Although the services can appear the same on the surface, the purpose and caliber of each dance school may be completely different. What do you know which school is the right place for your child?
Many schools are seeking to build a more conservatory-type environment , allowing, for example, a certain number of classes each week. It may be ideal for more serious students but this may pose a problem for the student who loves dancing as one of many other activities. Occasionally there may be exceptions. Don’t be afraid to ask them! If the school is unable to satisfy you, then seek another school where your child is more confident.River Ridge School of Music & Dance
A studio auditioning students for placement purposes or transferring students around if they end up in a class that doesn’t suit their skill is not uncommon. Age groupings are often the norm, but if they are inflexible, that may hold back a talented dancer or move in someone who isn’t ready.
Many schools finish the year with a recital. It is a perfect way of looking at the school’s progressive work. You must find out how genuinely advanced the older students are! Ballroom dancing can be an enjoyable & growth activity for girls,
If the school you ‘re considering isn’t for their recital high energy. In reality, in the fall, some schools start working on the Spring recital! This also significantly reduces the amount of time students are practicing the dance art & technique.
Finding out recital costume fees while you’re looking at a school is smart. While a studio enjoys the glamor of sequin costumes, which can cost you as much as $100 a piece, their show and teachers may not be the caliber you ‘re looking for! For certain schools there is a trend beginning to hold costs down by putting up costumes that can be worn again for lessons or as street-wear. We had exposure in our workshop to a wide variety of possibilities for costuming to support these new ideas. Parents welcomed the lower prices and greater scope for use.
Which policy does the school have on parents watching classes? Some schools have observation windows; some have visiting parent days; some will let you watch at any time as long as you have teacher permission, and some will absolutely lock you out. There are valid reasons for both of these policies, but as a parent you should feel confident with both the policy and any explanations that are needed. If there are visitors in the class, it can be distracting to both the children and the teacher, so please consider that when you have an opportunity to observe.
Will the studio contend? How competitive are the students between themselves? The school’s reputation has nothing to do with its competitive status. Many schools participating have very rigorous schedules and plenty of hidden expenses for uniforms and competition fees. You have to determine if that will work for you, your dancer and your family.
Which happens to former students if the school has been running for a while? Has people gone on to study dance or perform professionally in college? But should they only teach at the school they came from? When the students have had good preparation (unless you’re in a school with a professional firm), chances are they won’t be teaching in the classroom instead of going to class!
I have talked to several college-level dance instructors who regularly lament the girls who have taken lessons at the local dance school for ten years and who have been considered the “star pupil.” Unfortunately, when they get to college, the young people discover that their technique is horrible and they don’t even know basic dance terminology. Such children also have a huge ego from being their former teacher’s pride and joy and it’s really hard to mentor them properly. Wasted all the time and energy! Truly very sad, for parents and dancers alike. Often, after two years of college, these same girls plan to either go back and teach in the local school or open their own workshop! And the loop is on!!
How about the school teachers you have in mind? Where were they studying? What certificates do they hold? Most dance school teachers are members of groups like Dance Masters of America or Boston Dance Teachers Club. These are fine organizations but it does NOT make a person a good teacher to belong to them. Absolutely anyone, (EVEN YOU!), could pass their “teacher test” with a little coaching. It’s preposterous, but real, that absolutely everyone (EVEN YOU) can open a dance school!
Did the teacher study dance with a professional company in college, at a conservatory, performing arts program or program? When the teacher has a list of amazing people with whom he or she has been working, was it for one or two hours, or for at least one year continuously? Will the instructor continue to study dance regularly at professional-quality schools? She handles herself like a dancer? What is its stance? How is his / her observations performing? She is still performing when she’s young? A lot of women played at Radio City Music Hall in New York City with the Rockettes. It means they are tall, they can raise their legs high and with very short breaks, they can do precise work in a group all day long. Yet it says nothing about their ability to teach or to perform ballet, tap or jazz, according to at least one former Rockette.