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  • Denise Akester

What to consider when choosing a dance studio

Enrolling your child in a dance class is one of the most important decisions you can make. It's easy to to assess whether the studio is warm and inviting, if there is a general positive feeling, and whether the other parents seem happy, but here are some other simple things you can look for and questions to ask before making the commitment especially if you haven't danced yourself and dance classes are all new to you.

Qualification of teachers: teachers are responsible for classroom management, curriculum (what your dancer will learn), presentation (how your child will learn), music choices, costumes, choreography, and they may be responsible for teaching across a broad range of ages. Ideally they should have current criminal record checks, appropriate dancer training and education in all of the styles they teach and additional training in child physical and emotional development from toddlers to teens.

Class size: dance provides your child not only with the ability to learn to move their body to music but each class should have structure and discipline in addition to socialization. The class size should be large enough to give your child access to other children their age and to reinforce consistent classroom rules but also small enough for each dancer to receive personalized attention and to still have fun. An important distinction is not just how many dancers are currently in the class but also what the maximum allowable size will be.

Safety: dance is very physical activity and having a proper space is important, especially as your dancer grows. Any jumps or high impact activities need to be done on a 'sprung' or 'floating' sub floor to protect your dancer's joints from absorbing the shock and this subfloor should be covered with a material that is appropriate for each style, such as wood for tap and marley for ballet. The dance space itself should be large enough for your dancer to freely move and to have enough room to complete each activity.

Customer service: quality customer service at the front desk is important. There should be specific office hours and someone available to answer questions. Ideally you should feel like you are getting personal service with clear information and explanations, especially about monthly fees and what is or isn't covered; there should also should be someone available to monitor people entering the studio, ensure dancers are picked up, and to deal with medical emergencies.

**Trial class: not all children are ready to learn to dance and not all styles are suitable for every child so it's important that you find the right class before you commit. It also gives your child a real dance class experience so that they know what they will be doing every week.


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