Brand New to Dance Classes?
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Six Questions Every Parent Should Ask
Most dance studios seem to have qualified, friendly teachers, experience teaching children, and a big show at the end of the year, so aren't they all pretty much the same? Does it really matter which place you decide to enroll at? Yes. There are 6 main things that can make 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 6 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 enough 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 sprung floor."
A floating, sprung floor is a dance floor that rests on a system of uniformly patterned sub-flooring, which allows for even resiliency while dancing. This floor is built on top of a durable cushioning material to absorb the shock of leaps and jumps. Our special floors help reduce the risk of injuries and allow students to dance longer without getting tired.
Our professional dance floor is patterned after the same dance floor system as at the world renowned New York City Ballet.
2. Is there a beautiful well run year-end show?
Not all studios put on a yearend show in a professional theater. If they have a performance some schools don't even use costumes. Some studios ask parents to sew children's costumes, or pay extra if they are not able to do the sewing. This can be inconvenient and frustrating for parents who are busy or can't sew, and is disappointing for the dancers who have worked so hard through the year.
Our studio orders costumes from professional companies and we always work to match the artistic elements of the dance with the appropriate costume for each age group. Our teachers are exceptional choreographers who choose costumes that bring out the expression and artistry in each dancer. While some studios allow students to wear just class leotards and skirts on stage, we believe a beautiful costume helps dancers get into character, have the confidence and motivation to perform their best and make their parents proud.
Many studios also require parents to purchase tickets for the performance night. At our studio, there are no tickets to buy, required amount of tickets to sell, or donation jars to make audience members feel guilty. Instead, we charge a modest performance fee and encourage students to invite their family and friends to join them for the show. The emphasis is then placed on encouraging the dancers on their special day and enjoying the performance.
3. Can I learn one style of dance without being required to take other types of dance?
Yes! We provide the freedom to choose from many styles of dance or to concentrate on one specific dance discipline. There are schools that require a student interested in learning Jazz or Tap to also take Ballet. We discuss class options with students and parents (from over 50 classes offered), and then allow them to make their own choices.
This allows the student whose interest is primarily one discipline (ex. Ballet, Jazz or Hip Hop) to have the option of taking multiple classes within that discipline and not be frustrated by being required to pay for classes in which they have no interest.
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 makeup classes, costuming or schedules, even if a teacher is occupied in a class. Our studio has office staff on hand during all regular class times, so you can get immediate assistance.
5. Are there any performance opportunities besides the year-end performance?
Some schools only have the yearend show with dancers in their classroom attire, or even exclude the little ones from performing. As students become more accomplished, they often find that performing once a year is not enough. We offer opportunities for students to participate in dance performances held throughout the year. We are pleased and honored for a group of our dancers to be performing this year in Miami at the famous Orange Bowl!
Other performances include the Holiday Spotlight at the Paramount Theater, Toy Lift, Children's Medical Center, First Night Virginia, and community festivals. National opportunities have included dancing at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, in the New York City Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and in Washington DC at the National Cherry Blossom Festival. We have two performance groups with dancers chosen by audition. Some dancers perform only ballet, while others are multi-disciplined and also perform Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Hip Hop or Theater Dance with different levels of expertise and involvement.
6. Can I wait for my children while they are taking class?
Yes. There is ample lit parking and our studio has main floor waiting areas with amenities including current magazines, books and toys for children, free Wi-Fi with areas to do homework or use your computer. Convenient shopping centers are less than a mile away at Forest Lakes and Hollymead Town Center. Stores include Target, Harris Teeter, PetSmart, Food Lion, Starbucks, CVS, Walgreens, UPS Store, nail and hair salons, an ice cream store, and numerous restaurants to eat in or take out. We also offer two Parent Observation Days where parents sit inside the dance rooms so the students can show off what they've learned.