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Tiny Dancer: Preparing Your Little One for Their First Dance Lesson

Before students go to their first day of school, there’s usually a tour/open house to familiarize guardians and kids with the layout of the school, meet their teacher, and learn about expectations. Shouldn’t dance lessons be the same?

To help parents and little ones feel more comfortable about putting their best foot forward on their first day of dance lessons, Phoenix’s Classic Image Dance has detailed a schedule below of what to do after you sign up your child for their first lesson. Director Shannon Wilson shares what to do two to four weeks out from your lesson, one to two weeks out, and the day of.

2-4 Weeks Before the Dance Class

  • Understand the Studio’s Policies: Read through your chosen dance studio’s policies to ensure you and your child are aware of the expectations.

  • Get the Right Dancewear and Shoes: Make sure your child is dressed appropriately for class based on the studio’s dress code.

1-2 Weeks Before the Dance Class

  • Visit the Studio: Take your child so they can also get an idea of the studio layout and possibly meet their teacher in advance. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!  

  • Talk About Class: To help manage your child's expectations, have a chat about what your child can expect at dance class, where their guardian will be waiting, what their teacher's name is, what to do if they need to go bathroom, listening ears, and to always thank your teacher after class.

  • Practice Getting Dressed: Practice getting your child ready for dance class. This can help them become more comfortable with the dancewear and shoes, and make the actual class day less stressful.

  • Gather All Your Items in One Place and Label Them: Place all the items your child will need for class in one place, including a leotard, tights, dance bag, dance shoes, water bottle, and hair ties. Dance shoes should be properly packed in a bag. Do not allow your child to wear them outside. By doing this, you are helping to protect the condition of the shoes and the dance studio’s specialty flooring. Label your child’s dance bag, shoes, and water bottle to avoid the all-too-often mix-ups.

On Class Day:

  • Healthy Snack: Give your child a quick, nutritious snack at home before class, which can help with focus and energy.

  • Prepare a Water Bottle

  • Arrive Early: Plan to arrive five to 10 minutes early to encourage a calm transition into the studio classroom. This gives your child a chance to settle in before the lesson and re-familiarize themselves with the space. 

  • Leave Unnecessary Items at Home: To prevent distractions or loss of items during class, make sure your child leaves any jewelry or toys at home.

  • Offer Reassurance: Reassure your child that it is OK to feel nervous. 

  • Show Them Around: Show your child where the studio’s bathrooms and drinking fountain are located, and introduce them to studio staff who can help if your child has questions.

  • Introduce Them to Classmates: If possible, introduce your child to a few of their classmates. This can help everyone feel at ease.

  • Stay Close By: If the studio permits it, try to stay close by, especially during the first class. Your child might feel more comfortable and safe knowing that you are around.

By putting in a little extra preparation for the first lesson, your child will feel more at ease, have more fun, and have a better chance of falling in love with the art of dance.


Shannon Wilson is a mom, wife, and entrepreneur. Her husband and three boys are her pride and joy. As director of Classic Image Dance in Chandler, AZ, Shannon's goal is to help create tomorrow's leaders through dance. With over 25 years of experience as a dance studio owner, she creates a warm and welcoming environment where kids can be themselves, make new friends, and create lifelong memories.

Cover image by Karina Benfica

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