Choosing The Right Dance School For Your Child
Choosing the right dance school for your child can be challenging given that there are many possibilities available. Obviously, there are many criteria to consider, including location, facilities, cost, philosophy and teachers. Here are some things to consider when starting your child on the journey of dance:
- Philosophy: Some dance schools emphasize recreational dance and some school’s focus on competition, with travel, competition and performance being a big part of the program. Competition schools require more dedication, commitment and, of course, cost – for travel, entry fees and costumes. While non-competitive schools may also have end of the year performances, they tend to be less expensive and local. Both types of dance education are legitimate but have a different emphasis. If you are just looking for a fun atmosphere for your child to learn dance techniques in a relaxed environment, a non-competitive school may be the one for you.
- Facilities: No matter what type of school you pick for your child, it’s important that the dance facilities promote healthy dance training. Proper “sprung” floors, solid barres and the space to accommodate the number of kids in class are crucial. Concrete or tile floors are not shock absorbent and can seriously injure a child’s developing body.
- Teachers: Dance instructors should be knowledgeable about human growth and development and have the right credentials in order to teach. The Canadian Dance Standards, the Royal Academy of Dance, the Cecchetti Council of America and more offer teacher certification programs that emphasize not only the proper dance technique but also focus on the health, physiology and anatomy of a dancer’s body. In addition to a focus on technique and discipline, however, is a teacher’s ability to help their dancers focus on how much fun dance can be.
- A developmentally appropriate syllabus: Whether your child is starting a creative movement class at 3 or an intermediate ballet class at 12, the syllabus of a dance class should developmentally appropriate. Parents should ask questions about classes for older children to learn about the school’s approach to teaching. For example, dancers should not begin Pointe work before the approximate age of 12 so that they are developmentally ready.
- Attend a recital: When deciding on your dance school, attend a couple of recitals to get a feel for the style of dance and the level obtained by the older dancers. If your child stays at one studio, they will only be as good as the older students you see dance at a particular studio. Are the dancer’s relaxed or are smiles forced? Are their costumes too skimpy? Is the school more interested in “tricks” than “technique?” An end-of-the-year recital can be a good look into a school’s philosophy and teaching methods
Although choosing a dance school for your child can seem overwhelming, it really doesn’t need to be if you do a bit of research and it will definitely be worth it in the long run. Any dance experience should be a positive one for your child, with a focus on technique, health and, of course, fun.
- How to Choose the Best Dance Studio for Your Child (danceclassfinder.wordpress.com)
- Why Give Your Child The Gift of Dance? (secondactdancewear.com)
- Ottawa’s Summer Dance Scene (secondactdancewear.com)
- My (Happy?) Dancing Daughter, Part II of VIII (mysylph.wordpress.com)
- Thoughts on Dance Studio (laurasophie.typepad.com)