Now is the time of year when everyone is starting to think about after school activities for the year. And dance is one that will always come up especially for the girls. And with a variety of dance studios around the area, how do you know which one to choose? Recommendations from friends and family are always a good start but there are many other factors to consider.
While it might be a good idea at the time to go with the cheapest- but what is actually included or not that is going to have to be paid at a later date. Extra rehearsals, costumes, and anything else needed for concert. The venue and also teachers qualifications can play a part on fee prices.
QUALIFICATIONS & CORRECT DANCE PRACTICES
Whilst the dance industry here in Australia is not regulated, it is so important to ensure the teachers at the dance school you choose are qualified to ensure your child is being taught correctly. The majority of children are dancing for fun, but even then a child could receive an injury if not taught correctly. Pushing a student above their age, body, strength and ability can have serious consequences which can impact on their dancing. It can also jeopardise the body for future growth. Following a syllabus can ensure a student is learning the essentials and is progressing correctly.
It is essential to ensure the venue the lessons are held at has equipment and flooring to assist the growth of any dancer. Mats, mirrors and barres are just some things to help a dancer. Flooring in my option would be the first thing to check when looking at the studios. Sprung floor is the only floor a dancer should be dancing on. If it isn't sprung, it can result in injuries to the students back, ankles, shins, knees and hips if danced on for an extended period of time.
Now not every student wants to do exams or compete and that is totally fine. There are many schools that do offer this and many schools that don't. Exams ensure the dancer's progression, dedication and hard work is acknowledged whilst also helping the students prepare for a future in dance. If your child is wanting to do competitions, I would personally try to find a school that is about the growth and fun at a competition not just winning. Whilst it is great to win- the fun, friendships, confidence and improvement of a student on stage is worth so much more than any trophy.
Dancing is a sport and 95% of the students at a dance studio are under 18. Meaning they are all just kids!! Let them be kids! Don't make them grow up quicker then they need to. Age appropriateness in songs, dance moves and costumes are so important. So is being taught by passionate and fun teachers who want to be there and want to help grow the future generation of dancers, dance teachers or what ever path they may choose. Being apart of a studio should be like being apart of another family. Everyone is just as important as the next, and everyone should feel welcomed and included!
Do they have values they believe in? Find out if they do and ask to see them. Have a read over them and see if they align with what you believe in and maybe have at your own home.
I would highly recommend going and trialling all of the available dance studios and classes. Most studios will offer a free trial to see if they child enjoys the class before you sign up. Even though your child may have friends at a particular studio- it shouldn't be the main reason to go to that studio. Every child is different. Every child likes something different. Not every class, teacher or studio will be a fit for everybody. You and only you will know when it is the right fit for you and your child!
All of the above is not aimed at any studio, it is based off my opinions and what I believe and instill in my studio. I am passionate about ensuring all of the above happens for every child in the dance world and even more so in my own studio. I want to ensure all of my students are taught correctly, appropriately and included. Which is why I only hire teachers or staff members who do align with my values.
Now everyone is looking for something different in a dance studio, but I hope the above information helps to choose the one for your child. In the end of the day, you and your child need to be 100% happy and that's all that matters!
Happy choosing and have a great 2018 dancing year!