Choosing a Dance Studio? Here Are Six Tips to Get You Started

*The beautiful dancer in this photo will secure her hair in a bun or other classical style before beginning class.

*The beautiful dancer in this photo will secure her hair in a bun or other classical style before beginning class.

Congratulations! Your daughter or son wants to dance. Choosing a school for dance is an important step in your child’s dance education. If you’re wondering why it is important, first take a moment to read this post. You want to find a place that your child looks forward to coming to and you want to ensure that it is a quality program.

Use these six tips when selecting a dance school/studio:

  1. Call and make an appointment to visit prospective studios. Websites are great and should reflect the quality and customer service that you can expect to receive. However, some places have a great website and don’t know a thing about dance…and vice versa. Get in the studio and get a feel for it. Make sure it is clean! If possible, attend a performance.

  2. Look for quality educators. Listen to how the teacher instructs the class. Does the teacher use proper terminology, ex: plié , tendu (ballet), shuffle, flap (tap)? Are feedback and applicable corrections offered? Is the classroom well-managed? Even at a creative movement or preschool level, these are the qualities you want to see in your child’s instructor.

  3. When you’re browsing the school website, read the biographies of the studio faculty. You will learn about the dance backgrounds of the teachers. Although not absolutely necessary, degrees and certifications in dance and education are beneficial. You might see a BA, BFA, MA, MFA or minors in dance, education, and/or certifications from dance training systems (i.e. Royal Academy of Dancing, American Ballet Theatre Certification). Professional dance experience and other training will also be listed here.

  4. Look at alumni listings to see where students have used their training. This will let you know if the school capable of preparing dancers for a professional career or if the school functions primarily for recreational enjoyment. Both types of schools serve the arts, but the commitment level will vary between these models.

  5. Take a moment to look at the studio floor. The floor should have marley (a black or grey vinyl flooring) or wood. Ask if the floor is sprung. Marley over concrete is a no-go. Concrete is a no-go. Why? A sprung floor means that there is shock absorption for the dancer. Whether your child dances for one year or ten, they need to have safe practice space.

  6. Does the studio observe a dress code? Although dress codes may vary, at the very minimum the students should be in appropriate attire that will allow the teacher to see movement clearly. Hair should be out of the face. These are very general remarks because exact requirements may change depending on the dance technique.

See how your child responds to each school environment. Take into consideration how you and your child are treated by staff. Finally, trust your gut. You know your child. Just because friends attend a school doesn’t necessarily mean it is the right place for your family.

Give your child the best training available to you so that if they choose to follow a professional path, they’ve been provided with the foundation to do so. The best training doesn’t mean the most strict or difficult. It means quality, knowledgeable dance teachers in safe environments who can educate your child.

Do you want to know why the school you choose for your child matters? Read “Why Does it Matter Where I Send my Child to Dance.” Next week, learn about the different types of dance schools.

Do you have a question? Submit your question here. Leave your comments below!

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