One of the questions we are most often asked is “what studio do you recommend?”. However this is not a simple question. We have a lot of great local studio’s picking one is a very personal choice, although it’s great to get some feedback from others in the end it is how you and your dancer interact with the studio and teachers and therefore is different for each person. Finding a studio that you and your dancer will be happy dancing at depends on what you’re looking for. So we’ve put together a list of questions that you may want to consider when looking for a dance studio.

Questions To Ask When Looking For A Dance Studio:

What times do you have available?

Look for something that works with your schedule, especially with younger dancers! Having to be in two places at once is stressful so planning your schedule out around what works for you is always best.

Do you have a class size cap? And if so what is it?

Some studio's will cap class sizes to ensure a better one-on-one experiance with the dancers, while others will leave it open so this is always a great question to ask ahead of time so you aren't suprised when you show up to the first class.

Who is teaching the class?

Some studio's will have a certified dance instruction teaching the class while others, especially for some beginner classes, will have a Teacher Assistant. Some studio's for younger classes will have both a certified teacher and an assistant depending on class sizes. A certified teacher will have accrediations from one of the Dance Teacher Associations, the most common assosciations being

Does your child get along with the teacher?

This may seem simple enough but we all interact differently and each teacher has their own style. Attending a trial class before signing up or doing a "meet and greet" is a great way to see if your child and the teacher have a connection.

What kind of program are you looking for?

Recreational: dancers learn the basics of the dance form, usually the second half the of the year focuses on the year end recital performance. Costs are usually minimal including classes, dance apparel required and your recital costume.

Competition: allows dancers to participate in competitions, usually 3-6 per season. Competition will require they take their regular classes as well as specific competition classes, it is usually also required to take a conditioning and ballet class and participate in a summer program that is mandatory. There is a much higher commitment level both in time and money. Dancer's in competitive programs usually dance 5-7 days a week. Some studio's do offer a "mini" or "pre-comp" team for younger dancers which doesn't involve quite the same time commitment.

Exams: in addition to learning the basics and technique of the dance discipline they also work towards completing their exam syllabus. Exams usually take place in the spring.

What are the fee's and what's included in those fee's?

Don’t be scared to ask about money, surprises in this area are never good. Ask if the registration fee covers everything, are there any additional fee’s? Usually year end costumes fee’s are not included in your yearly fees. Find out when additional fees are due. Also find out how payments can be paid. Most studio’s offer a monthly or quarterly payment plan. Some will offer a discount if you pay for your entire year up front or offer multiple class/child discounts.

How do they communicate with parents?

Communication is big, ask how they get their information out to the parents to keep you informed on what’s going on. Do they have a website? A paper or e-newsletter, a bulletin board, or facebook. You want to make sure that you are receiving all the information about your child’s dance program and progress.

Ask around

Do you have friends or family who take classes somewhere? Maybe co-workers? Try and get a few opinions and ask questions that you feel are important or what you’re looking for. Remember though not everyone is looking for the same experiance you or your dancer are so try to talk to parents who are in similar programs to what your looking for.

Once you’ve gone through all these questions you’ll have a better understanding of what each of the studio’s offer and will be able to make an informed decision on what studio will work best for you. Although talk is great being right in the action is even better so trying out a class is always a great way to confirm that you and your child will be happy somewhere. Try out a week of summer camps, if you’ve missed summer camp season you can always ask to try a complimentary class. Or see if they have any workshops or bring a friend to class days. If a studio believes in their service and abilities they should want you to see what they have to offer.

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