Two years ago, when my oldest daughter started to show interest in becoming a ballerina, I started looking for a dance studio for her to get some formal lessons. I stumbled across Dance Spectrum in Depew in my internet searches and was pleasantly surprised to find that they offered 4-6 week, 45-minute workshops for toddlers and preschoolers. What a great low-commitment way to see if we liked the studio!
Dance Spectrum is located at 4705 Transit Road in Depew. It is right off Rt. 400, so it is a quick shot from the northtowns and the southtowns. The studio has a large waiting room for parents with closed-circuit TVs so parents can watch their dancers while they wait.
We started out with the Toddler Workshop when Gabby was two. It is a parent-and-child class that gives kids an introduction to following instructions, taking turns, and some stretching and strength-building exercises. At the end of the workshop, the teachers would set up an obstacle course where the kids would enjoy crawling through a tunnel, rolling across a mat, jumping on the “popcorn” mat, and rolling across the room on scooters. This workshop is great for parents looking to do something fun and active with their 2-3 year old. Gabby loved the music and movement, so when she was three, we went forward with the Preschool 1 Workshop.
The Preschool 1 Workshop is a short introduction to the 3-4 year old ballet program. If you have a child who wants to try ballet, but you aren’t ready to make a 9-month commitment, this workshop will set your mind at ease. The workshops are offered in the summer, so you can make the decision to continue on to the full-year program afterward. In this workshop, Gabby learned some basic ballet positions, went through a consistent ballet exercise each time, and then they would do some sort of fun activity at the end – dancing with scarves or throwing plastic leaves up in the air to really end the class with a bang.
Gabby continued on with the full-season program and was sad once the recital was over. So, when Dance Spectrum offered me a place for her in the Preschool 2 Workshop to review all of their workshops, I (of course) said yes. The Preschool 2 workshop is a one hour Tap and Acro introduction for 4-5 year olds or dancers who have completed Preschool 1. For the first 30 minutes, the kids learn tap skills and the second half of the class, they learn acrobatics. Gabby was super excited to learn how to make different sounds with her tap shoes. They practiced some tap sounds and then danced to a song, following the teacher’s directions. Then the dancers took off their shoes and socks and got in a circle for some stretching, calisthenics, and strength-building. Once they were warmed-up, the mats came out and they would work on tumbling, like bridges and rolls. Finally, they concluded the class with something fun like tuck jumps on the trampoline. Every workshop ends with a sticker on their nametag and excitement to come back next week.
Gabby has taken workshops with Miss Lynne and Miss Renee and they are both so amazing with children. They are able to redirect attention and soothe sad kids, and they create such a fun environment for little dancers to learn! The workshops run about $15 a week, so I really feel these workshops are a great low-cost, low-commitment way to see if your child would want to do a more intensive, full-season dance program. And if that is the case, I would recommend putting them in the season-long programs at Dance Spectrum. They are the only studio that performs at Shea’s. What a show!
WRITTEN BY NICOLE
Nicole McDermott is a transplant to Buffalo from, well… all over the Northeast. She teaches college students about sexual health, chases after two little girls, and is potty-training two kids at once with one small bathroom. Keep up with Nicole’s adventures at newestmcdermott.com