Your child wants to dance. Now it’s up to you to find a dance school that will help them achieve their desires. Whether they want to try it for a season or study dance long term, it’s important to make sure their first experience is as enjoyable as possible. Luckily, even if you’ve never danced before, there are ways to figure out which studios are great matches for you and your child.
Before starting basic research on your local dance schools, find out if your child wants to try dance seriously or if they want to try it out for fun. This alone will have a direct effect on prices and possibilities. If they simply want to try dancing because it seems fun, there’s no need to look into enrolling your little one into a prestigious dance academy. All you’ll need is a place that teaches the dance style your child is interested in.
If, however, they express a much more vested interest in dancing, it’s time to sit down and do some research. Since your child is at the beginner level, you don’t need to seek out the best of the best. After all, your child will need to build a foundation before they can hope to understand the nuance that comes from years of practice. That being said, you should certainly consider growth potential. What levels does the dance school offer? What achievements have the teachers earned? Have past students gone on to successfully train in the professional dance scene? If the answers are positive, you’ve found your child a great place to start that also gives them room to grow.
Another thing to consider while researching dance schools is the type of dance your child wants to learn. Are they avid to take tap or is ballet more their style? Do they even know what they want? This answer will help you narrow down candidates as well as support your child’s autonomy in their educational pursuits.
By now you should have a list of dance studios that fit your child’s educational requirements. Now it’s time to look at budget. While it’s always nice to set a budget beforehand, when it comes to classes, it can be near impossible to figure out what the baseline even is before putting together a list. One of the easiest ways to organize all of this information is on a spreadsheet. List the dance schools, their locations, the hours of the classes your child would be enrolled in, and the pricing. Can you pay month to month or is there a yearly package? Which is cheaper? Are there ways to finance the class if it is too expensive? Comparing dance schools, is the pricing fair in terms of what your child will be receiving? For instance, it would make sense that a top-of-the-line dance studio would have a higher base cost than a studio that rents out non-dance spaces to give lessons.
From this list, put together your top five choices and get ready to travel with your young dancer. Reach out to each of these studios and ask for a tour. Also find out if you and your child can sit and observe a class (preferably of a dance style your child is interested in or one with the teacher you’re hoping to have your child study under). While at these meetings, pay attention to the atmosphere. Are dancers joking and having fun or is it serious? How are the teachers interacting with their students? If there are parents around, strike up a conversation. How long have they or their child been taking lessons? Do they like it? Has it been worth it? Are there any things they don’t like? Obviously you’re going to find more candid answers from people that don’t work at the studio. This makes their information invaluable when feeling out if a studio fits.
Also, don’t forget to pay attention to your child on these visits. While a lot of this information is important to you since you’re the one footing the bill, you should make sure your child expresses happiness when exploring the studio as well. They’re the ones that will be taking the classes and their feelings on the subject are just as important. Even if you love a studio, pay attention if your child doesn’t. There’s a good chance they see something you don’t and forcing them to go to a place they don’t want to can potentially destroy their desire to dance.
Dancing, like any art, is highly specific to the artist. This is why there are so many forms of dancing. If your child really wants to put on those tap shoes and strut their stuff on the stage, support them in any way you can. Find great dance studios in the area. Sign them up for classes in their favorite genre. Help them change the genre when they want. Do everything you can to support their enrollment in a supportive yet challenging undertaking and you’ll be fostering a love of learning that will last the rest of their lives.