Beginner Dance and Gymnastics Classes on the Main Line
Need a starter’s ballet class that’s still on pointe? A beginner’s gymnastics class that can stick the landing? Try these local schools to help your little mover and shaker into a class they will love.
If your fantasies include your child becoming prima ballerina at the Pennsylvania Ballet, earning an Olympic gold medal, or simply finding an activity that they enjoy, it is probably time to start considering beginner dance or gymnastics classes.
Opportunities abound for these types of classes: professional dance studios that have children’s programs, dance schools focused on teaching young ones, gymnastics centers that cater to all levels, or your local YMCA or community center. Summer dance and gymnastic camps are available annually and longer programs begin again in the fall. So grab that leotard on sale at Target and get your little star on the barre. Just don’t forget the camera.
If your little dancer is preschool aged, many dance studios and schools offer classes designed to introduce children to dance movement and rhythm. Once age six and above, the possibilities expand and your child can enroll in a variety of classes in ballet, jazz, modern, hip hop, and more.
Local studios that offer classes for children include Dancexpress in Narberth, First Position Dance Arts in Ardmore, Movements in Motion in Havertown, Napoli School of Music and Dance in Ardmore, Philadelphia Dance Academy in Wynnewood, Philadelphia Studio Ballet in Haverford, Studio 180 in Paoli, Upbeat Dance Center in Narberth, Contempra Dance in Wayne, and Wayne Ballet & Center for Dance Arts.
If you’d rather not commit to a full year of classes, try the Haverford Community and Recreation Center’s six-week ‘Dancing Tots’ class for 2-4 year olds.
For your budding gymnast, beginner classes start at ages 3-5. Classes at the youngest levels focus on basic skills and help develop balance, flexibility, and coordination. Instruction may include tumbling, rolls, and use of gymnastics equipment like the balance beam, bars, rings, and trampoline. Gymnastics schools such as Kehler’s Gymnastics Centers in Broomall, The Little Gym in Narberth, Philadelphia Gymnastics Center in West Conshohocken, and Upper Merion Dance & Gymnastics Center in King of Prussia provide programs that match the physical abilities of each age group.
With so many options, it’s smart to stop and think a bit about your child, their skill level, and the reason you’re enrolling. Do you want to enroll in a long program, or just something to test the waters? What type of dance is your child interested in, now and perhaps down the road? Are you ready to make the financial investment needed for a full program (costs for dance classes, for example, can include not only tuition, but dance wear, costumes, and performance fees)? Do you want the school to focus on fun, or on training and competition? Deciding what type of experience you and your child are seeking will help you narrow the field of potential providers.
No matter what you choose, know that even a few simple lessons can make an impact. A 2013 report written by the National Dance Education Organization associates six major benefits with the study of dance, including reading and language skills, mathematics skills, thinking skills, social skills, motivation to learn, and positive school environment. Helping your child find a dance or gymnastics program will not only help them develop new skills, but will help grow body confidence and abilities that can last a lifetime. And yes… deliver countless adorable photo ops.