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Types of Dance for Kids

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The age requirements for dance vary based on the studio and the programs that they offer.  Each dance technique will have multiple levels to distinguish skill and/or age.  The levels usually coincide with beginner, intermediate, advanced and competition.  Dance Levels are determined by mental and physical development, experience and age.  Age itself is simply a guideline.  The most common classes that you will find offered in studios are as follows:

  • Pre Dance
  • Jazz
  • Ballet
  • Pointe
  • Modern
  • Hip Hop

Many studios require ballet as a pre-requisite to other types of dance.

Pre Dance

Most studios will offer pre-dance programs for children as young as 3 years old to the age of 5.  The programs are normally broken down by age and ability.  Usually you will find a 3-4 1/2 year old age group and then a 4-5 year old age group.  These classes are to introduce the children to the world of dance.  This class is for the young child who has no previous dance experience.  It basically will teach creative dance movements in a fun environment.  In addition, some studios will offer an introduction to tap, jazz and ballet for children in this age group.

Jazz dancing is a smooth, modern Broadway style dance.  It is a less serious looking, looser kind of dance. Jazz combines the arts of ballet, modern, afro, and current dance trends to create a free style technique.  It is the most popular form of dance for the amateur dancer.  The age requirement for jazz is 7 and over.  In this class your child will learn the basic dance skills necessary for jazz.  They will be taught jazz dance terminology and how to count to music. In addition, they will learn how to put movement together in a coordinated routine.


Hip Hop is an very energetic form of dance that is extremely popular.  Your child will learn to do things like spin, turn, and kick.  It is more of a "street style" type of dance which does not incorporate strict dance techniques.  All who participate enjoy this type of dance.  In some studios children can begin Hip Hop at the age of 5 and can continue through their teens.

Tap is a dance form indigenous to America with its beginnings found in African and Irish immigrants.  Tap dance is an exciting combination of intricate foot moves.  Your child will learn many styles of tap dance and the intricacies necessary to develop the skill.  Specifically, they will learn foot moves, rhythm, techniques, and sound patterns.  Some studios offer very simple techniques to 5 and 6 year olds.  Once children reach the age of 7 they are ready for a beginner's class in tap.



Dancing Pointe requires considerable strength and skill.  It is the central part of a ballerina's training.  Pointe is the action of rising to tips of the toes while performing ballet steps.  This is for children ages 10-15 with at least two - four years of previous ballet experience.


Ballet is the classic form of dance that builds grace, beauty, poise and strength. It will enrich mental and physical dexterity. 

There are some very basic ballet classes available for children between 4 -6 years old.  These classes will teach simple techniques and dance combinations which aid in concentration, discipline and coordination. 

Once children reach the age of 7 they have the body development and concentration necessary for ballet instruction.  Your child will learn the basic ballet positions, proper body alignment and placement at the barre as well as the center floor.  As your child advances in ballet the classes will teach them more involved sequences and the perfection of more intricate moves.  Speed and complexity will be added to their routines.


Modern is one of the most expressive forms of dance that incorporate various styles of movement.  Modern dance is usually for children 11 to 16 years of age.

Combination Classes

Some studios will offer combination classes for children under 7.  The class will focus on tap, ballet and jazz.  The young dancers enjoy the variety and are introduced to many aspects of dance.

What should my child wear?

Practice wear is required for all classes.  Students must follow the dress code of the studio for each class. Some studios will sell dance shoes and clothes or they can be purchased at any  dance studio, Payless, Target and Wal-Mart.

Girl's Clothing Requirements:

BALLET- Dance leotard, tights and appropriate dance shoes are necessary.  Many studios will require a certain color leotard and tights.  Often a color of preference at many studios is Black leotard, pink tights and pink ballet shoes or pink leotard, black tights and pink shoes. 

JAZZ - Many studios will require any color leotard and tights or black jazz pants.  Bare feet or black jazz shoes

TAP - Black tap shoes are required.  Many studios will allow any color leotard with black jazz pants.

HIP HOP - Comfortable clothing and sneakers or black leotard and black tights or jazz pants and jazz shoes.

Boys Clothing Requirements:

White t-shirt, black leotard or sweats.

For details see our section on Dance Clothing

Did you know?

There are several things to consider when evaluating a dance studio.  First, you should determine the size of the classes.  The fewer students in a class the more personalized attention each student will receive.  Second, you need to know what all of the hidden costs are.  Third,  check to see what variety of dance is offered by the studio.  Fourth, check to make sure there is someone available at all times to answer your questions.  The office staff who is also the full time instructor may be spreading themselves much too thin.  Lastly, discuss with them their involvement with competition and what other activities are offered to the students throughout the year.  For instance how do they get their students out into  the community to dance other than at recitals?  How successful are they in competitions?

Children who are involved with dance tend to perform better in school due to the fact that they have learned the importance of dedication, focus and practice.  Dance also gives your child a sense of self confidence that will help them in the future. 

Dance Links and Articles


Other Great Activities for Kids....


ART A wonderful way for children to express their creativity, while at the same time learning fundamental skills that will improve their artistic endeavors.


THEATER teaches the importance of dedication, focus and practice.



SCUBA teaches you to set goals and progress steadily towards them with the help of your instructors.


GYMNASTICS is the foundation for all sports because it teaches your child to control their body.


BIKING is a great family activity and it is something that kids love to do.