little one(s), my Top 3 Tips to keep in your consideration set would be:
1. Make sure the school has a track record – either the center and/or staff. They should have professional experience and be qualified to work with children. Create your own criteria based on what you feel comfortable with.
2. Observation rooms are not always the best thing as they can act as a huge distraction to the children (especially the toddler ages) but I would say ensure the school allows parents time throughout the season to come and observe your child’s progress.
3. Diversity is key! I loved that Bellamy’s school had boy and girl students in some of their classes. They even had an all boy performance!
Check out some pictures & a clip from the recital day. We got a superstar on our hands!