- Transitioning to Tap
- Should I buy tap shoes?
- New Classes
- This month’s curriculum focus
What are the performances like?
Our performances are fun, stress free events that we have tried to perfect over the years. They are as age-appropriate as we can make them. They are short, roughly 25-30min in length, and your dancers are on stage for about 20min. The performances are structured much like class time. The kids follow a teacher, and in this case, there will be multiple teachers on stage to help guide them through the performance. There will also be on guest dancer that the students will get to watch in between their featured dance and the encore.
How do you think my dancer will do on stage?
We would love to know this too! Having watched over 5 years of performances we can safely tell you that the majority of kids will go on stage, dance, and leave feeling very happy and proud of their achievement. It’s a big step for them and we know it’s a big deal for you as well. Having said that kids can be unpredictable. Some of our students that are the most outgoing students in class and like to lead the group will go on stage and freeze. Sometimes the kids that are really quiet and shy in class will go on stage and be front and center with a big smile on their face. So it’s tough to tell.
One of our favorite stories
This story has happened with more than one student, and we love seeing it when it happens. There was one boy in particular who froze on stage a his first performance. The parent’s were not sure if the performances were the right thing for him after their first experience. However they stuck with it and continued with dance classes. He froze at his second performance, and his third performance. It was strange because he loved the classes and did very well in them. The parents stuck by their guns and sent him back for his fourth try. He did AWESOME! Front and center, smiling, and loving the performance. His mom was emotional and cried after the performance, she was so proud of him for not giving up. We were proud of her for the same reason, it’s not easy making that decision, but she knew he could do it. The moral of the story being, just because your dancer doesn’t do well this time doesn’t mean they are not meant to be on stage or that they are not interested in dance. Being on stage can take some getting used to for kids, and if you stick with it you will be rewarded with a memory you will never forget.
Remember that the point of these performances is to expose the kids to being on stage, performing in front of crowds, to show you what they have been learning, but mostly TO HAVE FUN! It’s okay if they freeze or forget the steps. As long as they have fun it will be a successful performance.
These changes will apply only to our Wednesday 2pm class and our Saturday 12:45pm class. All dance and performance classes are not affected by these changes.
We have some exciting changes to announce this year for our Basic Ballet Technique class which will soon be renamed to “Intro to Ballet”. These mark the first major improvements we have made to the “Level-Up” classes since we have added them to our schedule. Our Level-Up classes are for school age kids ages 5-7. Most of our focus over the years has been on developing curriculum for our preschool classes, and now we have made our first big step towards developing a school age curriculum. This will help distinguish our Dance & Performance classes from our Level-Up classes and create a sense of progression towards a more structured class. It will also help prepare your dancer for their next dance studio when they graduate from Small Fry Dance Club.
We know a lot of the parents have been waiting for this moment, so we are pleased to announce these changes will be effective immediately. The schedule for the older dancers will now resemble a more traditional studio schedule that has them preparing for a Spring recital each year.
To view a detailed schedule of what the ballet dancers will be learning please visit our curriculum page. There you will find what the dancers will be learning each month as well as a rough outline of the plan for the spring performance.
If you have any questions about the curriculum or the new required dress code please contact our office any time. Thank you.
Always trying to improve,
Jana, Carlos, and the Small Fry Staff.
Small Fry Dance Club: Winner of Bay Area Parent’s Gold Medal for Best Dance Studio in 2011 & 2012.
We will be hosting a “Back to Dance” event to celebrate back to school season. Come join us on August 25 at 3:15pm and set-up your fall activities schedule. We are opening our studio for you to come in and meet our owners and staff. Ask questions, check out the space, register for classes or sign up for a free trial class. This is a free, no pressure event.
We will have drinks and snacks and stick around afterwards for a FREE kids concert by singer/songwriter Amy Liz. www.amylizkids.com
This is a fun, free event for the whole family.
PS: Can’t dance at our studio but still have a preschooler that wants to dance? Swing by and we can talk about how to bring our dance program to your child’s preschool! If you can’t wait for our event, that’s okay too! We run year round, give us a call today. 650-393-5593 or visit our website www.SmallFryDanceCub.com
Dance is an excellent way for your child to stay active and healthy. In addition, dance develops discipline and offers children a creative means for expressing their emotions, an opportunity that is not offered through general academics or athletics.
Perfect Even for tiny dancers
Young children have a natural appreciation for music and dancing. Dance offers an excellent opportunity to explore their interest and develop confidence as they perform at center stage. And, more than typical structured sports programs, it is safe to dance at a young age. Your child will enjoy twirling and jumping away all their extra energy.
Builds Strong, Healthy Bodies
Dancing helps children build strong, healthy bodies by improving overall fitness, strength, and flexibility. It is a very physical activity and can burn as many calories as swimming or biking. A half hour of dance burns 200-400 calories! In addition, dance builds muscle strength as it requires controlled movements which demand a dancer to resist his or her own body weight for sustained periods of time. Leaping and jumping are both great ways to strengthen young legs. Finally, dance enhances flexibility through stretching and movement.
In fact, dance techniques are used to train professional athletes. Dance helps athletes develop and strengthen smaller muscle groups to better avoid injury. In addition, improved ankle and foot flexibility gained from dance boosts an athlete’s agility on the field or court.
An Appropriate Emotional Outlet
Children often struggle to understand and express their emotions in an appropriate manner. Through dance and creative movement, a child is taught to move like they are “excited” or “angry”. As they get older kids learn they can use dance as a non-verbal means of expressing how they feel. At every stage, dance offers children an effective outlet and helps them manage their emotions. Dance also offers children a way to gain praise for expressing themselves. Of course, the praise a child receives for expressing themselves leads to greater self esteem and confidence in all aspects of the child’s life.
As children grow and continue their involvement in dance, they also learn the importance of discipline. Older dancers practice several times per week and must perform the same skills repeatedly to master the proper movement and form. Through dance, students learn first-hand the importance of hard work and persistence.
By Rachael Carnes
Every person can learn from dancing. Not everyone will grow up to perform dramatic leaps in a corps de ballet or to shuffle off to Buffalo with the Rockettes, but every child deserves the opportunity to dance. For babies and toddlers, creative movement offers a range of experiences that facilitate natural, easy play and proper development of alignment, neurological coordination and a fundamental exploration of baseline concepts that are the building blocks for future learning. For preschoolers, children about 2 1/2 to four, movement play in a creative dance setting can help to provide an essential educational experience. Through movement, songs, games and rhymes, children not only flex their muscles as they gain strength and endurance, but they challenge themselves emotionally and cognitively as well.
Creative dance for small children approaches many ways of learning. Inherently kinesthetic, a solid creative dance class should be appealing to both boys and girls, offering ample opportunity to hop, bound, run, dive, leap, jump, turn, kick, and stretch. Kids, of course, love to move. As an educational model, dance uses rhythm, honing children’s aural skills, and giving them a chance to approach conceptual ideas through their bodies. Creative dance also relies on linguistic play like rhymes and games that involve the use of fun new language and vocabulary. Academically speaking, in a ten-week session of creative dance for preschoolers, your child can and should be exposed to most of the basic academic bases they’ll climb to in their elementary education. But they’ll tackle these new ideas not through tests and standards, but through fun, playful and engaging activities.
When children dance together, something amazing happens. Creative dance is a tremendous learning modality for the individual, but what’s thrilling to see as a teacher and parent is the way children begin to embrace new ideas that foster community building and social connections. Under the care of a dedicated teacher, even the tiniest dancers can look at and appreciate each other’s choreographic efforts, applaud each other’s determination and zeal and work together to solve problems. While they’re just having a great time singing and dancing and being silly, they’re also addressing important meta-cognitive learning needs. Simply put, these small dancers can begin to see the differences in the way they think and feel compared to other people, to accept and celebrate these differences, and to have the necessary vocabulary to sort out their experiences. This level of objectivity about other people is something that will serve any child well as he or she encounters the larger classes and variety of experiences that loom in early educational experiences. The creative dance method offers children and their caregivers tools for learning for a lifetime.
As with any enriching educational activity, consistency is key. You and your child can play at the pool once or twice over the course of a few months, and have a great time. But if your goal is to have your child become safe and comfortable in the water, you’re probably going to want to take regular lessons. That’s why it’s recommended that children be involved in a regular creative dance class, so they can get to know the teacher and his/her classmates, so they have the chance to build on the conceptual vocabulary that has been worked with in previous weeks and so they can gain a greater understanding of the material. But most importantly, consistency and the repetition and affirmation it affords will provide your child with a wider launch pad for their own creativity both in and out of class.
Here are a few of the benefits of Creative Dance for preschoolers:
- Increased body awareness, kinesthetic comfort and ease
- Improved alignment, flexibility and neurological patterning
- Emotional and social growth and development
- Greater self-esteem and autonomy
- Linguistic and aural (listening) skills enhanced
- Beginning understanding of academics such as math, reading, spelling and science
- Approaches ‘classroom skills’ necessary for school experiences, such as taking turns, following directions, listening, sharing and communicating needs and feelings
- Develops an early creative spark in individuals and groups
For more information on the benefits of dance and other art forms on early childhood education, please refer to this website’s links to other organizations dedicated to improving children’s learning experiences.
By Pam Gelman, M.A.
Does your preschooler have a full schedule? What’s the right type and amount of extracurricular activity?
Some preschoolers are happiest with schedules full to the brim with planned activities, while others may need more time for imaginary play or just watching butterflies. Though many children have the stamina for activities outside of preschool, you’ll want to allow for learning through downtime at home or spontaneous play in the neighborhood. Consider how many extracurricular activities per week you should schedule that will satisfy natural interests and support learning without exhausting or overwhelming your preschool-age child.
Start with your child’s interests. Does she like to dance or sing? A preschool music class might engage her, But depending on her temperament and openness to new experiences, extracurricular classes can be an opportunity to introduce her to new types of activities. For a child who is shy or slow to warm to new situations, consider signing her up with a friend to ease the transition to a new activity.
“Get as many recommendations as possible and find out if you can sit in one time before committing yourselves. I think it’s pretty easy to get a feel for the place,” advises Lauren Wohl-Sanchez, a mother of two in Oakland, Calif.
Music classes are appropriate for very young children, even before starting preschool. They are generally facilitated by a teacher/musician who plays an instrument and encourages students to sing or play along with kid-safe instruments. It’s an opportunity to help active youngsters learn about sitting in a circle and participating in a group while listening to music. Some children participate simply by observing. Others feel comfortable banging on drums or belting out songs with their peers.
A basic sports or movement class helps little ones move their bodies and build coordination. Some sports programs are devoted to more serious skill building. It’s a good idea to check whether the class will be devoted to skill-building games or more-unstructured play using sports-related equipment. Classes that focus on games with instructions, teams and rules may frustrate younger preschoolers who are not yet able to follow along. Rae Pica, an author and children’s physical activity specialist in Center Barnstead, N.H., cautions, “Children start life with a love of movement. We don’t want to squash that by enrolling them in activities when they aren’t developmentally ready. If parents notice other preschoolers doing a skill that their children aren’t yet, don’t worry. They’ll do it when they are ready and catch up to their peers quickly.”
Dance is another activity that can start at a young age. Besides ballet, modern and tap, there are classes in more-ethnic dance styles, such as Indian, urban dance or hip-hop. In addition to building strong muscles and coordination skills, dance may satisfy young children’s interest in dramatic play by allowing them to use props and have performances. And by no means is dance just for girls, as more boys are participating in these classes.
If you’re looking for an activity to build fine motor skills and inspire creativity, consider an art class. These courses provide the supplies for either a free-choice art experience or a specific type of art, for example, ceramics or painting. No matter the type of instruction, art classes support the development of fine motor skills through holding and using a marker, molding clay or leaning to sew. And for kids who enjoy sensory experiences, there’s plenty of opportunity for messy, hands-on projects, which parents will appreciate occurring in the classroom rather than at home.
If kids are rested and able to focus on the activity, then learning occurs in several ways.
In a group setting, kids learn about working with others. They listen and watch how other children problem-solve. Any extracurricular activity will involve using the body and practicing motor skills, whether it’s a big movement such as jump-roping or a smaller one like beading a necklace. Catching a ball or listening to a guitar will trigger new connections in brain development.
How much learning happens if preschool-age children are tired? And why the hurry to start classes and develop skills at such a young age? Parents are often eager to start their kids in activities to get a leg up on developing skills. Pica notes, “Often parents sign up their preschoolers for too many activities. I suggest one at a time.”
Looking back on her daughter’s experience outside of preschool, Wohl-Sanchez adds, “It was much more important to me that she was having fun, getting exercise and making friends at that age than learning a new skill that she’d stick with.”
Besides the potential exhaustion of overscheduled preschoolers, parents and caregivers should consider the logistics and expenses of driving to and paying for these classes. Once kids are enrolled in elementary school, scheduling becomes more complicated with homework, playdates, band, sports or tutoring. So the preschool years are a good opportunity to allow children to enjoy unscheduled time too.
One way to have social interactions with other kids and participate in more unstructured, spontaneous play is through a playgroup. Weekly playdates, held at alternating houses or a local park, give young children the same opportunities to stretch their legs, work with others and have fun. Depending on the setting, they can be geared to a specific type of play — sports, music or art — or truly spontaneous and left up to the kids to decide what to do.
Playgroups give parents opportunities to socialize and compare notes on the many questions that come up when raising preschoolers, including how and where to find quality extracurricular activities for their children when they are ready.
By Pam Gelman, M.A.
Small Fry Dance Club - June 2012 Performance - 4pm Show
These are kids from our Saturday 9am group. They are all 4-6 years of age and have been with us for at least 2 years. They were the guest performers at the 4pm show and pulled double duty performing in the Hip Hop piece in the 5pm show. Great job dancers! We will post more pictures and videos as we have them available.
Congratulations to all the dancers that participated in the June 2012 Hip Hop Performance. You all did an amazing job! The teachers, staff, and all the parents are very proud of you. It is always great to see all the progress the kids make in class and how that culminates at our performances. We had a blast with Hip Hop, thank you for the great memories.
As Spring comes to a close it is time to plan ahead for our next performance rotation. The focus for our next performance piece will be Ballet. The teachers and staff are working hard on choosing a song and developing the start of the choreography. We will begin implementing it over the next few weeks.
We will email all families with information for the fall/winter performance sometime in the August/September time frame.
We are open on Saturday May 26, and Sunday May 27. We will be closed on Monday May 28 in observance of Memorial Day. We will re-open on Tuesday May 29. This is for both our preschool and studio locations. Thank you, and have a great weekend!