Kindy Dance Time began operations in 2001. Lara Gandini was actively involved in growing the business from its humble beginnings before becoming Director in 2004.
Through many years of experience teaching ballet at all levels and managing operations of the Terri Charlesworth Ballet School, Lara, along with her sister, Sonya Shepherd (now Director of the Charlesworth Ballet Institute) recognised the need for a different kind of programme for younger students. They took on the concept of Kindy Dance Time and developed a two-part syllabus, A and B, tailored to two distinct age groups to cater to children aged 2.5-5 years.
Initially, Kindy Dance Time was established as feeder programme for the Charlesworth Ballet School, giving children in the tender pre-school age group a fun, stress-free programme that introduced them to many foundations of dance and instilled in them an appreciation of a broad spectrum of musical styles and genres through the progressive thematic programme.
In December 2004, Lara took over the Directorship and hit the ground running, re-developing the syllabus to introduce 2 year olds into the programme. She ensured all aspects of each lesson plan were fully rounded, using resources and gaining invaluable advice from early childhood professionals and leading dance teachers for children in Australia. Lara then focused on growing Kindy Dance Time and, in mid-2006, just 18 months after taking the reins, she was managing 16 locations in WA, with 600 children participating and a further 200 on wait lists. Enquiries from the eastern states led to the launch of Kindy Dance Time in Melbourne in 2009, and since has nurtured the love of dance in over 30,000 toddlers and preschoolers across Australia.
Today’s Kindy Dance Time programme reflects Lara’s passion for an age-appropriate dance programme that engages little dancers into the world of dance without emotional and physical stress. It is also based on the strong dance philosophies she learned throughout her own dance and teaching career. With over 30 years of dance teaching experience, Lara remains inspired and influenced by her mother, Terri Charlesworth OAM, and by other leading early childhood dance teaching professors greats, including Laurel Martyn OBE and Joan Pope OAM. The syllabus is supported by Lara’s study of dance theories, such as the Laban analysis of movement, and by her own personal experience and research, all of which she personally passes on to her staff, who share that same passion for a fun, stress free dance programme and who deliver it in every lesson.