The moment you thought about enrolling your toddler in a dance class, the first thing you consider is the type of dance. There’s ballet, hip-hop, creative, and jazz dance. It’s important that whatever you choose, it’s within your child’s best interest and abilities. There’s no point in sending your kid on a ballet class if he or she loves hip-hop or jazz. On the same note, you can’t help but ask, is a jazz dance class best for my toddler?
Jazz is the modern version of the ballet. It’s the product of different dance influences that started in the early 1900s. Although jazz can be a classical dance, contemporary takes on this make it appealing even for the younger generations. It uses upbeat songs that will surely engage the attention of your little one. A jazz dance class is filled with leaps, kicks, sideways, shuffling, and shoulder rolling. It’s an excellent choice to channel all the energy of your toddler toward a fun activity.
But knowing whether it suits your child can be tricky. Here, I’ve listed some points why jazz can be the best choice for your child together with some caveats:
How does jazz dance benefit my child?
Like any other dance classes, jazz has its own share of benefits to give to your child. While there are similarities, there’s something unique about jazz that you may love:
Coordination of movement
Unlike ballet where the child gets to move slowly, jazz has a faster pace with movements from the lower and upper body. While the feet shuffle, the arms are doing some hand kicks at the same time. This improves your child’s movement coordination and balance. Agility is another thing here since jazz is an upbeat dance and keeping up with the music is one of the thrills. So is a jazz dance class best for my toddler? It might be.
Coordination would surely be awkward at first, but this is exactly the point why you would prefer jazz. It will help your toddler overcome that lack of coordination. Soon enough, you’ll notice the change in their everyday movement like walking or performing some home tasks.
Don’t worry; jazz classes for toddlers are a bit toned down than what you actually think. The steps are made simpler and the teacher would surely slow down. Besides, your kid is just starting out.
Mimics some sporty moves
A lot of kids aren’t into sports. I, for one, suck at every sport I tried when I was a little kid. If you want to make your child physically active without forcing him or her to do any sport, you can use jazz dance as an alternative. There are jazz steps that mimic some steps in sports including hand kicks and footwork. With that, your child will benefit without experiencing the pressure of playing a game.
However, this doesn’t mean you’re going to send the toddler to daily classes. Make sure that you find a studio that schedules the sessions in between days to avoid exhausting the child. This will keep his or her interest in the routine while keeping him or her excited for the class.
Is a jazz dance class best for my toddler? Jazz is an excellent option to stay away from competition between parents and other kids. Still, it’s important to choose the right studio to avoid this from happening.
Allows music appreciation
If there’s one component of a jazz class that stands out the most, it would be the music. The structure of jazz music is complex, upbeat, and rich. Introducing your child into this genre will help other areas of learning including speech and reading.
A lot of studies have proven that listening to classical music benefits the brain of young kids. However, it’s not only just about the type of music. It’s more of the instruments used and the beat of the song that will impact the child even more. Nowadays, the market is flooded with peppy songs with fake instrument sounds and poorly recorded audio just because it would be used for kids.
Again, this part will also depend on the preference of your child. But as far as I know, toddlers are like sponges. They absorb what they are exposed to. If you start them early with jazz, they are surely going to love it.
Room for improvisation
For the most part, jazz is loved by many due to the improvisation freedom it gives. The same thing goes for dancing classes. So is a jazz dance class best for my toddler? Well, it will allow your child to use his or her imagination and creativity to express him or herself. Jazz have very unique techniques from other typical dances. It’s focused on space, time, and rhythm that even three-year-olds are going to pick up.
I know this sounds too “grownup”. But once you set foot on the studio and see your little one grooving, you’ll know what I mean. Some teachers will allow the children to warm up on the dance style by letting them show their own moves without restriction.
Jazz dance is a good way to see the potential in your child for future dance classes. It can also be a springboard to other technical classes or professional ones in the coming years.
Best cardio routine
To be honest, making toddlers break a sweat isn’t really hard. They keep on jumping and running around the house. But this activity doesn’t offer any benefit aside from making them tired at the end of the day. Like what I said earlier, jazz is an upbeat dance. It’s a good form of exercise for kids without them knowing it. The best part is they get to have fun while pumping up some cardio on the side.
Jazz takes effort due to its aerobic nature. Aside from getting their heart rate up, it will boost their physical stamina, bone strength, and stability. There will no longer be any forcing to take a jog in the morning.
Is a jazz dance class best for my toddler? Enrolling your child in a dance class is an excellent way to distract him or her from spending endless hours on mobile gadgets. Kids tend to have strong attachments to their routines. After the dance class, they would likely keep twirling and shuffling around the house.
Step sequences, timing, and movement use more than one area of the brain. The more that this is exercised and performed, the more that your child’s memory is improving. This is more effective and enjoying to do than forcing them to answer puzzles or to spend time on the mobile phone watching Peppa Pig in different languages.
Dancing jazz will also enhance their concentration. Some kids tend to challenge themselves by nailing a certain move. Also, classes like this will help your child reduce stress from playschool. It’s an excellent way to expose them to more environments while they are young. So aside from making them smart, it jazz will also enhance their social skills.
Social intelligence is a crucial form of knowledge that your child can develop. They will be using it a lot as they grow up and meet new people.
Why not other dances?
Of course, all dances are great for kids. But it depends on their abilities and inclination. You simply can’t expect an energetic toddler to thrive in a much-disciplined ballet class. More likely, you’ll enroll him or her in hip-hop or jazz. Is a jazz dance class best for my toddler? The point here is you have the freedom to choose the dance that you want for your kid.
Still, you can encourage them to be interested in jazz (just in case you’re really bent about it). Pick a jazz music they can relate to, but don’t be too classical. The catchier the sound is the better. But if they want you to turn it off, just do so. You may not succeed at first, but you can always try with another song in the next days.
Also, don’t overexplain the thing to your kid. Toddlers have short attention spans and if you keep bugging them about the dance, they might loathe the activity.
What age is the best time for jazz?
If there are rugby classes for three-year-olds, I can say that starting your kid on jazz isn’t really restricted on his or her age. As long as he or she can stand and follow some instructions, you can bet on a studio near you. Just take note that every dance class will have an age requirement, but I’m sure you can find one that accommodates toddlers and babies.
Aside from the age, knowing when to start your kid on such a dance will depend on his or her personality. There are kids that can focus even at a young age while there are some who can’t. It’s a matter of finding out how well your kid can respond to instructions and stay in the mood while on the class. So is a jazz dance class best for my toddler? Wait, it’s also about you.
Figuring out the right timing for jazz class also boils down to your availability as a parent. If you’re a working parent, you’ll likely prefer classes during your rest days. If there’s a younger baby in the house, you may want to wait until that little one grows a little more before sending the other to the studio.
How is the progression of this dance?
Regardless if you take jazz dance classes as a leisure or competitive activity for your child, it’s a good way to prep him or her for more dances in the future. Jazz dance for toddlers will be instructed to kids as an individual. But as they grow up and master the basics, they will be paired with other children. Recitals and examinations may also take place depending on the class you chose. This part can both be advantageous and disadvantageous for your toddler. Always decide with them in mind.
Remember that jazz classes don’t end in the studio. Teachers expect the kids to practice at home so they can catch up on the next session. As a parent, it’s your job to take over as the instructor and monitor your child. It’s all part of the jazz progression since the step sequences can become pretty complex in the future. At some point, getting your child to practice at home can be a pain in the presence of distractions – TV, gadgets, and more.
How long would a class last?
The duration of a jazz class will vary per studio and program. For toddlers, it’s unlikely that it will stretch for more than one hour per session. As much as possible, teachers would like to keep it brief to preserve the enthusiasm of the child. For beginner classes, it’s usually 30-minute long and could be extended up to a full hour as the program progresses. So is a jazz dance class best for my toddler? In such a short class, I think it would be excellent.
Aside from the time in the studio, the dance instructor would also recommend that your child practices at home for 30 minutes every day.
If you’re thinking about how long it would be for your child to learn jazz, it would be a case to case basis. Some kids learn fast while others tend to warm up a little longer.
Is it affordable?
A lot of parents base their choice of dance on the pricing. It’s totally okay, and if you’re wondering how much jazz dance classes will cost, it might be around $75 to $125 per month. Prices will vary depending on the type of studio, location, and type of program.
Aside from this upfront fee, you’ll also have to spend on dance clothes and shoes. Leotards can cost as much as $50 while jazz shoes can be more expensive at $95. Take note: all dances will require a specific set of attire. Buying dance clothes online can be pricier than getting it from a local shop. Also, you may want to ask if the studio sells the clothes.
After reading this, ask yourself again: is a jazz dance class best for my toddler?