What to wear?
I would rather a student enjoy him/her self and feel comfortable than be ‘properly’ dressed. Having said that, it is easier for me to see and correct posture and placement if students wear tighter-fitting clothes. I do have two requirements for safety:
No skirts/dresses lower than the knee.
No slippery feet – so either bare feet or ballet/jazz/modern shoes. Tap shoes for tap classes make it much more fun, of course. Classes for those who are over 7 may be spinning – shoes make class more comfortable and are recommended. We have a shoe swap/buy-bin at Redmond Parks - here, used shoes are $5 or you can trade in a pair at no charge. I will order ballet shoes, tap shoes, tights, lyrical undeez, and basic jazz shoes for you at cost from www.discountdancesupply.com if I don't already have what you need in 'stock'.
Can I watch my child?
Beginning level classes are always open (meaning parents can sit in the back inside of the room) - this includes any danceplay or level 1 and 1.5, regardless of whether the child has taken dance before. For higher levels, parents can watch the first day if their child is new to my classes and is feeling a little shy. After that, children's classes are mostly for students only, but you can stop by to quietly observe every 6 weeks or so to witness your child’s progress and joy (hopefully). It is very hard for me to teach if their are conversations inside of the room as I listen carefully to the children while teaching; please take any conversation outside. Please note nonregistered siblings are never allowed to participate except occastionally in Two's Toes. Parents are always welcome to watch from the door.
Are late-comers allowed in class?
Please know that coming in late is disruptive, particularly in the 3-4s where it is hard to keep their attention and the 5-8s where the kids are so social they have to stop what they are doing to say hello and figure out who’s now in the room. So if you have a 3-8 year old, please make an extra effort to be a few minutes early. Also, in the first 10-15 minutes, we tend to cover a lot of technique, so the dance learning is packed toward the front end. However, I don’t want traffic or a conversation at school to make you miss class and I will allow late-comers. I figure adults are responsible enough to know their own bodies (please be careful if you arrive late).
Can younger/older children enroll?
I often honor requests for older children to come into class, particularly if they will be the only older student. I do sometimes accept younger students who have taken class with me into an older-aged class – these decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, and are typically for kids within 6 months of target age and who have taken with me before. Please email or talk to me if you have any questions – you need my prior approval and will need to call in enrollment for a class that does not match the ages listed.
Is it okay to leave a sibling in the room to watch while I run errands?
Which level am I?
If there is room in a class for children over 7, I will generally authorize a drop-in paid trial class. This is not an option for younger children, because it usually takes kids a few classes to settle in and drop-ins can be disruptive to enrolled students.
What about Makeup classes?
Redmond Parks classes are priced assuming that students will go on the occasional vacation and/or get the flu; the equivalent class at private studios (where I’ve often taught) is up to 45% more. If you miss more than 1-2, please talk with me to discuss makeup options (generally the same age or just below is fine for makeup if I have advanced notice).
What about curriculum?
In my classes for children, I like to incorporate elements of creative movement and use varied instruments and dancing props to enhance the fun and flow. Kids are often more interested in doing something if it feels like a game – so we play a lot of games and tell stories in my kids' classes.
In children’s classes, I cycle through a series of themes where we focus on an aspect of dance, this makes it easier to deal with students coming and going. These topics are repeated and changed as students get older, adding much more technique and specific vocabulary for older children. It may not be obvious to the students that there are specific topics, and of course there is overlap and consistent things we practice all year (pliés, tendues, toes, passés, etc.)
Shapes - focus on ballet positions, making shapes with bodies/arms/legs, differences between angled/straight/curved, symmetrical/asymmetrical
Pathways – moving forward/backward/sideways in space and in relation to the room, zigzags/lines/curves, paths with bodies/body parts/props
Legs and Toes – really working those lines and building strength in plies and jumps, exploring the feet and turnout
Opposites – exploring opposite movements and quality of movements such as open/closed, wide/narrow, smooth/jerky
Strength and Isolation – learning to hold different muscles tight/relaxed, exploring body parts in relation to space/ourselves/floor
Feelings and Energy/Release – musicality, extension, breath, movements of the arms, lifted versus grounded, swinging movements
Jumping – isolating different aspects of a jump, exploring a variety of jumps and their characteristics
Partners and Using Space – self/general space, exploring space and movements using partners and others, supporting each other in balance, moving together as a line/circle, trading places, spotting
My parent-child Two’s Toes classes feature wide-ranging activities, many that families can do together at home if they wish. This class has an entire year’s worth of learning themes, as well as 6 sessions of beginning songs and activities we do to cater to those toddlers who love repetition.
Except for beginning level, adult classes cater to those with some dance experience, even if it was a long, long time ago. Dancers in these classes are at different levels of expertise and are encouraged to set goals appropriate for their personal level and ambition. These classes include warmup, across-the-floor and center combinations, and weekly routines in a low-key environment. These classes are truly for adults and most of us are moms – not the often teen/adult mix where there are 2 students above 15 (though I will let a couple teens into adult classes).
Do classes start on time?
My goal is to start classes at the published start time.
Do classes end on time?
Rarely do I end on time. I leave between 10-15 minutes between kids’ classes to allow children to say hello, adjust to the room, and say goodbye to parents as necessary. This time is also for parent questions. Often I borrow some of this time to dance. If you need to get your child, feel free to do so. Even with adults where I only leave 5-minutes overlap, I often go overtime - just having too much fun.
Are there recitals?
DancePlay 3-4, Two’s Toes, Mom and Baby, and Toddler Mind and Motion will probably NOT participate in recital. For DancePlay 4-5s, I leave it up to the group.
Other classes have the option to participate (whole classes can decide not to participate and individuals can opt out). Redmond Parks offers a recital in May. I love that Parks only offers one recital a year. This gives me the chance to expose the dancers to many different concepts and movements instead of drilling them and obsessing over three minutes. The end-of-year show is pretty informal. Tickets are under $5 and I try to keep costumes (and cost) reasonable. Parent helpers stay with children to ensure their safety. See www.terreldance.com/recital for detailed info.
Do you offer scholarships or consider barters?
Since Redmond Parks and Rec handles registration, I am not able to personally offer barter/scholarships. However, Redmond Parks and Rec has a reduced fee/fee waiver program - please talk to me or Parks and Rec staff to see if you qualify. This is a wonderful program and I encourage anyone who qualifies to take advantage.
Why are there days off that don't line up with other classes or my child's school breaks?
I am a mother of 2, so my kids schools' breaks are a factor. It's also easiest to give each class the same amount of weeks/price, so I start/end classes earlier/later to equilize to days of the week which have more/fewer holidays, etc. -- I have a lot of transfers within classes based on families' changing schedules or my moving students into differerent levels; having a consistent number of classes makes these changes much easier.