Every dance school traditionally has an annual dance recital where the children perform an end-of-the-year dance. Costumes and stage time are an attractive proposition to children, and parents love the photo ops and seeing their child in the spotlight. Getting some experience on stage performing for an audience is certainly a valuable part of a child’s dance training, but it needs to be done in a way that doesn’t detract from the “training” part. In many dance schools, after Christmas the whole lesson is basically just a rehearsal of this one piece for the dance recital, and the training that helps you learn the full vocabulary of dance stops. The child may get very good at this particular dance, but is not learning any more than that. It would be like reading one book until you have it memorized, but never learning enough to read any book. That could lead to an impressive “recital” of the book, but in the end will not help the child to be a good reader.
At the Greenville Ballet School, we have two traditions that improve on the normal dance recital. The first is that if you want a costume and a special dance to perform, we do that in additional time after the normal training classes. We continue to work on our general reading skills while we also memorize and “recite” the one book. The second is that we let students perform what they do each week in ballet class: the exercises and combinations that comprise their training. This way we are not using class time to prepare for a dance recital, but simply performing what we already do so that parents and friends can see what the students have accomplished.
We hope that parents will educate themselves to know that a sparkly costume and a well-polished dance are not a good indication of the total dance education your child is receiving. Rather, seeing the process of the day in and day out work the child is doing is more indicative of the quality of the training and the progress of the child. That’s why we call our end-of-the-year dance recital our “Spring Showcase” as we are showcasing the talents of our students by showing the work they do every class as well as the choreography they learn in an additional class; choreography specially created just for them, and costumed to make them feel like professional dancers. In fact, the process they go through each week to prepare these pieces of choreography is just what a professional dancer does all day: learn to work as a team on perfecting the spacing and timing of the ensemble, putting the steps you have learned in new and exciting sequences, and perfecting your own technique so that you look your best on stage!
We hope you will turn to the Greenville Ballet School for your child’s dance education, and look beyond the glitz and glamour of the annual dance recital. Enroll today!
This year’s Spring Showcase is Saturday, May 19th at 7:30 p.m. at Furman University’s McAlister Auditorium.