[Anst-dancers] Re: Children in dance practice

Craig Shupee' philipwhite at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 15 09:32:46 PDT 2003


>My barony's minister of children recently asked me what requirements are
>there for the children to participate in dance guild.
>When I say participate, I mean that the children actually danced as part of
>a set, and not dragged around by an adult. And it'll be ideal that when
>dancing by themselves, they are not so confused that they disrupt the set.

I've had children participate, but usually only with their parents being 
present.  After the age of 13 or 14 wouldn’t question it...  I say that 
because I was 14 when I started dancing in the SCA, and my parents didn’t 
play.

Usually - if the child can walk and talk - and has been though a couple 
years of school, then they can get through most simple dances.  They just 
need to have developed a level of concentration associated with learning 
from someone other than their parents.

Maybe rather than an age limit - you can suggest 3rd or 4th graders.  Some 
kids already have dance experience by that level anyway.

>So I'm asking for input from this list. If you've had children in your
>guild, what worked, what didn't?

What’s worked with me if just judging each child on their individual 
abilities?  I think that dance is natural to the human condition, and once a 
person can walk and express personality then they can learn to dance.  It 
should also be what you are willing to teach to.

>I'm not sure age limit is the answer (8+ and above), I'm looking more for
>an abilities answer.
>Here are some abilities I think they should have:
>- Knowing Left from Right
>- Can clap a steady beat
>- Follows instruction

I think these are good enough suggestions.  You might tell the Children’s 
Minister to check with parents on if they get frustrated... or have a 
proclivity to quit if things don’t work out well.  Something along those 
lines.

>It's hard to say, as I've seen 2 year olds clap properly to gathering
>peascods, and adults messing up.

LOL it’s true.

>Thoughts, suggestions, input welcomed.

Um, I have had some really interested really talented young dancers to work 
with.  Those that work well, have their own interest in the art, rather than 
being pushed in by their parents. So, if every event you are going to you 
have a 7 year old begging to dance, then she/he is probably ready to dance.

I've been dancing regularly with a girl since she was 6 and she did her 
first dance performance up in Namron when she was 7 during a feast.  I t was 
allot of fun and she still dances at events when she gets a chance.   So, 
anything is possible.

I guess my point is, like adults, you have to judge the child on individual 
skill.

But, I ma not sure that helps any. :_)

~Philip

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