Why is Multi-genre Training Necessary for Your Dancer?


Today’s dancer is considered the ultimate athlete and training in the various styles of dance is necessary starting at a very early age.  Varied genres of dance work different muscle groups, build stamina, develop artistry and creativity, and expose even the youngest dancer to the myriad of ways that the body can move.

At Touch of Class, we offer combo classes for Pre-school children.  This class is fast paced, with the emphasis on building clearly defined skills but also providing for freedom of movement.  As students get older (1st grade and up).  and spend more and more time in the studio, they often gravitate towards one type of dance which is their favorite, and without direction, a talented dancer can often get “stuck” in their training.  In order to grow, every dancer needs to build technique and repertoire in different types of dance and with different teachers.  Each style and instructor build increased physicality, confidence, movement value and diversity resulting in a well-rounded dance education.

This aspect of dance training is sometimes difficult to convey to dancers who find one genre of dance easier than another.  Each type of dance uses different muscle groups, physicality, and neuron pathways in class.  To prevent injury, it is extremely important to take the time to train in other dance genres to activate different muscle groups so you do not create a muscular imbalance in your body. As Susannah Marchese, HCD Ballet Master at The Hartt School believes;

It is also important to consider the importance of cross-training the body and mind on a physiological level. Cross-training is widely recognized as a means of injury prevention, and experts say that it is an important way for dancers to stay healthy. This is accomplished by combining multiple genres of dance into their training.
— Susannah Marchese

The popular television show, “So You Think You Can Dance” has been invaluable in spreading this message throughout the dance community.  For example, Hip Hop dancers are required to perform Contemporary works and some the most incredible performances have been those where choreographers have built on and expanded the strengths of dancers to the delight of the audience. The teachers at TOCD are continually supportive of a multi-genre dance education, and interface constantly to add to the overall excellence of training that a student receives.  For example, the ballet instructor might see a need for more flexibility with a group of her students and ask the tumbling teacher to work on this during her classes, also.

In my 40 years’ experience of teaching dance, all children relish the challenge of training when it is presented to them properly and when they are able to successfully manage their results.  The self-esteem gained by conquering a difficult technical task make the dancer eager to accept more training to ultimately become a well-rounded dancer. 

Debbie Apalucci