Eliza-Jane’s School Of Dance exists to provide an age appropriate dance school for children in the Hills District in Sydney (Kellyville, Pennant Hills and Toongabbie). A few questions you may be thinking to yourself are: What actually is age appropriate dance? Why do you focus on this? Why does my child need this?

Please read on if you would like your questions answered…

What actually is age appropriate dance?

Age appropriate dance for children involves 3 aspects: choreography, music and costumes. These 3 things all go together in providing an end product of either an age appropriate dance or something that isn’t appropriate for children and should be for an adult instead.

Choreography should be fun and child like and not moving the body in a way that promotes sexual thoughts. Teachers need to take care and be sensitive in the way they teach children to move their bodies. And to ensure children do not think of their bodies as sexual objects.

Music should have no explicit language or themes in the song. These songs should either not be used or edited to take these parts out.

Costumes should not expose too much skin and should again be fun, bright and child like.

Age appropriate dance involves teaching students about positive self esteem and body image and setting them up for life. Experiences they have as children can affect them into their adult hood.

Why do you focus on age appropriate dance?

Well there are a lot of dance studios out there, and each studio provides a different service, targeting different aspects of dance. Some focus on preparing children for the dance industry, others focus on providing a place for the more beginner students. We like to think we provide both of these aspects. But most importantly, and what also makes us unique to the other studios, is that we provide age appropriate dance.

We want to provide a place that parents feel comfortable leaving their children and know that while they are at dancing, they are acting and moving like children and not growing up too fast or learning to move like an adult. The world is forcing children to grow up too quickly, in particular the dance world. But don’t be scared off dancing just because of this. We value your child’s innocence and want to preserve their childhood by basing our classes around child like music, choreography and costumes.

Why does my child need this?

 I’ll start by saying every child deserves an environment like this and should have access to this. Your child is probably being exposed to adult hood through social media, the news, and influences from peers and the list goes on. Don’t let the dance studio also be a place where they are forced to grow up quickly. Let the dance studio be a place where they are excited to come because they get to act like kids, have fun, not feel self-conscious or pressure to be anything but themselves. Let their mind stay young as they explore this wonderful art form and form of exercise. Every little girl loves to dance, so send them to a place where their minds and bodies are safe.

Dr Tomi-Ann Roberts PhD is a professor and chair of the Psychology Department at Colorado College and has researched the psychological consequences of the sexualisation and objectification of girls and women. The problem with dance that isn’t designed specifically for kids, is that it can teach young girls that their value and self-worth comes from how they look and how they move and how the audience responds to their sexually inappropriate dance.  The kids themselves can start to feel that their bodies are not their own but rather belongs to others for their pleasure, which can make them more susceptible to harm.  Children can begin to see themselves as objects, only appreciated and valued for their sexy appearance, as opposed to their competence, training and skill.