6 Things You Should Know Before Choosing a Dance Studio
If most dance studios seem to have qualified, friendly teachers, experience teaching and a big show at the end of the year, aren’t they all pretty much the same? Does it really matter which place you decide to enroll at?
Yes. There are 6 main things that can make a huge difference in the quality of instruction you or your child receives, and the overall enjoyment and satisfaction of being involved with a dance program. Here are the 6 things you should consider before deciding on a dance studio for their child.
1. What type of dance floor is used?
Dance is a very physical activity that requires a lot of jumping, which can put stress on bones and joints. Most dance footwear does not provide much cushioning or support, so the shock of dance movement can place a lot of pressure on the knees and back of a dancer. The best way to prevent against potential injury is by choosing a studio with a professional “floating floor”. A floating floor is a dance floor that is designed to absorb the shock of jumping and in addition, helps to reduce fatigue and prevent injuries. This is superior to other floors, which might be tile, linoleum, or hardwood laid over a cement surface. Our floating dance floors help reduce the risk of injuries and allow students to dance longer without getting tired. They are especially beneficial to the older dance student.
2. Starting at the Right Age – How young is too young/ How old is too old?
Adults can start a dance class at any time. Their success is based on how willing the adult is to commit to practicing. We teach many beginner students in their 40s, 50s, and beyond.
For children, as young as 18 months, dance is a fun activity in which they learn to follow directions, work with others as they work on movement skills, and discover the joy of movement to music. If a preschooler has a keen desire and wants to start dance, a group preschool dance class will give them a good foundation in dance basics which will be helpful later. We offer Dance with Me classes for the youngest, Creative Dance and Tumbling for ages 2 1/2+, and classes in ballet, tap, and jazz/hip-hop for ages 4+ that are geared towards proper age development of skills.
3. What is the size of the class?
If the dance class has fewer students in it, each student will receive more personalized attention, learn more and have more fun. With younger students it is easier for a teacher to maintain control over the class and make sure each student understands the concepts and instructions. Our smaller youth class sizes make sure that no fundamental concepts are being missed. A smaller class size also allows our teachers to ensure that students are not developing bad habits or improper technique. Our studio limits all our youth classes (ages 6 and up) to a maximum of just 12 students per class. We limit our Pre-School classes to a maximum of 8 students per class.
4. Is your student getting a well-rounded dance education?
Some studios spend most of class time teaching students a dance, not the technique of how to dance. Proper classical ballet training is the foundation, the underlying technical basis for any dance form, be it jazz, modern, hip-hop, tap, gymnastics, drill, or cheer. A balanced dance technique, by building correct placement, posture, and alignment, creates a more efficient movement of the body while enhancing grace and poise. It improves strength, flexibility, coordination, speed, and endurance, all of which will benefit any other sport (Football too!) or movement activity. Our instructors focus on a balance of teaching technique and choreography, while keeping the class fun. Our studio offers 4 different levels of ballet and 5 different age groups, as well as a focus on technique in all dance forms.
5. Can I watch my child’s class?
Yes, we love to have parents watch the progress of their children. However, it is our belief that students work more productively when not being observed constantly. Therefore, we have equipped our dance classrooms with closed circuit viewing monitors. Teachers need the student’s full attention without interruption or distraction to teach effectively. For this reason, parents, friends, and family members are asked to enjoy our beautiful waiting area (equipped with TV, VCR, a play area for siblings, magazines, and books) and observe class on the monitors to see your pride and joy. There will be several designated “Parent Observation Weeks” throughout the year where you may come into the classroom during class time with your cameras and video cameras to watch your child’s class.
6. Are there additional performance and/or competition opportunities available?
Most dance studios offer some additional performance opportunities for their students, but may focus most opportunities for their “elite” dancers and competition teams. In addition to our award winning competition team, we offer community performances through out the year in which all students are invited to participate, as well as our Christmas and Spring Recital stage performances. We also offer studio families opportunities to combine dance and family vacations in such places as Disney through Dance the World.
MOST Important - Have Fun !!
Dance should be something that you enjoy for a lifetime. So, try not to put unrealistic expectations on yourself or your children to learn too quickly. Everyone learns at a different pace and the key is to be able to enjoy the journey