A Little Time and a Keyboard: McDonald Dance Academy Thrives

McDonald Dance Academy Thrives

Monday, May 21, 2012

May was alarmingly busy for us.  One of the events in the crammed calendar was my daughter's year-end ballet dance recital.  I must admit, rousing myself out of bed early every Saturday morning (why, why??) to drive a half an hour to her lesson was a chore I usually disliked.  But seeing her perform on a big stage in front of a packed auditorium made it worth it.

This was my daughter's 3rd year at McDonald Dance Academy in Arlington Heights, IL.  The studio offers ballet, jazz, hip hop, musical theater, modern and tap; this year, they added yoga and Pilates classes for adults.

My daughter started out with the pre-ballet with tap course, which is designed for students ages 3-7.  It takes the basics of ballet technique and, through use of props and imagination, gives kids a fun, educational class.  Large motor skills are highlighted as well as stimulating the brain's coordination.  Pre-ballet classes end with tap, where rhythms and smaller motor skills are emphasized.  Classes are 45 minutes long. The higher level pre-ballet class (1/2 ballet, 1/2 tap) is an hour long, for ages 5-7. Classes are run by knowledgeable and experienced staff.  The studio is one of the few in the region where instructors are required to have a degree in dance or equivalent professional experience.

All along, my daughter has liked coming here for class.  She likes wearing her pink tights and leotard; she likes the stickers the teacher hands out at the end of class; and she enjoys the sociability of being in class.  Her lessons have always been Saturday mornings, and the studio then is - unsurprisingly - very crowded.  McDonald Dance has three separate dance studios where lessons are taught and the hallways are maddeningly congested  when classes let out (which is my main complaint here).

Parents are allowed to peek (discreetly) at their student through the lace curtains on the studio doors; there is also a parent visitation day once a semester when they can come in the studio to observe a class. There is more seating in waiting areas now that there is a third studio, but most of the parents can be spotted getting coffee at Biggby's during the downtime.

McDonald Dance also offers summer programs.  In the past my daughter has taken princess boot camp; this year, she is signed up for the four-day Storybook Theater camp. You can check out the studio at www.McDonaldDance.com

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