3 Yr Old Ready for Dance Class

Updated on June 27, 2010
S.V. asks from Burlington, NJ
23 answers

My daughter just turned 3yrs old. I am a SAHM. She hasn't gone to nursery school yet but we are planning for her to go 2 half days a week starting in Sept. She's pretty much potty trained with the occasional accident.

I want to sign her up for dance class. It's once a week for about 45 minutes. My husband doesn't think she's ready. He doesn't think she will get anything out of it. I want to sign her up because I think she would have fun.

What is the appropriate age to sign a child up for dance class? Have any of you taken your children and it worked or didn't work?

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answers from Fresno on

At the dance studio my daughters go to, they have dance classes all the way from the mommy-and-me stage (toddlers) up to 5 year olds, before they are allowed into "real" ballet classes. In the preschool-aged classes, they offer creative dance classes that are aimed toward the developmental abilities of the kids. In many ways, the kids are learning to be part of a class and follow directions as much as they are learning to dance. The goal isn't to make them prima ballerinas, but to have an awareness of their bodies and what movements they can do, and listen to their teacher and follow her instructions.

Both of my girls have been in dance since they were 3, and I've found it to be very beneficial for them. I would recommend it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I am a mother of 3 boys and I have been teaching dance for the last 20 years. We start children at age 3. They love it and they have so much fun. She will also get a lot out of it. I say go for it! I started dancing at age 3 and 30 years later I still love it! K.

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answers from Myrtle Beach on

My 2 1/2 year old (at the time, now 3), started in September, BEST thing I could have done for her, like you she was with me all the time, sort of mommy anxiety if I left the room, I called several dance studios in our area, who put her in a class that I was able to sit in the room... My daughter is a completely different child, she will go out with my parents with out me, even sleep at their house. Father's day weekend is her dance show at one biggest theaters in our area, and she so excited for it! She will be starting preschool in September, and I really think it prepared her for it... call around, we pay a little more for this studio, bc the teacher was so great when I spoke to her on the phone, and met at her trail class.... I hope your experience is as wonderful as ours was!! Good Luck!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lake Charles on

I am a dance teacher. And my answer to your question is; Yes, this is a good age. Most dance schools say atleast two and potty trained... so work on the potty training...but a pull up is fine under the leotard and tights.
Some of the posts are correct...at this age it is all about fun and coordination. Doing different movements to different types of music and creative dance. We do streching and start learning the ballet positions to cute little songs, that the kids do pick up on very quickly. You would be surprised. We also try to start teaching them discipline and structure and routine, such as staying in a line, following the leader, listening to directions, etc.
Having said that, my daughter started dance at 1.5 years old...she participated in class but not at Recital...granted she was VERY young. The next year, same thing. And the Next year...guess what...the same thing! So, I took her out of dance and she has been doing gymnastics for the past 2.5 years and loves it. My daughter is very shy...so people watching her is not an option...lol! She loves gym because there is lots going on all the time. So each kid is different...be openminded! Who would have thought my daughter would have hated dance and I have been dancing for 26 years! LOL

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We signed my daughter up for dance in January 2010 and she turned 3 in March 2010. She loves it! She had her first recital a couple weeks ago.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

My dd started dance classes at 17 months. It was a Mommy and Me class and we had so much fun! Even at three, most classes are combo - a little tap, a little ballet and a little tumbling/mat stuff (balance beam, backbends, etc.) Our class had fun, age appropriate music - like Elmo, Mickey Mouse and Disney Princess.

She was in the big show at the end of her first year when she was just over two and LOVED it.

Even as we are wrapping up her second year and she is now 3, she can't do everything perfectly yet, but she has learned a lot and it's good for socialization skills, especially if your daughter hasn't had the opportunity to interact with other kids without you around. Our big show is next Tuesday and we are so excited again!

Not sure what your husband thinks a dance class should "give" or why he thinks your daughter won't get whatever that is, but I can tell you the 2 & 3 year olds in our classes get a lot out of it.

I say go for it!




answers from Philadelphia on

It's more like "creative movement" at that age, great for the kids, and a lot of fun. Your husband may hear the word "dance" and expect that someone is ging to try to train your daughter to be a 3-yr-old ballerina! I'd say go for it! My daughter started at 4 and, more than a decade later, loves every moment of her dance classes. My nieces started at 3, are noe 4 & 5, and love it!



answers from Indianapolis on

Having been a gymnastics coach during college, I was very resistant to my husband wanting to sign our daughter up for dance classes before her 2nd birthday. But, he talked me into it and completely proved me wrong.

We had our final class of the season last night. There were a few rough weeks where she didn't know the kids/teachers well and really didn't want to be there, but all-in-all she loved it and did REALLY well. She was by far one of the youngest kids in the class with 1 other 2 year-old there. Most were 3-4 years.

As long as your expectations are kept in check, I think she'll do great. Our daughter has been in day care, though, since 9 weeks, so she's more accustomed to different environments/interaction than it sounds like your daughter may have been exposed to at this point.

Good luck. I hope she loves it and has fun.



answers from Pittsburgh on

my daughter started dance lessons when she was 2 years and 9 months she didnt turn 3 til december, she did rather well. she is now in her 2nd year and loving it! when they start out they need some time to adjust and there will be times that she will run off the dance floor and want you, but it does get better i swear. my daughter hasnt gone to preschool, i am a stay at home mom who watches kids in her home and i dont think she needs to go to school i can teach her that stuff, the main reason for preschool is social skills and she gets that from the kids i watch and dance classes. my son is finishing up his 1st grade year and i didnt send him to preschool either and he is excelling in school.



answers from Philadelphia on

All three of mine started at around 2-2 1/2 years old and did fine. The keys at this age (at least in my opinion) are:

1) find a studio that lets you sign up a session (like 6 weeks or so) at a time rather that for a whole year at once. That way if she really doesn't take to it, you've limited your cost. That said, you do need to give it several weeks to really let her get used to it.

2) I also think a studio where they invite the parents to sit on the side is best at this age. I have seen some kids be distracted by this, but my kids always did better if they could glance over and know I was there. (As an aside, my youngest learned several dance moves at about 1 just from watching from the side.) Just be respectful and don't chat too much with other parents or interact too much with your child as it can cause a distraction.

3) Creative movement at this age is the usual "dance" class in our area. They are learning actual dance moves, but usually to cute music and not necessarily learning all the names of the moves right away - that tend to be introduced gradually throughout the year.

4) If possible, find a studio or program with an optional recital. Our teacher does this and sometimes you just don't have a child that wants to be in a show, so spending the money on costumes, etc. is a waste. In our studio, the teacher is really good about letting non-recital parents know the date the costumes will arrive, etc. so you can schedule a make up class or get a credit and not have your child feeling left out. We've had years where we did the recital and years where we didn't, and in both cases the kids were fine with it - especially at that age they don't notice too much anyway.

Other than that, just keep your expectations realistic and realize that each kid is different. I have two that followed directions, stayed in their spot, etc. from day 1. The other daughter struggled more with that self-control, but it was something we worked on with the teacher and now she is very disciplined and focused in class. And if she really hates it, just take a break and try something else or try again later. Good luck and have fun!



answers from Las Vegas on

I tried signing my daughter up for a dance class when she was about 3, almost 4-years old, and it ended up being a waste of money. The problem was that parents were not allowed in the same room as the girls during the lessons but there was a glass wall so the parents were able to watch and the girls could see there parents. But, unless I was going to be in the room with her, my daughter was going to participate. I did sign her up for a creative dance class at our park & rec and the parents were allowed to be in the room while the girls were doing there thing. This went over a lot better for the both of us and class was a lot more fun (less stuffy) than the previous class that we had signed up for.



answers from Reading on

We signed my daughter up for more of a creative movement class when she was 3. It was a 14 week session, once a week for 45 minutes. Parents did not stay....she LOVED it! I was so happy we did it. I am a SAHM so I wanted to start getting her used to being away from me and with other kids before she starts preschool this fall and I only have positive things to say about it. She just turned 4 and this summer we signed her up for a different class that is 1-1/2 hours long for 8 weeks and she's very excited. I say go for it! All of the kids in her class had a blast. (though some did take a couple of weeks to warm up- totally normal!)



answers from Philadelphia on

Do it! My niece started at age 3 and is now almost 16. She's a phenomenal dancer! My 5 year old started at the age of 3, too. My other daughter will be 3 the end of the month and will be starting dance in the fall. The studio we go to has a class specifically designed for 3 year olds. It is called Creative Movements and it's a lot of fun. The kids love it. They sing songs and learn some very general basic movements. It's structured, but not as much as tap and ballet. All of the girls in my daughter's class did great and all came back this year for the Prim 1 class which is tap and ballet.

Anyway, you can always enroll your daughter and then take her out later if it's not working out. I'm sure she'll love it, though. Especially if she already expresses any sort of interest in dance.

Also, I'd have to suggest finding a studio where they allow you in the room to watch.



answers from Honolulu on

It depends on the program.
My daughter, took toddler dance classes at that age.
They make the dance classes per their age.... so their movements are per their age/development.
It is not like older kids classes.
My daughter liked it.

At this age, it is NOT formal "dance" lessons... it is just movement and to music.
And yes, at this age, classes are short... 45 minutes max. Or they get tired and can't concentrate or stay on task for that long. Per their age.

all the best,



answers from Harrisburg on

3 is a great age to start! The teachers know how to deal with 3 & 4 year olds and do things that are age appropriate. Many places will give one free class to try out before spending money, to see if the child will do ok. A 3 year old does not have to be perfectly behaved, hence the teacher knowing how to offer just what 3 year olds can handle. It would be great! And if it doesn't work out you can take her out, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. My daughter is 5 and does fine and they have many girls in the 3 & 4 year old classes that do well! She does ballet and tap. You'd be surprised how well they do. The main thing is if the child enjoys it, not if they can "handle it". If the child enjoys it, the rest falls into place!

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets

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answers from Chicago on

I had my older girls in a dance class with the park at 3 yrs old. they let the parents (one parent for those that both went) stand against the wall so the kids could be comfy the first day but then the parents could not be in the room. The girls had fun. I think that is the whole point at this age. I plan to sign up my youngest when the time comes. If she doesn't take to it, no harm but she could have a ton of fun.


answers from Allentown on

Hi, S.:

Call and ask them.
Good luck. D.



answers from San Antonio on

I signed my daughter up when she was 2.5 and she just turned 3 and had her first recital. It was the cutest most adorable thing ever!!

She loves the class. It is once a week for 35 minutes. They are breaking for the summer, but she will start back in August.

The teacher gave her a "trial" lesson to see if she could handle the class...stay on her spot, follow directions and keep her attention on the teacher. She did great.

I went into it thinking that she might not get anything out of it...that I was doing it just for me. But the look on her face when she saw her recital costume and after the recital when her daddy handed her a couple of carnations and told her how well she had done...she just beamed!! All day she floated around that she had danced and daddy gave her flowers.

Do it...you and she will love it!!


answers from York on

I was 3 years old when I began dance classes and I loved it. I took various styles of dance classes for 18 years. I danced in all the recitals and have all the photos to prove it. I think getting your daughter involved in dance classes would be a great idea!



answers from Pittsburgh on

Both my daughters started a dance class at 2 years old. They both loved it and had a blast. They are now 7 and 5 and they are both still dancing! I'd say sign her up and let her try it out, if she doesn't like it you can always take her out! :-)



answers from Pittsburgh on

I actually asked this exact question of a friend, who is a dance teacher. I didn't want to take my daughter too early and be the mom that over-schedules her kids from birth; but I also didn't want to wait until she was 10 and have her be the oldest newbie in the class, dancing around like a baby giraffe. Ha! My friend's response was that 3-4 is absolutely the age to start dance classes. I think you'll know if your daughter is ready at 3 or if she needs to wait until she's 4.



answers from Philadelphia on

bridesburg rec ###-###-####



answers from Kansas City on

I signed my 3 year old daughter up for a summer dance camp she is so excited yeah she won't really learn much but it is all about having fun and learning other kids and parents in your area!!

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