Forum: Highland / Highland - Teachers Only

Age to start
By highlandinheart
On Wed Apr 26, 2006 04:25 PM

I am just wondering what age you think is a good age to start highland dancing. What age would you turn away?

20 Replies to Age to start

re: Age to start
By highland4ever
On Wed Apr 26, 2006 04:31 PM
I think 4 is the youngest I'd take. I know some teachers that take 2 or 3 years olds, and honestly, I don't think they learn anything that young. If they're not ready for preschool why would they be ready for a dance class.
re: Age to start
By highlandtoes15
On Wed Apr 26, 2006 06:12 PM
I agree with highland4ever about 3 being too young, some kids still are not ready at 5 or 6. They need to be able to concentrate and pay attention for at least 1/2 without the mom or dad having to be there. Every child is different so it really is dependant on the child. After a lesson or two you can tell if it is a waste of your time and the parent's time and money.
re: Age to start
By CNDhighlandmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Apr 26, 2006 06:24 PM
we have one or two dancers that have JUST turned 4, they are really hard to teach anything to, but they are in a class with kids up to 6 so the rest of the class is taught and they just kinda go along with it lol. they are being exposed to it and will pick it up eventually. i think that baller might be a better idea for kids of this age.

the class that i teach is for 6 year olds, we have one 5 year old. and they pick it up okay. but we put them all together because they were picking it up faster than the class above.

so i would say about 4-6 depending on the child.
re: Age to start
By HighlandHottie05member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Apr 26, 2006 06:26 PM
I tought a 2 1/2 year old and a three year old. They didnt really so highland. What we worked on was pointing, timing with fun games, tipy toes, clapping to the beat, and "jumpong over the logs"/pasque de basques
re: Age to start
By highlandchic
On Wed Apr 26, 2006 07:17 PM
My teacher always says that you'd be surprised what three year olds pick up!! They may seem like they have no attention span and not doing too much in class but their brains are like sponges, they are taking everything in. The key is to do fun dances with the basic movements in them, and keep the pace of the class very fast from one thing to another
re: Age to start
By Rockstep
On Wed Apr 26, 2006 08:55 PM
I teach 3 yr olds. And just like HH05 said, they don't really learn dances, just 1st pos, bow and pointing their feet etc. (And lots of games that they don't know are good for their future dancing!) Besides, it's not about being good dancers at that age, it's about having fun in a class, being active and LEARNING TO LOVE DANCE!
re: Age to start
By danceR881
On Thu Apr 27, 2006 05:44 AM
Edited by danceR881 (138537) on 2006-04-27 05:46:37
I think it is a great experience for a 3 year old to take a dance class or a "pre" dance class (as in preschool!!!) It can be a great way to get children active and build there self-confidence. This way if they stay with dancing they will have a great base to build from.

And they are just so cute, I love to watch them and listen to what they have to say!!! Children can have a totally different perspective on dance than the rest of us.
re: Age to start
By highlandlassie
On Thu Apr 27, 2006 06:27 AM
I find the key with the really young ones is to have a group of them to motivate each other. I tried teaching just one three-year-old when I first started dancing - - didn't work so well! :P
re: Age to start
By seiyaferretmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Apr 27, 2006 08:37 AM
My teacher always says it depends on the child. She likes to meet with both the child and the parent before making a decision. Plus she says if there is more than one child approx the same age beginning at a time, then they are more than likely to stick with it than just one child doing it by their self.
re: Age to start
By maureensiobhan
On Thu Apr 27, 2006 09:17 AM
I think age six or seven is about the youngest I'd be willing to take. I don't like to see children between the ages of three and five being taken into a dance studio to start lessons. Some studios accept children as young as two. These children have only just got potty-trained! I know it depends on the individual child, but I just don't think children any younger than six or seven are ready to start the formal training it's going to take if they want to compete. Children between the ages of two to five just don't really have the attention span needed for an hour-long lesson.
re: Age to start
By happyhornpipe
On Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:18 PM
I have to totally disagree there. I see 5yr old primaries while awaiting results, dancing : jigs, hornpipes, steps from nationals like blue bonnets, leap step in ST the list goes on!!
Also a few years back before the age 7 rule, you had Bevin competiting in championships at age 6!!
Definately these dancers had amazing attention spans to be able to do all of this
re: Age to start
By danceR881
On Thu Apr 27, 2006 04:21 PM
I would have to disagree as well. I work with preschool children and they are often more attentive than the older ones. I do limit their class time depending on the group from 30-45 min. rather than a full hour. By the time we have done some warm-up songs, positions and played a few dancing related games the class is done.

As a few of us have stated above it is not about the dancing it is about body awarness, listening and socail skills more than it is about dancing. If you think about it most of these children are in daycares that require then to sit at circles and get involved in group games, it doesn't seem that much different to me.
re: Age to start
By dancin_queenie
On Thu Apr 27, 2006 07:25 PM
Personally I would be willing to take on 3 and 4 year olds to teach, but i wouldn't be teaching them all the techique and dances straight off. Generally the children i teach are very shy or have very very short attention spans and basically for those two years I do a programme with them similar to what someone was describing before it basically consists of basic foot positions, jumping, skipping, learning how to bow and point their toes etc. I believe this gives children the confidence and experience they need before they start learning all the techiques and dances at the age of 5. Sure there are expections for some children and possibly if they were extra ordinary i would conisder that but i havent experienced that yet.

re: Age to start
By mygirlsdancePremium member
On Fri May 05, 2006 01:11 PM
My daughter started when she was 3. She had 2 wonderful teachers and she learned a lot from them. These 2 teachers are still with her class today. She loves them and idolizes them. My other daughter started when she was 3 as well. She ended up laying on the floor the whole year. The 2nd year, I took her to 3 classes and pulled her out again. This year, she's 5 and she's finally into it. She's learning and she wants to dance. The first 2 years, she had the same teacher and I think there was a conflict of personalities. This year, she has a different teacher, (not the same as my first daughter - although she loves these two as well) but this teacher seems to work for her. My daughter likes her and the teacher seems to be better with little ones. I think it all depends on the teacher and how they are with kids.
re: Age to start
By divadancer44
On Thu May 25, 2006 06:50 PM
I usually take ages five and up. It is a pretty good age to start. I once took a three year old but we have hour long lessons and they can't concentrate that long. Another problem is they don't have a lot of balance or jump on one leg, so the class ends up being more of a movement and rhythum class than a Highland class. I agree with most that when they start school they can start dance classes.
re: Age to start
By macthistle
On Fri May 26, 2006 12:54 AM
My youngest daughter,now two will be starting a highland class in the fall.She has always watched her sister dance and loves it!She is always asking to go to dance class with "B".I made her first kilt when she was one week old and she always dresses in her kilts to attend any performance etc.When the music starts she is on the side lines doing her own version! She may be only two but she knows to bow and rise up,positions 1-3,she can recognize music for the fling and tries to do shedding,or music to sword her does a hopping step! She even practices with my older daughter,always starting by doing the butterfly or frog.
If a child has an interest it is better to nurture it and let them develope.Everychild is different most 2-3 yr old can handle a 1/2 hr class.

Hats off to the teacher who interviews and makes decisions based one the child not the age!
re: Age to start
By dancin_queenie
On Thu Jun 01, 2006 05:58 PM
Funny you should say that, because I am currently teaching a 3 year old in my learner class. The rest of the girls are 4 or 5 and they are twice her height. Her older sister dances and she just idolizes her.. she can handle a 1/2 hour class maybe even more but i dont push her and let her do her own thing but she is picking up things far quicker than the other girls! Its very pleasing for me as a teacher! Shes just sooo cute aswell!!
re: Age to start
By TwinkleToez207member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Fri Jul 28, 2006 08:50 PM
I think it depends on each child. I think that three is an okay age to start at but not for everyone. I started at three because I was always dancing around and my parents wanted to give me something to do with my energy. At my studio we also have these tapes that run classes for preschoolers and the kids have no problems with them at all. Ive seen kids start dance at 2 as well, but most studios in my area accept at 3.
Hats off
By hilndmom
On Fri Jul 28, 2006 09:08 PM
My daughter's teacher is amazing and makes it so much fun. Her Tartan Tot group , is usually ages 3 and 4. My daughter started when she was 4.5 and at 9 loves to dance still.

The teacher's daughter has been in classes since, literally, birth when she sat in a car seat or bouncy chair while her mom taught. She is a very good little dancer who is already working her open highcuts at 5 yrs old.
age to start
By highlandhezzie
On Wed Aug 02, 2006 07:09 PM
I just did a week long daily dance class "camp" for interested students and my tartan tots class had three 3 year olds and a 5 year old. I was amazed when 2 of the 3 year olds had more focus, more strength and more interest than the 5 year old. It really does depend on the child.


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