So you want to enroll your sweet angel in dance class but have no idea where to begin? We want to walk you through this very important decision making process. Most other extra-curricular activities for your child are pretty simple seeing as their school likely offers all kinds of athletic teams and clubs. Dance is a little bit different, most of the time the parent must do some outside research and then make a time, financial, and emotional commitment to the dance studio in which they choose to entrust their child to. In order to make this new process a little less daunting, we have created 5 questions to ask yourself to get the ball rolling!
1. What kind of dance education do you want for your child?
Some studios are strictly ballet schools and do not offer any kind of "elective" dance classes such as hip hop and contemporary. Other studios offer all kinds of classes. Check out dance studio websites to get an understanding of their class offerings.
2. Do you want the opportunity to be involved in a competitive dance program?
Most dance studios nowadays offer a dance competition team that their dancers can eventually audition for. Be mindful if this is something that you even have the slightest interest in, some traditional and older dance studios do not offer this. As your dancer gets older and starts to grow into her skill, you do not want to have to "studio hop" in order to be a part of a competitive program.
3. What is the potential studio's stance on dress code and costuming?
Two-piece costumes, sports bra/hot short combos, and bra tops are becoming popular in the dance world. Check out your prospective studio's pictures on social media pages and from their recent performances. If it is a new studio, shoot them a message and simply ask them about their dress code and costuming policies. Before you do that, decide for yourself what your are comfortable having your little one wearing on stage and in class.
4. What is the faculty's experience?
It is vital that your child's teacher has an extensive and professional dance background and education. A lack of education in injury prevention, ballet alignment, and nutrition can lead to detrimental injuries for your child. Tendonitis, inflammation, ankle sprains, and other dance-related injuries left untreated can eventually lead to surgery and end a dancer's career. If the studio does not list their teachers' experience on the website, give them a call or stop in at an open house to meet their teachers.
5. Where does your child shine?
Dance studios tend to host open houses in late summer. Stop by all of your potential dance homes and let your child feel it out. Talk with the teachers, take a class, meet the owner(s), and mingle with other parents while your dancer meets new friends. You will be able to tell where your little one thrives by their interaction with the space and energy.
Tip: Try not to make your dance studio decision based upon price. Dance studios' biggest expense is salaries. If their teachers are highly experienced, they are going to be more pricey than college-age teachers with less experience and education. Focus more on the level of financial transparency the owner offers.
Remember, the dance studio that you choose will be a large part of your child's life. There will be laughing, there will be tears, there will be friendships made and unending personal growth. Ask yourself where you can see your child (and yourself) experiencing all of those things. Happy studio shopping!