Dance Teacher - Ballet Skirts are Distracting is it a Proprioception Issue?

I figure this may be the best place to get some help.
I am a dance teacher and I teach a class of 3-5 year olds with a lot of sensory needs. Lots of random twirling. I have a little one who likes to hit herself in the head that I’m constantly redirecting. They are also all very very “distracted” (i put that in quotes because I feel like it’s a sensory need somewhere not being met) by their ballet skirts. They are constantly gathering up their skirts, pulling on them, trying to put them in their mouths etc. I’m curious if this a sensory issue maybe with proprioception stimulation or more tactile like a tactile processing disorder? I’m not sure what to do with this group. The best way to get their focus is one on one but when we practice their group dance it’s like I’m constantly redirecting every child to stop twirling, or please don’t eat your skirt, or can you stop hitting yourself in your head. Any help/advice would be great. I’ve tried giving them things to hold in their hands but then they just become distracted by that. I’m tempted to email parents and ask them to send the girls in t-shirts/yoga pants (clothes they are more used to wearing) rather than ballet clothes. But wanted to check here first. I have 20+ years experience teaching dance to this age group but this particular class is a constant challenge for me.


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Thank you so much for this question! Kids are natural sensory seekers, but it seems like this class in particular is a little more distracted than what you’ve seen in the past. Honestly, I do like your idea of sending the girls in maybe just a black leotard and tights minus the skirt. The leotard will still give the gentle pressure and proprioceptive input that they may be seeking, minus the distraction of the skirt.

Do you do any movements or stretches before the group dance? A nice way to “warm up” would be to include some simple yoga poses, specifically downward dog, table pose, and snake pose, which will provide tons of proprioception to the body to help with self-regulation and attention.

Let us know how it goes! :slight_smile:

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Yes! We start class with a BrainDance warm up which explores 8 pattern stretches/exercises: Breath, Tactile, Head/Tail, Upper/Lower, Body-Side, Cross Lateral, Vestibular

After sleeping on it. I do think changing the clothing may be the a good change to start. I also think I might move up when we do our group dance. Currently I wait til the end of class. But I might move it to right after our warm up when they may have better focus than at the end. They have a lot of excited energy at the start of class though so I’m not sure if that will make a difference lol.

Thanks for replying

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Sounds great! Please keep us updated and let us know how it goes!