If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed that our highlight of the week is attending Ted’s diddi dance class. As a child I loved to dance and was lucky enough to attend classes and competitions from a young age. I had always hoped that I would have some little dancers of my own, but wanted to be mindful not to push it on to our children. I was so pleased when Ted started to show a real interest in music and movement and started to see what type of classes were available for pre-schoolers. That is when I first discovered diddi dance in Bristol – they offer classes for boys and girls from 18 months and it sounded perfect for Ted. The classes are 45 minutes long – perfect for toddlers, and each term covers a new dance style. From country to ballroom, flamenco to disco and hula to bollywood – and more! They are also really unisex – not a pink ballerina in sight! I booked Ted on for a free trial and we couldn’t wait to get started.
I was a little apprehensive at first as Ted is somewhat of a lively character and I didn’t know how he would do with a structured class, but I need not have worried! The classes are full of different exciting things to do which keep his attention and our lovely teacher, Emily, really understands how little ones work. She has been so fantastic with Ted, encouraging him to wait his turn, to share and to listen – 6 months on I can really see the difference in him. He is really familiar with the class set up and it has helped him really develop in these areas. I had never considered a dance class could help with these skills, but he has come on leaps and bounds since starting diddi dance. The classes also use a variety of props and the children are encouraged to put them away after using them – another key skill! Ted absolutely loves the props and it is his favourite part of the class, he is also more than happy to put them back afterwards. The props usually tie in with the style of dance – so for country dancing we had a cowboy hat, for flamenco we had a fan and castanets and we are currently using funky glasses for Disco! There are also regular props each week including pom-poms, marracas and hula hoops. The children are encouraged to use their imagination with the props and each week Ted can he found jumping and splashing in a muddy puddle (or, a hula hoop).
Emily is always really cheerful and enthusiastic and gives each child lots of individual praise which is so important and really gives them a boost. Ted adores her and talks about her at home often, asking to go to dancing and see Emily all the time! She is also really supportive to me as a parent in the class with two little ones – I take Arthur along with us and sometimes I am sorting him out and unable to give Ted my full attention during parts of the lesson. Emily always spots these moments and gives Ted a little extra attention – encouraging him and partnering him if he needs it. I am always so grateful when this happens! It is one of the reasons that we have been doing diddi dance for so long – I really struggle with both boys at other toddler groups and activities but feel so supported here. I also love how each week a format is followed and by repeating key phrases and activities, the children develop so many important skills. Each week they line up and wait their turn for props as well as learn their left from their right, sing a song in English, Spanish and French and have the opportunity to interact in a new way with their parents and peers.
At the end of the class the children all sit down and are given a sticker for joining in, another special touch that makes Ted want to go back week after week.
The emphasis in the classes are on FUN – and whilst there is a structure which includes a warm up, stretching, a circle dance and travelling sequences, the children can freely dip in and out of the class doing which parts take their fancy. I often notice that the more shy children like to observe at the start of the class, but by the end they are joining in and having fun with the props. Ted is the child who has moments of running around excitedly, but it is never a problem. He is just having so much fun and enjoying the music and the freedom!
Another great thing about diddi dance is that they run drop-in classes during the school holidays, which was an absolute life saver for us over the summer! It was great to be able to keep dancing and try out some new styles at a time when no other groups or activities were running. I have made some lovely mum-friends through diddi dance too – it is really nice seeing the same faces each week whilst having a little dance! (Ted makes sure I join in 100%)
Diddi dance also run sessions in pre-schools or nurseries, as well as offering bespoke birthday parties for little ones. They also have a fab range of merchandise including a diddi dance t-shirt and CD’s so that you can practise your best moves at home!
If you are looking for a fun and award-winning activity for your child, diddi dance comes very highly recommended from us. Classes can be found at a variety of venues here in Bristol, and you can visit their website to find your local class and book on for a free trial.
*DISCLAIMER* We were given our Autumn term free of charge in return for a review, however all words, opinions and photographs are my own.