When Should Your Child Start Dancing?

New parents often ask us, when will my child be ready to start dance classes? In our experience, a child’s readiness has less to do with age and more to do with mobility. In other words, if your child can walk, he or she is ready to learn to dance! Here at Arizona Sunrays, we offer a wide variety of classes for dancers of all ages and abilities. From tap, jazz and lyrical to hip hop, tumbling and baby dance, we’ve got something for everyone! And while it’s never too late to get started, there are many benefits to signing your child up for dance lessons at an early age. Here are a few! Physical Benefits Dance classes are a terrific way for kids to get out their seemingly endless energy in a safe and supportive environment. Whether they’re tapping their toes or moving to a beat, kids can begin to get to know their bodies and develop essential skills such as balance, coordination and flexibility. This will help them remain healthy and active as they grow older. Mental Benefits Dance isn’t just exercise for the body, but it’s exercise for the mind as well. Kids will learn to replicate a teacher’s movements, move with both sides of their bodies, and memorize sequences of steps. Without realizing it, kids will be developing lifelong skills such as active listening, patience and perseverance, all while having tons of fun! Social Benefits Dance class is a perfect setting for kids to meet and interact with other kids who also love to move. Kids will have the opportunity to dance with peers of different ages & abilities and will learn how to move together, as well as focus on [...]

By |2018-03-27T18:11:47+00:00February 7th, 2018|Blog|Comments Off on When Should Your Child Start Dancing?

Arizona Sunrays Ninja Zone Lessons: What to Expect

If your child is interested in being a Ninja, you’ve come to the right place! Ninja Zone is a new sport that incorporates elements of gymnastics, martial arts, obstacle course training and street dance. Children learn the core values of discipline, athleticism,and confidence as they move uninterrupted through obstacle courses. Students also learn combinations of flips, rolls, jumps, and kicks in order to progress to the next level. In order to advance, they are evaluated on adherence to the Ninja Zone principles. The Ninja Zone Mission The mission of Ninja Zone is to aid high-energy children in building character, social skills, and athleticism. Six character pillars make up the Ninja Zone curriculum: confidence, focused energy, impulse control, creed (core values), work ethic and responsibility. What will your child get out of it? Through focused energy, children are taught to steer their vitality positively and productively. Students learn mental impulse control and the value of work ethic as they encounter obstacles and overcome them. Progression through each Ninja zone level helps them develop confidence. This type of agility training is beneficial for children in a number of ways including injury prevention, improved coordination, and cross-sport benefits. Agility and flexibility gained in Ninja Zone training can help children prevent injury; as they learn to better control their bodies, they are less prone to injuring themselves while engaging in other sports or play. Ninja zone exercises are “multi-planar,” meaning multi-directional. This type of movement makes for better overall coordination in children, especially those interested in sports. Of course, Ninja Zone training teaches children grit, determination and work ethic, which helps them stay motivated in other areas of their lives. When can your child get started? Lil’ Ninjas, the [...]

By |2018-03-27T18:17:29+00:00January 8th, 2018|Blog|Comments Off on Arizona Sunrays Ninja Zone Lessons: What to Expect

How Trampoline Gymnastics Became an Olympic Sport

Trampoline Gymnastics has a long history before it became the Olympic sport it is today! Trampolines themselves date back to 1934, according to the official Olympics website. They were originally used as a training tool to strengthen other athletes in their own sports. Later on, they were also used for astronauts to train for weightlessness. While trampolines were being used for other kinds of training, people began to notice certain gymnastic skills that could only be practiced on a spring-loaded surface. Events eventually became standardized so that gymnasts could choose to train in tumbling and trampolining, beyond the more typical offerings of gymnastics. According to USA Gyms, the first World Championships of Trampolining were held in the 1960s, cementing it as a global sport despite remaining less well known. Trampolining as a sport was introduced in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, and since then, many gymnasts use their difficulty level, execution, and time of flight to compete against all the best athletes in the world. The ability to execute difficult movements while flying up and down, all while making sure to land well for the next bounce, make gymnasts strong and precise in their movements. While men's and women's trampolining are the only events currently in the games, there are many other international trampoline gymnastics events that are gaining popularity. Can you envision your child being part of the first Olympics to hold tumbling or other trampoline events? While training competitively as a trampoline gymnast, your child will develop the spatial awareness that is unmatched in other sports, as well as the characteristic poise, strength, and flexibility required for all kinds of gymnastic activities. The process of raising a brilliant trampoline gymnast starts [...]

By |2018-03-27T18:20:34+00:00December 17th, 2017|Blog|Comments Off on How Trampoline Gymnastics Became an Olympic Sport

What are the Different Dance Classes My Child Can Take at Arizona Sunrays?

Is your child ready to dance the day away? We offer a variety of programs, classes, and styles to choose from for dancers of all ages! Our classes range from ballet to tap to jazz. Check out the class descriptions below to see what class best fits your child’s interests. For tiny dancers, we offer FREE Baby Dance classes every Monday or Thursday from 9:15-9:45 a.m. Classes require that your child is at least between walking age to 2.5 years. Feel free to drop in! (Make sure to arrive early! Classes are limited to the first 20 children.) Aerial Arts provides an exciting way to build strength and flexibility. Arizona Sunrays’ Aerial Arts classes focus on safety, conditioning, basic aerial fabric wraps, and proper alignment. We’ll also focus on using the aerial hoop, or Lyra, which is a large steel hoop suspended from a single point in the ceiling. Ballet is the classical foundation for all styles of dance. Classes focus on proper technique and body alignment. Our Pre-Pointe classes are for those recommended by teachers and focus on the work to prepare and strengthen the feet and ankles for pointe work. Carriage, poise and dance terminology are further developed. Pointe classes emphasize classical ballet work in which dancers support their body weight on the tips of fully extended feet. A minimum of three years of ballet is required, as is teacher recommendation. All levels of ballet dancers are expected to wear pink tights, a black leotard, and pink ballet shoes. Our Tap classes help dancers develop rhythm, style, and sound. Classes are focused on building flexibility of the feet and ankles, coordination and quick movement. Tap shoes are worn with metal plates under the [...]

By |2018-03-27T18:24:37+00:00December 4th, 2017|Blog|Comments Off on What are the Different Dance Classes My Child Can Take at Arizona Sunrays?

When Can I Put My Baby in Gymnastics Lessons?

Is there a “right” time to enroll a young child or baby in gymnastics lessons? Believe it or not, children can begin learning the fundamentals of gymnastics as early as 6 months old. The benefits of enrolling babies and toddlers in gymnastics classes are far-reaching! What will your baby gain from gymnastics lessons? Little gymnasts will develop social skills, improve their cognitive skills, and become more aware of the world as they develop strong, healthy bones and muscle strength. Early childhood gymnastics involves basic body strengthening exercises that will improve your baby’s overall body strength. Babies and toddlers will develop increased coordination and agility as they learn to stand, walk and jump; plus, they will benefit from increased flexibility as they grow. Gymnastics helps little ones meet daily exercise needs, learn about discipline (which is especially good for toddlers!), build self-esteem, and feel a sense of accomplishment as they learn to complete routines. What’s not to love about that? When can your baby get started? We have a highly energetic preschool environment for children of all ages, beginning with our Free Baby Gym class specifically designed for babies 6-12 months (Phoenix Location: Wednesday’s from 9:30-10:00 AM, Arcadia Location: Tuesday’s from 9:00 – 9:30 AM). Parents can also bring in their little ones for organized play during Tumble Tots! This is for little gymnasts aged 18-36 months. Parental participation is required for both of these classes. Once little gymnasts grow a little older, they can begin some of our hour-long classes! All-By-Myself classes are designed for toddlers to 3 year olds. At 4, they can participate in our Big Shots class. At 5, they can graduate to our Champions classes! What should new gymnastics parents know? [...]

By |2018-02-14T17:59:30+00:00November 13th, 2017|Blog|Comments Off on When Can I Put My Baby in Gymnastics Lessons?