Location of a dance studio is important, as you might have to drop your child off frequently. Normally, people prefer a place which is nearby their house for easy access. So try to find out a dance studio which is easily accessible for you.
If a studio is being run for quite some time, then it is a good idea to get feedback about that studio from other people, namely other parents, who have been to that particular studio. This will give you an idea whether the studio is suitable to start with or not. However, remember that while a studio might be perfect for one person, it doesn't mean that it will be perfect for you.
Dance Education Offers:
Does the studio provide different dance styles and classes? It will depend upon your choice to either go for a studio teaching a specific type of dance style, or should be the one teaching a variety of dances. Most of the dance studios will offer a variety of dance styles including ballet, tap, and jazz.
Another important thing is the type of dance education offers made by the studio. Does it offer both group and private classes? Practice is important - A good studio is one which offers regular dance practices.
Are the Dance Instructors Professional?
It is also very important that the dance instructors be professional in dancing. They must be well aware of the latest dance techniques and styles. You can ask them about their personal accomplishments in their individual dance field. You can also ask about the teaching method they use in their studio for teaching purposes. Does the instructor possess any degree in his field? Is he/she a registered instructor?
Quality of Teaching:
The trainer/instructor must have the qualities like he should be caring, patient, disciplined, encouraging and must have knowledge of what he is going to teach.
Dancing can give you injuries if not danced on the proper floor or ground. So, always look for a studio whose floor is properly designed for dancing. The best surface for dancing is the "floating floor," which is cushioned so that the floor is soft, not hard or concrete.
Some dance studios are opened for only specified hours, but there are some which are open for regular hours, so they can be approached at any time. Choose the one which will suit you in terms of daily hours.
It is also important to clarify about the fee for the dance lessons. If a dance studio is offering an initial few classes free, then they might get you with high prices later on. So, always check the packages available and compare them to see which one is more affordable for you. Do not forget to ask about the price of the private lessons, which your child may require in the future. Ask about the fee per private lesson, and for how long?
Class Size and Number of Students:
It is true that the lesser the number of students, the more you get the opportunity to learn. Always try to find a studio with less number of students and enough spaced dance areas/rooms, so that your child gets full opportunity of dance and practice.
Make sure their equipment/clothing policies aren't ridiculous. For basic classes, most studios generally only want a basic black or pink leotard, with white or pink stockings and appropriate shoes for the dance style. Anyone requiring anything more than that for children or beginning students might just be a little too hard core for your family, or the studio owners are just wanting to make some extra money (especially if you must buy the supplies through them). Do remember, however, that later on in more advanced classes, such as a ballet pointe class, your child will need special shoes that might be a little costly. But that's down the road, and shouldn't be required up front or for the very basic classes.
Involve Your Child
Bring your child with you to see the studio, the classes and the instructor. He/she needs to feel relatively comfortable there and like the instructor. After your child has been taking lessons for a bit, try asking them what they've learned. If they start telling you about specific positions or dance moves, then it means that they're being taught more than a recital dance and actually learning dance. This isn't definitive, but it can be a good way to figure out what's going on in the class when you're not there to see it.
Ask questions about how the classes are structured and whether or not there is a performance attached to the class. The end of the year recital or performance (if there is one) should be a showcase, icing on the cake, not the focal point of the class or the studio. Students will enjoy the costumes and the excitement of performing, and you'll enjoy seeing your child on stage. Just make sure that dance and building up a solid foundation of dance basics is the most important goal, not putting on a stellar show.
Competitions and Conventions:
There are many studios which also take part in competitions and conventions. This can help your child to improve his or her dancing skills and have fun.
A Word About Competitive vs. Recreational
After deciding on a dance style for your child, the next step is to decide whether to enroll your little one in a competitive or recreational class. Before making that decision, find out what his/her preferences are and weigh the pros and cons of each type of class.
In recreational dance, children are not pressured to competitively perform and they learn the fundamentals of dance with other children in a relaxed atmosphere. Learning is enhanced when children enjoy the classes and have fun first before concerning themselves with achieving the goal of winning in a dance competition.
So, when is it safe for children to participate in competition classes? Age and safety are two important factors that should be considered in making your final choice. Some of the dance styles for competition classes may be too hard and too physically demanding for younger kids. There are recreational classes with specialized programs fit for younger children. These classes expose younger children to the proper techniques of dance and movement without compromising their safety.
If you are interested in enrolling your child in competitive classes, ask your dance instructor for the right time to transition from recreational to competitive. But before you do so, make sure that your child is prepared for the transition.
There are benefits to enrolling your child in a competitive dance class. Performing in front of an audience is an important part of competitive dance. If recreational classes lay the foundation of proper dance technique and movement, competitive dance provide opportunities to develop your child’s confidence in his/her dance skills.
Once children are properly transitioned and progress to joining dance competitions, they can learn the value of discipline, sportsmanship, and goal-setting. Competitions provide opportunities to learn and share techniques from other participants and schools. Competitive dance can also instill dedication in the art since dancers have to spend time practicing and improving dance routines.
Make an informed decision when choosing the right dance class for your child. Inquire about the program, ask the instructor, and weigh the benefits of each option.
Do not rush in selecting a dance studio for your child. Take your time, ask questions and choose the best one in terms of cost, location, timings, offers and facilities.