UM Children's Dance Classes

Each semester, the UM Dance Program offers children’s dance classes for the community. UM students earn credit for participating as student teachers.  

Children ages 3½ - 6 are invited to explore classes in creative movement. Our training program provides opportunities for children to express their inherent creativity through their bodies. Children are also exposed to the various elements of movement, learning how their bodies move within different spatial, time, and qualitative structures. UM’s creative movement classes serve as an excellent introduction to dance for all children.

Classes in dance technique and choreography are offered for children ages 7 - 10. In these classes, young dancers are presented with a more formal structure of a dance technique class. The instructor leads the dancers through exercises that build an understanding of body alignment, strength, and flexibility. The creativity of the dancer remains of ultimate importance in this class as dancers are introduced to the art of making dances and provided opportunities to collectively make new, unique, and fresh choreography.

For information, please contact instructor

Spring 2019 Schedule

Registration for Spring Session is now open!

SPRING SEMESTER: January 17-April 11 (12 weeks; NO CLASS THURSDAY, MARCH 28)

Classes Offered:

Creative Movement I for ages 3½ - 4 on Thursdays from 3:30-4:00pm

Creative Movement II for ages 5-6 on Thursdays from 4:15-5:00pm

Creative and Modern Dance for ages 7-10 on Thursdays from 5:15-6:00pm

About Our Classes

UM dance, theatre, and education students enroll as student teachers to assist in the classes. The class is an opportunity for your child to be immersed in dance, and also a chance for our students to train to be teachers. The student teachers will plan lessons, which are previewed by instructor Laurel Sears, and teach two partial lessons and one full lesson each. UM Children's Dance is a place for everyone to grow together, create community, learn, and make meaning from motion.

Our instructor, Laurel Sears, has been dancing, choreographing, and performing in and out of Montana for almost 20 years. She is currently an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Montana. Laurel holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from Arizona State University, where she taught multiple college-level classes, created socially engaged performance pieces, and published a professional paper on creating collaborative performance works. As a UM alum, Laurel is thrilled to be back in PARTV connecting to the Missoula community through dance.

As students progress through the class levels, our objectives for their training develop and expand. Each class builds on the skills and experiences developed in the previous class. In upper-level classes, students begin creating their own choreography and learn more complex movement sequences.

The last day of each session is Sharing Day, when families and friends are invited into the studio to watch class. Sharing Day is not meant as a recital, although it may involve choreography. It is meant to be a celebration of the children’s progress and is followed by juice and treats. Bring cameras! 

Where We Are

Classes are held in the UM Performing Arts and Radio/TV Center (PARTV).  Travel east on Sixth Street to campus; the PAR/TV building is the tall brick building on the right. Park in front of the building, or in the parking lot on the left. Enter doors facing the parking lot and go down the stairs, through the door, and to the left. Temporary parking passes will be available for purchase (currently, $12--the cost to us).  You are not required to purchase a parking pass. However, please know that parking is monitored until 5:00pm.

Chairs will be set up for guardians outside the Ballet Studio (PARTV 035). Guardians may watch from the hallway the first day of classes. After the first day, the studio door will be closed during class to eliminate noise and distractions for our students, teachers, and musician. Guardians may watch from the window in the hallway upstairs or the outside windows.


Tuition is $80 per student per semester plus a $15 administrative fee per student per academic year. If your student takes class both fall and spring, there is only one $15 administrative fee. There is a 10% sibling discount. There is a $10 discount to parents/guardians who are UM employees. Tuition usually must be paid by the third class session:

  • Online payments may be made using VISA, MasterCard, or Discover
  • Cash or check payments (checks made to "UM Theatre & Dance") may be made at the first class
  • We are currently NOT able to process credit cards in person at the first class

Please email with questions.