NYC’s Top Dance Programs Share Training Tips For Aspiring Dancers

Broadway Dance Center

Whether your little dancer is a pirouetting pro or a hip hop newbie, here are our favorite training tips from some of NYC’s top dance schools that will help them improve their skills.

For Beginners

“I recommend programs that employ inventive, intelligent, and musical exercises and games for pre-school children, tapping into a toddler’s imagination. To engage and inspire preschool-aged children, teachers must have a clear understanding of their students’ physical and cognitive development. In the School at Steps Young Dancer Program, as the child develops, we gradually deconstruct the “circle” class format and increase the structure of material, specific to the discipline. School-age children between 5-7 can be introduced to a variety of dance styles at the Basic or Beginning Level, and at age 7-8, children usually begin to express interest in specific disciplines such as ballet, Modern, and Jazz.” –Kate Thomas, School Director, The School at Steps

“We suggest young dancers be exposed to as many different dance styles as possible at a beginner-level before committing to a more rigorous curriculum in one specific style. Have your child find a program or camp that they love and feel comfortable at, then sample different class offerings while getting to know the studio and staff. A well-rounded training background will be useful, especially if they pursue musical theater. For example, acting classes can help a dancer’s performance, and ballet teaches fundamentals useful to hip-hop dance such as strength and flexibility.” –Jessica Trager, Chief Operating Officer, Applause

“Dance lessons are extremely beneficial for children in so many ways, including increased coordination, self-confidence, musicality, posture, strength, and focus. When looking for the right dance program for your child, consider the following questions: Do the teachers follow a structured and proven syllabus? Is there live music in the class? Is the class size limited? When you look in on the more advanced classes are you inspired by the progress of the students and the quality of the teaching? Most importantly, every child’s first experience should lead to a lifelong love and appreciation for dance. Be sure that the school you choose promotes a warm, creative, and positive environment combined with high-quality training.” –Julia Dubno, Founder and Director, Ballet Academy East

For Experienced Dancers

“I think it is important for already skilled dancers to work on their weaknesses. If your child is very good at adagio but not a great jumper, find a teacher who focuses on jumping in their classes. It will be hard for your child, but all skills need to be strong. If you are positive you want to focus only on your strongest style, for example ballet, look for a ballet summer program that could lead to employment in the future. It’s important for them to start seeing you!” –Andrea Redman, Dance Instructor, Lucy Moses School at Kaufman Music Center

“Over the summer, skilled dancers should explore styles that they are not comfortable with or do not have the opportunity to train in regularly at their studio. Having an experience in many styles not only makes a well-rounded dancer, but it also enhances the styles in which the dancer currently excels. Higher level dance programs should incorporate advanced level technical training paired with exploratory exercises for the dancer to discover whom he/she is as an individual artist.” –Allie Beach, Director of Youth Programming, Broadway Dance Center

“I think summer is a great time for dancers to set goals for the upcoming season! Maybe it’s nailing a double pirouette or it could be as simple as improving flexibility. Whatever the goal, summer is a great time for dancers and teachers to set those goals into action! Choosing the right dance program where dancers feel supported, inspired, and excited will set the tone for a positive dance season ahead!” –Kristin Ledingham-Pierce, Owner and Director, Shooting Stars NYC

NYC Dance Programs We Love

The Ailey School, theaileyschool.edu
American Ballet Theatre, abt.org
American Youth Dance Theater, aydt.nyc
Applause New York, applauseny.com
Ballet Academy East, balletacademyeast.com
The Ballet Club, theballetclub.com
Ballet Hispanico, ballethispanico.org
Ballet School NY, nytb.org
Broadway Dance Center, broadwaydancecenter.com
Dancing Divas and Dudes, dancingdivasanddudes.com
Downtown Dance Factory, downtowndancefactory.com
Ellen Robbins Dance, ellenrobbinsdance.com
Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet, gelseykirklandballet.org
Joffrey Ballet School, joffreyballetschool.com
Lucy Moses School at Kaufman Music Center, kaufmanmusiccenter.org/lms
Manhattan Movement & Arts Center, manhattanmovement.com
Manhattan Youth Ballet, manhattanyouthballet.org
TADA! Youth Theater, tadatheater.com
The School of American Ballet, sab.org
The School at Peridance, peridance.com
The School at Steps, stepsnyc.com/the-school-at-steps
Shooting Stars NYC, shootingstarsnyc.com