Choosing the Best Studio for a Young Dancer
Dancing is a dream for a great many young children. After all, who wouldn’t be drawn in and completely mesmerized by the glow of the stage, the bright lights, the rhythmic music, and the idea of telling a story with movement?
If your child is one of the many who dream of dancing under a spotlight, finding the right studio for him or her is a crucial first step in ensuring their dance experience is a wonderful one. That said, finding the right studio can also be quite a daunting task. This is especially true if you live an area with a great many choices. After all, how can you possibly choose one studio when you have so many to pick from?
Fortunately, by using the process of elimination you can make choosing the perfect dance school easier. Here are a few ways to narrow the selection down a bit and help ensure you choose the perfect–and most safe–studio for your child.
Ask for Credentials
While there are plenty of good instructors in the world with no accreditation at all, there are not many poor teachers with impressive credentials. This is because becoming an accredited instructor is a difficult process which involves a great deal of time and effort. Only the dedicated are able to acquire accreditation, and they must pass a number of tests on proper form and technique (as well as safety) in order to do so.
For this reason, asking for credentials is a very important step in finding the best, safest, and most qualified studio for your little dancer.
Check Out the Floor
Believe it or not, the type of floor your dancer will be practicing on has an enormous impact on the health of their joints and spine.
Hard, unforgiving floors are not suitable for dance practice, and should never be found in a dance studio. Instead, the studio you choose should include a sprung floor in order to offer students a forgiving practice surface that will keep their bodies as healthy and strong as possible.
If you have found a place you think you like, but would like an insider’s opinion before making a commitment, online reviews and word-of-mouth are your best friends. By observing what other parents are saying about the studio, you can decide if the studio offers the type of environment and caliber of training you are looking for in a dance school.
Study the Schedule
Of course, you will want to be sure the studio you choose offers classes in the particular style of dance your child is hoping to learn. However, it is generally a good idea to choose a studio with a variety of offerings. This is because children often begin in one dance form and soon after choose to switch to another form (or add a class to their schedule).
Additionally, it is generally recommended that all dancers take a few years of ballet, no matter what other types of dance they wish to pursue. Ballet provides students with a strong foundation on which to build their dancing knowledge, so finding a studio that offers quality ballet training is a must.
Most dance schools offer students the opportunity to perform at least once a year. However, for many dancers, an end-of-year recital is not nearly enough stage time. For these kids, performance and competition opportunities are an incredibly important consideration when searching for a home studio.
If you aren’t sure what a studio offers in the way of community performance opportunities and how often they compete, simply ask the studio owner–they will be more than happy to share that information.
Take Note of Organization
In general, you will be able to tell whether or not a studio is organized right off the bat. Look around the lobby. Are months-old notices still posted, or is the information on the bulletin board or walls up-to-date and easy to read? Was your phone call or email answered in a timely manner? Were you provided with all the necessary information right away?
Consider these things, and use this information to decide whether or not the studio is organized well enough to run smoothly.
Attend a Performance
If your child is looking to become a superstar, you are going to want him or her in the best classes available. How can you tell if a studio offers classes that will help your child reach the upper levels? By taking a look at their advanced dancers, of course.
If a studio is putting on highly polished performances and the dancers have excellent technique, they are probably offering a high-quality dance education. On the other hand, a studio that puts on sloppy performances may not offer the caliber of training you are looking for.
By following these steps, you should be able to eliminate the studios that are less than ideal for your child, and narrow down your selection quite a bit.
If you are still left with too many options to choose from, you might want to ask for a trial or observation lesson at each location. This will help your child get a feel for the way the class is run and the teaching style of each instructor–information that is sure to help them choose the ideal studio.