Our dance program is designed to suit the needs of children who love to dance as a hobby as well as the professionally-oriented student. During the early years of training classes are focused on developing proper dance technique, in a motivational, fun and creative atmosphere. As students get older we offer a variety of classes, some geared towards students seeking pre-professional training and others developed for students interested in continuing with dance for recreation and fitness.
Our youngest class is First Steps, and introduction to movement for babies and toddlers 18-26 months accompanied by a parent or caregiver, followed by Dance with Me, for ages 2.25-3 (Not just for Moms – Dad’s, grandparents or caregivers are also welcome!). Our early childhood classes are lots of fun for both the child and accompanying adult. We do request that the adult bringing the child to class be prepared to give the child their undivided attention throughout the class. We need your help for the class to be successful and enjoyable for all! Separation classes begin with our Tiny Tots class for ages 3-4 followed by three levels of Pre-ballet for students in Nursery School through Kindergarten.
Yes, we do have boys in our program! In 2014 we started a special Boys’Hip Hop/Breakdance program just for boys. We also accept boys into our co-ed classes, and although the ratio of boys to girls is rarely equal in any dance class, our instructors do their best to welcome boys into the classes and make them feel like they fit right in. Tap, Hip Hop and Broadway are often recommended for boys because they are more fast-paced, high-energy and relatively gender-neutral dance styles.
Class placement is typically by age and experience. Up until a certain level, beginners can join a class of similar aged children with little or no difficulty. Depending on the dance style, classes switch from age-based to skill-based somewhere between school grades 3-5, but we always offer entry level classes in all dance styles for older beginners so nobody is left out.
Please see our Description of Classes; the appropriate ages and grades for each class are listed. If you feel your child falls between levels or are still unsure about which class would be best for your child, then please call our office (212) 717-5419.
Any age is a wonderful time to learn dance and we pride ourselves on having classes for children and teens at all levels, even for older beginners. Please refer to the Description of Classes to read about the different programs offered. If you are still unsure about which class would be best for your child, then please call our office (212) 717-5419.
Attendance: Because the Fall and Spring Semesters culminate in dance recitals (ages 3.5 and up), attendance is important. Students may not miss more than 3 classes in the Fall semester or 4 in the Spring semester. Please see our complete Attendance Policy for more information.
Students who miss more than the allowed number of classes are not allowed to participate in the recitals. Our Calendar is loosely based on the NYC public school calendar. If your child goes to a private school, there is a good chance that some of his/her school vacations will conflict with our class schedule. If you generally go out of town during private school vacations, and your child also misses a few classes due to illness or other reasons, it is highly possible that they will miss more than the allowed number of absences for recital participation, and may need to do a private lesson to catch up or may be excluded from recital participation altogether if the absences exceed a certain number.
Please do yourself and us a favor and take a good look at our Attendance Policy and Calendar, to carefully consider whether you can realistically commit, before deciding to register for classes at AYDT. This is not the kind of program where you can register for a class and just show up whenever you want to. We want to make sure that children who register for our program actually learn the course material, and this can only happen if they are in class consistently.
Make-up classes: Your child is welcome to participate in up to 3 make-up dance classes during the Fall semester and 4 in the Spring, 2 for 9-week Dance with Me sessions, and one during the 4-5 week summer sessions. Absences are not deducted from the tuition, but can be made up before the end of the semester. Classes that fall on a school holiday may also be made up. Please view our complete Attendance Policy for more information on scheduling make-up classes.
Junior recitals (Preschool-Kindergarten): no extra rehearsals are required.
Senior recitals (Grades 1-12): There is one mandatory dress rehearsal for each class, which is held on a weekday before the recital weekend. (Students enrolled in multiple classes usually need to attend dress rehearsals on two to three separate days). All students must attend dress rehearsal in order to perform. Absolutely no exceptions are made.
Senior Division ballet classes (school grades 1-12) have 2 additional Saturday afternoon Nutcracker rehearsals which are noted on our calendar, in addition to the mandatory dress rehearsal on the performance weekend.
Yes, that is absolutely fine. We understand that sometimes other obligations come up and students are not able to commit to the recital. For any students not able to perform in the recital, we are happy to arrange an in-class performance for the child’s parents so that the student still has the opportunity to perform for his/her family.
We do kindly ask that anyone opting out of a performance for any reason, please notify AYDT no later than 4 weeks before the performance. Any student who does not give adequate notice for dropping out will be charged a $50 fee to cover payment for the extra time it will take the teacher to adjust the choreography.
Our Holiday performances are a secular, non-religious tribute to the December holidays of Christmas, Hanukah and New Years. Our Senior Division ballet students (school grades 1-12) perform The Nutcracker, and our Senior Division tap, Broadway, hip-hop and Junior division ballet (Pre-K and Kindergarten) students perform dances with Holiday or Winter themes.
We do our best to make everyone feel comfortable at this very happy time of the year; however, participation is not mandatory and anyone who feels uncomfortable with their child performing in a show that features Christmas as one of it’s themes is welcome to opt out of performance participation.
We offer 1 parent’s visiting week each year in which parents are invited into the classroom to observe class. On all other days, parents may wait for their children in our lobby or leave once the class begins and return for pick-up.
Our studios all have viewing windows in the doorway, and parents are welcome to observe classes for a few minutes in passing. We just ask that you do so discretely and do not stand in front of the glass door for the entire class as this is distracting to the students and the teachers.
While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, we firmly believe that children of all ages need down-time to play and just be a kid! We do not recommend doing a different activity every day after school, even if it means not taking a dance class at our studio.
We advocate for healthy well-balanced children, and for teaching children healthy time-management skills. We have also found that over-scheduled kids are not able to continue past a certain point at our studio due to excessive overlapping of activities and commitments.
We try our best to include students with learning differences who are able to integrate in a structured group class setting with one instructor in the studio. Since each situation is different, this is handled on a case by case basis. If your child has learning differences and they would like to take dance class, feel free to contact us by phone at 212-717-5419 or email at [email protected] to discuss your child’s individual case.
We offer financial assistance to children that have an unbridled passion for dance that cannot afford to take class on a regular basis. If you are in need of assistance, please provide the information necessary through this LINK.
Our teaching philosophy promotes learning in a positive, developmentally sound environment with lots of individual attention. AYDT’s personal approach to teaching dance helps each student who is willing to learn, reach their highest potential.
American Youth Dance Theater is proud to include the AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE® National Training Curriculum, a breakthrough 8 level program that combines high quality artistic training with the basics of dancer health and child development. The ABT® National Training Curriculum consists of a comprehensive set of age-appropriate, outcome-based guidelines to provide the highest quality ballet training to dance students of all ages and skill levels.