Dance studios are a lucrative business, and most parents have a lot of options to choose from when picking a studio for a child who’s developed an interest in the performance arts. It can be overwhelming, but your child deserves an environment that will provide them with the best opportunities within your means. Before you decide on a dance studio in which to enroll your child, consider these lessons, and let them be a barometer for the selection process.
Hone in on Your Child’s Interests
There are a number of different styles available and different schools offer varying courses and possess varying proficiency in the various dance arts. Sit down with your kid, and watch videos about the various styles. Once you have an understanding of the type of dance that interests your child, you’ll be better able to find a school that suits their needs. Jazz and hip-hop is great choice for kids with boundless energy and a passion for improvisational and creative expression. Ballet and tap dance demands a stronger commitment to precision and fluid, graceful movement. Acrobatic dance demands an exceedingly high level of athleticism. It’s a great choice if your child possesses a fierce competitive streak.
Take their interest level into consideration. A passion for dance can last a lifetime, but a child with a budding interest in the art could quickly be scared off by a more rigorous and professional program. Similarly, driven kids who know what they want and wish to push themselves to their limits could be easily bored by a program that’s more casual and catered to students below their skill level. You can also call schools ahead of time to see if they’ll let your child observe. This is an especially great option because it allows your kid an intimate experience with what dance classes are like and can help them decide how committed they really are.
Evaluate the Costs
While your kid should have all the tools they need to succeed at dance and make it a cornerstone in their educational growth, there are practical concerns to keep in mind. Equipment like tutus, tap shoes, and other purchases can quickly add up, and they can vary depending on the style of dance that your child decides to pursue. Make sure to calculate them into your budget before determining what class is comfortably within your family’s price range.
Connect With the Instructors Directly
If your child decides that dance is something they’ll want to pursue more fully, they’ll be spending a lot of time with their teacher. Just as important, the quality of care that the instructor puts into getting to know your child and teaching them the fundamentals could mean the difference between investing in a short-lived fancy and fostering a lifelong passion. The school’s website is a great place to start, as many offer biographies of all the instructors on staff; but once you’ve narrowed down your options, you’re going to want to take the time to speak with the prospective instructors face to face. Treat it like a job interview, and ask the questions that matter to you and your child. Their experience in the field is important, but it can also be important to know their philosophy on teaching. A teacher who emphasizes fun and expression will provide a far different experience than a disciplinarian striving to push their students to the peak of their abilities. If your child is old enough to properly engage, consider bringing them with you on these face to face meetings to ask questions themselves. They’re the ones who are going to spending the majority of time with their instructor, so it’s important to make sure that there’s a chemistry and excitement about the class.
Examine the Studio Closely
While the right instructor can make a world of difference in a student’s success, the quality of the studio can tell you a lot about their level of professionalism and commitment to their craft. Remember that this is a space where your child will be spending a lot of time, so you want to make sure the facilities are comfortable and inviting as well.
Don’t Neglect the Social Component
Dance is a great way to teach the importance of discipline, hard work, and a commitment to the craft, but the hours your child spends in the studio could also have a significant impact on their social growth. Bring your kid to watch a performance at your prospective schools, pay close attention to how the group works together. Evaluate whether they’re age appropriate for your child and how they interact with each other. If your child has friends already engaged in dance programs, you may want to consider seeing if your child can enroll in these programs. Having a support network already in place can help them branch out to meet new friends and receive the push they need to stick with the work even when it becomes difficult.
Do Your Due Diligence
Check out online reviews to get a feel for the general attitude towards the school, and look into social network communities in your area. Ask their parents about their opinions on the program to receive a more personalized and detailed understanding of how the school operates.
Dance can be a fun and exciting pastime, work together follow the tips above to find the class that’s right for them.