What is Your Child Actually Learning in Dance Class?

Sometimes at KADC, we get questions about what our dancers are actually learning in the classroom. Are the kids just playing games? Are they practicing for exams? Are they learning new techniques?

KaliAndrews Dance Company is an educational facility, and one of our primary goals is to promote a focused learning environment.

Here are a few Frequently Asked Questions that we hope will give you a better idea of what’s happening in your child’s dance class.

1. What’s the difference between Term 1 and Term 2?

In Term 1, the dancers are taught the steps and techniques laid out in the syllabus for their dance style and grade level (according to The British Association of Teachers of Dancing). This is also where students learn the exam content required for BATD Dance Exams.

In Term 2, students continue to master the techniques taught in the previous semester, and learn to incorporate these techniques into choreography for our annual year-end Recital, held at the Canadian Museum of History.

2. Can new students still join in Term 2?

Yes, of course! Our instructors and assistants will still be reviewing syllabus techniques with the dancers in Term 2, even as they begin working on choreography. KaliAndrews Dance Company accepts new dancers up until the last day of February (Little Steps and Adult dancers can register as late as April).

3. What are dance exams?

You can read all about dance examinations in detail on our Dance Blog here.

4. My child isn’t taking the exam. Should he/she still be attending class?

Yes, absolutely! It is important for all dancers to learn and sustain the syllabus content, regardless of their intention to take the exam. This is the foundation and technique that they progress with each year as they advance their skills.

Students who are not participating in the exam will still be working on these techniques, as our focus is to sustain a good understanding of these skills in order to move up to the next grade/level.

5. What is my child actually learning?

Dancers are being taught from the BATD Syllabus. Here are a just few examples of what some of our students are working on:

* Little Steps (Age 3-4): Little Steps dancers are not yet working from the syllabus, however they are being introduced to basic skills from dance styles such as ballet (learning to point their toes, learning the basic plié movement), acro (somersaults, handstands at the wall and basic bridge position with assistance) and creative movement (musicality, team-building skills, co-operation and dexterity are covered in each lesson). Click here to see our Little Steps dancers perform on stage during recital. 

* Grade 1 Ballet (Age 8): In Grade 1 Ballet the students learn techniques such as grand plié, grand battement, petit jeté, posé, and temps levé, just to name a few. Students are also introduced to spotting and basic pirouette techniques, as well as sautés, changements and grand jetés. All techniques and steps from previous grades are carried throughout the class to ensure proper form and understanding of the ballet fundamentals.

Students begin expanding their ballet basics by being introduced to foot strengthening exercises and terminology. It is important for students to build proper alignment and technical elements before entering into more advanced grades. Click here to see our Grade 1 ballet students perform on stage during recital.

* Grade 3 Acro (Age 10): In Grade 3 Acro, the students are continuing to improve their tricks by learning new advancements, variations and combinations such as head balance from standing as well as multiple variations of cartwheels, back bends and splits. The students will continue to develop their strength and flexibility to help them improve the alignment of each movement and to have better control while executing new balances (such as elbow balance). The young acrobats will develop their motor and spatial awareness skills to be able to achieve a higher level of difficulty presented at the Grade 4 Acro level. Click here to see a competitive acro trio, age 10.

* Grade 4 Jazz (Age 11): The students are mastering double and triple pirouettes, piqués, continuous chainé turns, pressure turns, sail turns and multiple variations of the above. The dancers will continue to develop their jetés, battements (forward, side and backward) across the floor and refinine the techniques and steps taught within the previous grades. These are all important requirements that dancers need to master before they transition into the new skills that are introduced in the Grade 5 Jazz class. Click here to see a competitive jazz group, age 12.

We hope the above examples give you a better idea of what goes on in your child’s class behind the curtains, and we’re so excited to show you what our wonderful dancers have been working on at our upcoming Annual Recital at the Canadian Museum of History in June. Important dates, including Recital, are available to you online here at all times, and detailed information about the show will be sent out in the spring.

In the meantime, we invite you to browse our YouTube Channel and our Facebook page here for tons of awesome videos of our dancers. As always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.