Starting Your Child In Dance: Questions Answered By DK Dance

Dena Botticelli grew up in Webster, NY and studied Early Childhood Education and Dance. It was always her passion to own a studio and share dance with others. DK Dance is now celebrating its 20th Anniversary! I visited DK Dance to talk with Dena about what moms should consider when thinking about starting their child in dance.

Dance can be so much fun for children, but what are the benefits of dance for a young child?

“There are so many benefits. Dance enhances cognitive behavioral learning. Children 6 and under are learning about movement and dance, spatial awareness, listening and taking direction, self-control, breathing, gross motor skills. These are all skills that help them outside of the dance studio.”

How young can children start dancing?

“Children used to start dance at about 3 years old, but here at DK Dance we started classes for toddlers and Mommy & Me classes which are very popular and beneficial for kids.”

As we were talking, it was almost time for the morning Mommy & Me class and moms with babies were filing into the front waiting area. I asked a mom how she has seen the class help her daughter.

“I’m so glad we have had this class. She’s just able to communicate so much through her body and confident in her movement. At the playground, she is not afraid to try new things and she has great spatial reasoning. She also just has so much fun in the class.”

After the Mommy & Me classes, there is Toddler Movement with an introduction to dance with basic form and arm placement for ballet. At 2 and a half years old, dancers can start Little Movers classes where they learn about tap dancing, tumbling or acro and hip hop. Children at school age levels are more structured and focus on one type of dance – ballet, tap, jazz, acro and musical theatre.

“The classes are catered to what they want to do, meeting each child’s learning style,” says Dena.

What programs are offered to older children?

“Older dancers have the option of coming to their classes for continued dance education or taking the next steps into more intensive training which is our Apprentice and Company program. It’s a lot of hard work and those students are here several times each week. They are learning more than just dance though. We talk about what winning means – that it’s not the trophy but it’s the accomplishment of group progress. It’s about seeing where you were and where you are and lifting each other up.”

What should a parent consider when starting their child in dance at a studio?

“As a parent, these are some questions I think I would ask when enrolled in a dance studio for my child:

1. Environment: Is it a family friendly supportive, positive, and encouraging environment? Is there a waiting room for parents? 

2. Instructors: are the teachers skilled and equipped to nurture, inspire, and instruct all types and ages of learners?

3. Class Offerings and Levels: is there a variety of dance styles for the child’s interests? Also, is there a progression of classes and programs so the dancer can grow and be challenged within the dance studio.

4. Performance Opportunities: What types of performances does the studio offer? Recitals, other performance events and competitions, can be important for your child’s dance education, providing goals to work towards and opportunities to build confidence. 

5.Committments and Logistics: You must consider the studio location, class times and costs associated with the classes. What is the time frame of the class? How long do the sessions last? What additional options/fees may be involved?”

“A child can start to dance at any age, especially when there are multiple class options and styles to pick from. Taking advantage of Free Trials or pop-up classes is a great idea, so the child gets a feel for what a class is like, the parent can get a feel for the environment and community, and you can ask any other questions that come up.” 

After 20 years of having your own dance studio, what are you most proud of?

“I’m proud of this studio because we have a great community of compassionate families here. We have a great team of teachers who don’t see this as a job. They do it for the love of it. And here at DK Dance, we go all year. There’s always options. We give everyone an opportunity. DK Dance is a place for all children to grow.”

805 Ridge Rd, Webster, NY 14580
DK Dance is located on Ridge Rd at Five Mile Line Rd in Webster. DK Dance offers classes, camps and birthday parties. Check out their website to learn about their free trial classes. Registration is now open for summer classes that start July 8.

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Jackie R.
Jackie is the Founder of Rochester Mom Collective. She grew up in Ohio and moved to California to work in film where she had lots of adventures on movie sets. She met her husband in Hollywood and they moved to the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after getting married. In San Francisco, Jackie found work at a medical clinic where she gathered parenting resources for new moms in need. After being on the West Coast for fifteen years, they moved with their three children to the Rochester area to be near family. Jackie has operated her own photography business, Jackie Rutan Photography, for ten years. Jackie enjoys her quality time with friends and family, fellowshipping at her church and drinking iced coffee.