4 THINGS EVERY PARENT SHOULD KNOW BEFORE CHOOSING A DANCE STUDIO
If most dance studios seem to have qualified, friendly teachers, experience teaching children and a big show at the end of the year, aren't they all pretty much the same? Does it really matter which place you decide to enroll at? Yes. There are 4 main things that can make a huge difference in the quality of instruction your child receives, the amount of extra work and hassles the parents must deal with and the overall enjoyment and satisfaction of being involved with a dance program. Here are 4 things that every parent should consider before deciding on a dance studio for their child.
1. WHAT TYPE OF DANCE FLOOR IS USED?
Dance is a very physical activity that requires a lot of jumping, which can put stress on bones and joints. Most dance footwear does not provide any cushioning or support, so the shock of dance movement can place a lot of pressure on the knees and back of a dancer. The best way to prevent against potential injury is by choosing a studio with a professional "floating floor". A floating floor is a dance floor that rests on a system of high-density foam, to absorb the shock of jumping. A high-density foam base is superior to a "sprung" floor, which usually consists of a wood structure built on the regular floor. The top layer of the dance floor is also an important factor. A vinyl composite "marley" floor is accepted worldwide as the best surface layer for recreational to professional dance. Facilities such as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Royal Academy of Dance in London, England, and Riverdance - The Touring Show, all use marley floors as their dance surface. A marley floor allows dancers to slide, with a degree of "controlled slip", but is not slippery so there is less risk of slips and falls. Very few studios use professional marley floors because of the expense involved, and usually opt for a regular floor tile for a studio floor. Our dance studios have floating floors that have high density foam blocks under the floor surface and a marley top surface. Our special floors help reduce the risk of injuries and allow students to dance longer without getting tired. Our Black Box Theater is equipped with a floating floor and a wood floor surface. Most of our acting and music group lesson take place here, as well as some dance classes and small studio performances.
2. WHAT IS THE SIZE OF THE CLASS?
If the dance class has fewer students in it each child will receive more personalized attention, learn more and have more fun. With younger students it is easier for a teacher to maintain control over the class and make sure each student understands the concepts and instructions. Our smaller class sizes make sure that no fundamental concepts are being missed. A smaller class size also allows our teachers to ensure that students are not developing bad habits or improper technique. Our studio limits all of our classes (ages 5 and up) to a maximum of just 12 students per class. With our pre-school dance classes (ages 3 - 4) we limit all of our classes to a maximum of just 8 students per class.
3. WHAT ARE THE "EXTRAS" REQUIRED FOR THE YEAR END SHOW?
Most studios put on a year-end show in a professional theatre or school auditorium. Students that perform in the show must have a costume for their dance number. Some studios may require parents to sew their child’s costumes, or pay extra and the parents must find their own seamstress to do the sewing. This can be inconvenient and frustrating for parents who are busy or can't sew. Most studios also require parents to purchase tickets for the recital performance night. Our costumes are professionally made, and we use our own seamstress to alter the costumes, so parents do not have to worry about any costume hassles. Our studio also gives each parent 2 free tickets for our year-end show. This way you as a parent will not be faced with any extra work or expenses.
4. CAN I GET IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE AND CUSTOMER SERVICE?
In many studios the teacher or the studio owner conducts classes and does the administration. By trying to do two jobs at once, the class may suffer as the teacher has to use class time for customer service issues, or the studio may have no customer service available if the teacher is in a class. To have a good experience it is important to choose a studio that can assist you with details like costumes or schedules, even if a teacher is occupied in a class. Our studios have office staff on hand during all regular class times, so you can get immediate assistance.