Families

‘Dance ... can bring so much to someone’s life.’ What you should consider for your kids

Three girls practice on a ballet barre during the Pre-K Moves class on Thursday, Feb. 1, at ABCDance in Bellingham. ABCDance offers a variety of classes for children and adults.
Three girls practice on a ballet barre during the Pre-K Moves class on Thursday, Feb. 1, at ABCDance in Bellingham. ABCDance offers a variety of classes for children and adults. eabell@bhamherald.com

If you are looking to learn and grow in a positive environment, ABCDance in Bellingham might be your calling.

Adult tap, jazz and swing dance classes are held each week. Whether you’re a seasoned dancer or ready to explore dance for the first time, the studio has a class for you – and your children, said director Tabetha Clark.

“The focus is on creating a strong technical base while nurturing each individual’s creativity,” Clark said.

Toddler Move & Groove classes are a fun way for kids to explore and learn about themselves and the space around them, she said. Classes are for students 3-12 years of age. She also offers drop-in classes for those 18 months to 3 years old. Classes explore the fundamentals of jazz, tap and rhythms.

“Dance, in general, can bring so much to someone’s life,” Clark said. “It increases energy, allows a creative outlet, challenges the mind and the body. Tap and swing are derived from the jazz music era that embodies the social aspect and improv that jazz music is known for.”

Not only do students learn dance, they also are learning a part of American history, Clark said.

“Tap dance was America’s first original dance form, formed in the streets with trading steps and improvising then into the jazz clubs and eventually on the stages of vaudeville,” Clark said. “At ABCDance we try to educate each student as a whole when they walk into our studio – the technique, the language and the history.”

Clark said she is proud the program has grown and is now able to offer four levels to accommodate each student and their current ability in a space with like-minded and like-leveled individuals.

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Tabetha Clark, owner and director of ABCDance, leads three girls in a Pre-K Moves class on Thursday, Feb. 1, in Bellingham. ABCDance offers a variety of classes for children and adults. Evan Abell eabell@bhamherald.com

“Absolute beginner classes give students walking in the door a safe place to know nothing and start from the ground up,” Clark said. “I know each student has walked a different path and has come to dance for a multitude of different reasons. I always treat each person as such.”

Some of the most frequently asked questions about children’s classes include:

Q: How many “sessions” do you have per year? Are there separate fall and spring class schedules?

A: While toddler drop-in classes are year-round with no preregistration required, our pre-K, kinder, primary and junior programs have four sessions a year. Fall session is September to December, winter session is January to April, mini spring session is May and June, mini summer session is June and July. Each session ends with a community showcase.

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Pre-K Moves class on Thursday, Feb. 1, in Bellingham. ABCDance offers a variety of classes for children and adults. Evan Abell eabell@bhamherald.com

Q: Are there extra fees for the community performances?

A: Our community showcases are included in your student’s session fee. Performing is a part of our class curriculum, and all students are included in them.

Q: Does my child have to participate in the community showcases?

A: No. While dance is a performing art form and a student’s ultimate goal is to share their love for the art with an audience, for some we know this can take time to be ready to get up in front of others and perform. We do encourage students who are not ready to perform to participate in dress rehearsals and shows by being an awesome audience member. This can help students understand what doing performances is all about, support their fellow dancers and the more time spent in the performance space, the more likely they will want to join in the fun.

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Three girls twirl ribbons during the Pre-K Moves class on Thursday, Feb. 1, at ABCDance in Bellingham. ABCDance offers a variety of classes for children and adults. Evan Abell eabell@bhamherald.com

Q: What attire does my child need to wear to dance class?

A: Students need tap shoes and ballet shoes and should dress in movable clothes that will not distract from class.

Q: Are parents allowed to observe classes each week?

A: Parents can use the waiting room next door at Love to Move Studios. This arrangement helps our students work on self-sufficiency and confidence. We have viewing days throughout the sessions, where parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts/uncles, etc. are all welcome to join us on these special days.

Q: How do I enroll my child at ABCDance?

A: You can register by filling out the student registration form online. There is limited room in our classes to keep class sizes small and intimate, so please contact us at ABCDance.Classes@gmail.comto inquire about open spaces if our session has already begun.

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