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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm needing some input. DD did dance (ballet and tap) this past year and really liked it, although she said that it was getting boring towards the end when they were constantly practicing for the recital and not learning anything new. We decided to do something different this summer and I enrolled both dc's in a gymnastics program. Both of them are really liking this as well.<br><br>
This fall, I'll only be able to swing one program (either dance or gymnastics) and dd wants to do both.<br><br>
I'm wondering if there are some longer term considerations that I should be thinking about; I never did a dance or gymnastics program when I was younger. She has some natural talent for athletics, but it's too hard for me to tell if she's more naturally inclined either way. I know that a lot of children do both dance and gymnastics, but we won't be able to do that right now.<br><br>
Any thoughts would be appreciated!
 

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I'm a former gymnast so I'm a bit biased. I think gymnastics provides areally good, all around physical activity. It helps kids become very aware of what their bodies are doing at any one time. PLus you get a little dance mixed in. I know it helped me in all of my other althletic/dance endeavors.<br><br><br>
My DD is currently doing a tap/ballet/gymnastics combo class at the Little Gym. So far she loves it.
 

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I think both activities, done well, can provide an excellent athletic foundation that can carry over to anything else she'd like to do later on - balance, agility, body awareness, muscle tone, gross muscle control, self-discipline, etc....and both can be a whole lot of fun!<br><br>
I think my choice would come down to the individual programs - the teachers' personalities and approaches, the peer environment, the professionalism of the organization, the general "feel" of each program. I don't think you can go too far wrong chosing one over the other.
 

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I think it depends on the type of dance. Ballet and tap and young ages tends to focus mostly on the lower body, and it's not as good of a work out.<br><br>
Gymnastics works a lot on upper body strength, as well as lower body strength and flexibility. thus the core muscles are likely to be more engaged for a child who's in gymnastics.<br><br>
I'm also biased because dd has done both, and got bored in dance, just like your dd. We're going to try dance one more time in the fall (because I won a set of dance lessons in a silent auction!) at a place that does both tap and ballet for her age group. I think she's thrive in something like modern dance or jazz dance, but they don't start those lessons until school age. So, we'll do dance one more time, and then probably go back to gymnastics.<br><br>
I don't know how it is where you live, but 'sessions' usually run 6-10 weeks where we live, so you coudl do a bit of both.
 

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It depends upon what type of gymnastics. My kids are enrolled in the competitive gymnastics program and I hate it. They increase their time in the gym constantly (at 6yo, my DD is going 9 hours a week) and it's incredibly hard on your body. Lots of opportunity for injuries.<br><br>
If your gym offers a recreation program - where they do it for fun instead of training for eventual competition, then I think it's wonderful. My DD have developed a lot of confidence, flexibility, stamina etc..<br><br>
That being said, we're stopping competitive gymnastics. I'm pulling my kids because it's just too much. The pressure on these young kids to compete is horrible. And the training is intense. We're in the process of trying to find a gym where they can just do gymnastics for the love of the sport.<br><br>
We did do dance as well and while my kids enjoyed it, I agree that the majority of the class is just teaching the recital routine. My kids stopped learning new material about 1/2 way through the session and the focus became nothing but recital practice.<br><br>
I agree that so much depends upon the program itself. What is the goal of the class?
 

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amcal-I couldn't agree more!<br><br>
I did very competitive gymnastics for years (went to nationals etc.) and I'm paying for it now. I have arthritis in my hip, lower back problems etc. I always said that if i had a daughter, she wouldn't be in gymnastics. Competetive gymnastics anyway.<br><br>
Fortunately, the way my older DD is built, she's have a hard time with it anyway except as a rec thing. Her body is much better suited for something like swimming or volleyball. In other words, she got all the height that skipped my generation. But she's having fun now so.......
 

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I'm a former dancer (most of my childhood and teens) and I'm glad my kiddo is more interested in gymnastics. I find dance recitals horribly tedious to sit through!<br><br>
Long term, there are pretty equal opportunities for dancers/gymnasts. They both have the potential to be hard on one's body, promote eating disorders, etc (which is not to discourage either one . . . I was a dancer with a great body image and I ate like a horse, and most of my friends were the same -- dancers and gymnasts alike).<br><br>
Ultimately, I'd let my daughter decide. But boy do I hate dance recitals <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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I would say gymnastics because you can get her instructional DVDs to dance to at home, and you are more likely to find free community dance opportunities than free gymnastics.
 

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Since she's just 4, to be honest, I would go with whatever TEACHER you think does the best job of instilling a love of sport/dance, a healthy body image, and connects the best with your child.<br><br>
For us, that means dance, even though we have to travel about 20 minutes away (even though there are probably 10 other dance studios within 5-15 minutes). But her teacher is gentle (but is able to kindly but firmly keep control of the classroom), supportive, really knows my DD (she's had her 2 years running now, and assuming she stays at the studio with is very likely she'll get to have DD at least 3 more years). She's an excellent role model, obviously loves dance AND encouraging both skills and love of dance in young children, ect.<br><br>
Also, honestly, dance was less than half the price of any of the local gymnastics programs, so I was able to enroll her in dance AND she got to pick a music class. She gets to take a gymnastic camp for a week during the summer, and her older cousin teaches her 'tricks', and she seems happy with that.<br><br>
I can deal with the slightly silly recitals, seeing how DD is blossoming with the relationship with her teacher.<br><br>
So honestly, all things being equal, I'd go with the teacher that your child most connects with.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Tigerchild</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11581377"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Also, honestly, dance was less than half the price of any of the local gymnastics programs, so I was able to enroll her in dance AND she got to pick a music class.</div>
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Finally someone else said it! We do dance because its cheaper than gymnastics! I also don't like comeptition at this young age. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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We have tried both and decided to put our money into gymnastics. I see benefits to both programs but locally we get better instruction at gymnastics. That said once my oldest daughter got a taste of competitive gymnastics she decided it wasn't for her and we decided it wasn't for our family due to time and money considerations. All the same, my younger daughters (and son) will take recreational classes and when the coach tries to move them to the team we will probably move on. (I feel somewhat like a second class citizen in our gym when taking rec classes after being invited to join the team.)<br><br>
Dance is cheaper (here) but is not as professionally run and it is a case of getting what you pay for (in my experience).
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mommajb</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11581726"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">We have tried both and decided to put our money into gymnastics. I see benefits to both programs but locally we get better instruction at gymnastics. That said once my oldest daughter got a taste of competitive gymnastics she decided it wasn't for her and we decided it wasn't for our family due to time and money considerations. All the same, my younger daughters (and son) will take recreational classes and when the coach tries to move them to the team we will probably move on. (I feel somewhat like a second class citizen in our gym when taking rec classes after being invited to join the team.)<br></div>
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This is our situation exactly! We're working on finding a new gym because you're right, after you've been on the team, you're just treated differently if you decide to go to recreation. Our gym is in the business of churning out elite athletes. Their rec program is nothing more than a money maker. They're not really interested in developing gymnasts who love the sport and want to grow in the sport but don't want to compete or train excessively.
 

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My daughter did both for a while. It was obvious from the begining that she wasn't going to have the body of a gymnast. She's more long and leggy.<br><br>
Within a year of doing both, she preferred dance.<br><br>
I had her in the tumbling class as well as ballet and tap when she was little. But, eventually, she outgrew the tumbling and just stuck with dance.<br><br>
I'm a little sad now, yesterday was her last dance recital. She's been at the same place with the same girls since they were six years old. Now they are 15, and they all decided they were done dancing. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
I watched this year as the entire group of girls she has known for nine years did their last dance. It just about killed me!! I'm going to miss being a dance mom.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the input. The dance program dd was in during the school one is a pretty good one as far as technique goes. They told me that participating in the recital was optional, but we needed to make a decision by the beginning of Nov. so costumes could be ordered. Everyone in her 3 - 4 year old class participated in the recital. It wound up costing me $85 for the complete costume, and we also had to pay $10 per ticket to see the recital, and I had to get new shoes for her about 3 weeks prior to the recital because hers were too small. So, ok....part of the deal, but I really didn't like having to put stage makeup on her and they insisted that no underwear be worn under the tights because of panty line issues.....that really bothered me. Even though they say that you can be a recreational dancer there for as long as you like, I can see that girls are being preened for competition there even in dd's class - and there is a heavy emphasis for competition with the older girls; there are trophies ALL over the studio. I am checking into another dance studio to see if there is a difference, as I was a little soured by the whole experience. I like good technique, but I'd love to find a studio where the recital stuff is less important for at least a few more years.<br><br>
It's too early to know about the gymnastics program, but their reputation is very good. I'll have to inquire a little more about how heavy the emphasis is on competition. If she wants to compete, fine. But I'm really looking for someplace where if she wants to compete or not it doesn't make a difference.<br><br>
What's bothering me right now is that in both places, I *never* get to even make pleasantries with the instructors. When it's time to go in, they open the door and the kids are ushered in. When it's time to go, the kids exit. It's almost like they discourage any parent from talking to the instructors. Is this common? We started in a Little Gym program (dance and gymnastics) when dd was 2.5, but moved to a location where there isn't a Little Gym or anything like it. At the Little Gym, the instructors always were friendly to the parents and they debriefed the parents after each class. I'm really missing that.
 

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My kids do dance, DD is now 14 and has been dancing (jazz and tap) since she was 4, and she loves, besides we don't ahve any gymnastics places here<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

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I am a former elite gymnast and professional dancer. I have taught both as well and seen the long term effects they have on the body. I would say that gymnastics is far more damaging long term if they get into the intense training regime that is required for competing. I do feel that they both offer great things for kids as far as coordination and strength building, though.<br><br>
I am putting my girls in dance right now because it seems all the gyms here in the Houston-area are competition oriented. That is what I am trying to avoid with them. I have a feeling they would both be very good at it, and I do not want them to do to their bodies what I have doen. Instead, I will have the focus on dance and later enroll them in a tumbling class so they can gain those skills to add to their dancing.
 

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Are there any other studios/gyms in town that you can shop around, Laura? It would bother me about not getting to meet the instructors, or to have an opportunity to chat with them.<br><br>
I think that's why I really like our small dance school. Yeah, the costumes and recital bit can make me roll my eyes at times...but again, our instructor is just so awesome. If she were to leave or when my DD outgrows the classes she teaches we'll probably look for a more local school since I'm not as impressed with some of the teachers (you learn a lot about styles and personalities at the dress rehearsal).<br><br>
DD just has really benefitted from her relationship with this particular teacher...it's really raised the bar as far as what I look for in kids' instructors.<br><br>
So it might be worth checking out a few, if they have open houses during the summer, to see if there's someone you connect with. I never would have looked twice at DD's dance school, it's in a run down strip mall, and very small, and relatively far away, not the most posh facilities (in fact, so small there's not even a parental waiting room!). But a friend I trust who also knows DD well said I should really check out this teacher, and they were absolutely right.<br><br>
But if you can't get to know the teacher...then again, at four, I would not really worry about 'technique' the first year anyway. To some degree an overemphasis on that might be a red flag. You might look at it as a way to feel out a teacher that you might stay with awhile, since a lot of times you get to know someone over time, especially if you don't have a recommendation from someone you trust. At 4, I think 'what's better' is kind of a moot point. So go with who you connect with first, to be honest I would go with convenience and/or price second and third. Unless YOU have a strong preference either way, in which case I don't think there's anything wrong with being the mama and deciding which one, if your daughter doesn't want to pick between the two. And if she wants to do the other one next year, it's not like she's too old. You're not making a lifetime committment! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">and they insisted that no underwear be worn under the tights because of panty line issues.....that really bothered me.</div>
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Dance and gymnastics cultures both have standards for proper attire. Neither of them involve undergarments. The proper clothing is sufficient to cover the bits. Although they may allow a 4 year old to wear underwear under her attire to practice, I can understand not allowing it in any type of exhibition.<br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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What's bothering me right now is that in both places, I *never* get to even make pleasantries with the instructors. When it's time to go in, they open the door and the kids are ushered in. When it's time to go, the kids exit. It's almost like they discourage any parent from talking to the instructors. Is this common? We started in a Little Gym program (dance and gymnastics) when dd was 2.5, but moved to a location where there isn't a Little Gym or anything like it. At the Little Gym, the instructors always were friendly to the parents and they debriefed the parents after each class. I'm really missing that.</td>
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I think perhaps as the kids are older they figure the kids can tell you more about how they experience the class and that you'll ask if you want to know how things are going or have some feedback.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
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<div style="font-style:italic;">Dance and gymnastics cultures both have standards for proper attire. Neither of them involve undergarments. The proper clothing is sufficient to cover the bits. Although they may allow a 4 year old to wear underwear under her attire to practice, I can understand not allowing it in any type of exhibition.</div>
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That's helpful information. We just got a pamphlet handed to us regarding what to do for the dress rehearsal and recital. No one explained anything, and I suppose it is up to me to ask questions, but this would have involved calling the studio at another time since the instructors go from class to class and don't make themselves available. Even at the dress rehearsal, the instructors were absent until our girls were called up to the stage to rehearse, and then they were dismissed immediately afterwards. Maybe I'm expecting too much. This is all new to me.<br><br>
I have targeted a couple of other dance studios to check out. One has limited programs in the summer, and they are out until mid-July so I won't be able to check into that until later. I need to call and get up to the other one.<br><br>
I guess the good news is that both the gymnastics and dance programs that are around us seem to have monthly enrollment agreements so at most I just need to give a 2 week notice to remove dd either temporarily or permanently.
 

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My dd was invited to join the competitive team recently. She had until that time just been taking an hour a week class offered for homeschoolig kids.<br>
She had been admiring watching some of the older girls for quite a while "wish I could do that" or just "wow". I thought okay, perfect opportunity here...it is for 2 months in the summer and I figured it would give her a good "taste" of really working to do those things she admired in the others. She goes twice a week for an hour and a half.<br><br>
So far she absolutely loves it. Originally I was not too much of a fan of gymnastics always hearing how hard it is on the body and so forth. I also was not sure how she would like it after this session ends.......though I have a back injury from a stupid fall down the stairs...so go figure I guess you can get hurt from soccer, biking, sports and everyday life....so I let go.<br><br>
They have performed tumbling for a minor league ballpark game...had their first competition....she had done a "fun meet" last fall and got at trophy for participating...she did great at the meet for being a "newbie"...that is what she wants the medals, the trophies are total motivation for her <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy">:<br><br>
I like the place she goes and know the coaches....usually their time between classes and private lessons are limited but they did tell us and give us information and we start out the season or class with a parent/coach meeting. They explained that you can leave a note with a ? or whatever you need in their mailbox and they can answer it or call you, but sometimes in between classes and such they may not be able to take the time with you to discuss what needs to be discussed. So far so good. I do have a rather quiet dd who can be shy at times.....so we were really shocked at how the performing "in front of people" at the meets and game does not bother her. She also knows there will always be people that are better than her and that sometimes she will be better for other people. They enjoy cheering each other on.<br>
Oh and we were sure to watch the Olympic trials last weekend and point out to her that these girls have probably dedicated their whole young life thus far to get where they are today. In other words...not practical for the average person.....or a reality maybe I should say.<br><br>
Also it is nice this place is less than 5 miles from our home......
 
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