Our children’s dance program is specifically designed to provide boys and girls between the ages of 2 1/2 and 8 with a strong foundation in dance and movement. Our focus is on the basic elements of:
- Physical space and how we relate to it as an individual and a group member
- Locomotor and non-locomotor movements
- Musical awareness
- Opposites, directions, and pathways
- Elementary positions and movements of ballet
In addition to these physical elements, we integrate the intellectual concepts of:
- Creative expression
- Basic body and health awareness
The program also helps children learn the basics of classroom behavior and manners, which include learning how to take turns, following another dancer or leading the way, waiting patiently, working together with others, and having a positive attitude.
Concepts are explored throughout the year such as classroom etiquette, musical awareness, relationships to the working space and the stage, expressing emotion through movement, and pantomime.
Little Leapers Grown up & Me Movement Class ages 20-32 months
Whether flying in outer space, going to the circus, playing in the park, dancing like the animals in the zoo, or growing a magical garden, each child will be captivated when they attend a Little Leapers class with River Oaks Dance. Grown-ups will be amazed at how useful each lesson is to their child’s development and love every second of class as they share many smiles and giggles with their little one.
Toddler Ballet ages 2 1/3 – 3 1/2
This 30 minute creative movement based class will introduce your child to the wonderful world of ballet dancing. Studies show that stimulation in the form of movement and sensory experiences during the early developing years is crucial. Listening to music and developing awareness of the body and basic motor skills, learning to listen and follow instructions and developing imaginative dance play are the focus of this class.
Pre-Ballet Classes ages 3 1/2 – 6
Pre-ballet classes are 45 minutes and separated by age. These classes educate young children in dance focusing on flexibility, balance, rhythm, musicality and spacial awareness in a positive, fun and imaginative environment while learning to express themselves in a creative way through music and movement. Students will gain a solid foundation of basic ballet technique gaining greater understanding as they progress through this age group.
Ballet Ages 6-8
The six to eight year old students are ready to build strength, stamina and confidence in their movement. They will build on their skills acquired in our toddler and pre-ballet program but with a higher expectation. They begin joining steps create more complex movements. Imaginative expression doesn’t stop here and in fact we believe it’s even more important to allow student this age to continue creative movement and pretend play. We end every class with a creative movement exercise when students have a chance to express themselves with movement of their choice guided by a prompt.
Hip-Hop ages 2nd grade and up
Hip-Hop is a high energy, upbeat style of urban dance. This class will focus on musicality, rhythm and movement during warm-up, learning individual steps, across the floor combinations and putting together fun routines to age-appropriate top hits.
Our Class Structure
There are four basic sections to each class:
- Beginning – Each class begins with a brief sharing time followed by strength and stretching exercises.
- Center – Center includes all major muscle groups and is the basis for the barre work taught in ballet classes at a later date. From these exercises, students learn correct posture and the placement of the body over the legs (this is important for both dancers and non-dancers). They also learn balance, arm movements, and various jumps which aid in the development of locomotor skills.
- Across the Floor –These traveling skills provide the foundation for ballet movement to be learned in the future.
- Creative Expression – Students participate in a variety of free movement exercises that teach listening skills, levels, and directions. Young dancers who are consistently exposed to this type of activity are generally more creative and consistently freer in their movement and styles as they develop. Besides, it’s just plain fun.