With so many dance studios available to parents, and dance artists, how does one choose the one that best fits your lifestyle, and personal goals?
Whether you are an emerging dancer, at professional status, seeking recreational classes, or have a little one who is just beginning their journey in dance, it's always best to arm yourself with the right questions for the dance studios you have in mind.
Before venturing out to research your local studio, ask yourself this question:
WHAT ARE MY GOALS, AND WHAT ARE MY NEEDS?
Create a list of items that you need from the potential studio. For example, if you know upfront that you are seeking recreational classes for a three year old who can only take classes on a Saturday, this will help you when searching for the right fit. Add that "need" to your list. Other items to include on your list can be:
Is the studio accessible? (Elevator/ ramps)
Is there parking?
Are the teachers qualified and certified?
What disciplines are offered? (Tap, Jazz, Ballet, West African, etc.)
Is there proper flooring?
Is there a waiting area?
Is there a year end recital? And if so, what fees are involved?
Is it a competition studio?
What are the payment plans?
What syllabus is used for the curriculum?
Are there annual exams?
Are there company classes?
What ages does the studio serve?
Is there full time programming for pre-professionals/ professionals?
Are there open classes without the commitment of full year registration?
I have a child with special needs. How will they be supported during classes?
Is there an open access window to view classes?
Is there a report card system for students?
What are the office hours?
Is there a dress code during classes?
Does the studio have a relationship with other professional institutions that will successfully allow students to transition/ be supported during their development to higher dance education?
Are there opportunities to tour and/ or present professionally?
Is there after-hour access to my account online?
What other 'perks' or fun programs are available for registered dancers?
What health/safety practices are implemented at the studio? (ie; nutrition programs, exit strategies in the event of an emergency.)
Is there opportunity for students to access a mental health counselor/ nurse?
Is there cross training and conditioning available in the program options?
Is there pre-screeing sessions available prior to the start of the studio season, which allows for new and returning students to be assessed, and meet with a health care professional?
Some dance studios will have the above mentioned information on their website. Upon calling or visiting the studio, don't be shy to also ask about the qualifications of the teachers.
At I.D.I, we solely hire teachers with relevant training and experience. Our teachers have been trained under, or are affiliated with top teaching associations, and training institutions including York University, George Brown College, Dance Masters of Canada (DMC), Dance Masters of America (DMA), Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), The British Association of Teachers Dancing (BATD), Canadian Dance Teachers Association (CDTA) and more.
Whether you choose I.D.I as your home, or a studio that closer fits your needs, ask questions about the teaching body which the studio or teacher may be affiliated with.
Share your past experience in dance with the potential studio. Be as accurate as possible with your working level (Beginner/ Intermediate/ Advanced etc.) Be sure to also share your goals with the studio. This could include:
You wish to have a full time career in dance
You have a desire to perform/ compete
You have a desire to take tests in order to eventually teach
You want to take dance solely for recreational purposes, and for the exercise
Your list of goals will vary, and grow as you do. If you're not sure what studio may be the best option, inquire if your studio of interest has "free" trial classes, or if there is an option to watch a class before registering. It never hurts to ask!
For additional help, we invite you to contact I.D.I for tips, and things to note before committing to your new studio. Call us at: 1-888-236-6799.