Five Things Every Parent Should Know Before Choosing a Dance Studio
If most dance studios seem to have qualified, friendly teachers, experience teaching children, and a big show at the end of the year, aren’t they all pretty much the same? Does it really matter which place you decide to enroll your child? The answer: Yes. There are five main things that can make a huge difference in the quality of instruction your child receives, the amount of extra work and hassles parents must deal with, and the overall enjoyment and satisfaction of being involved in a dance program.
1. Can I observe my child’s class?
It is important to support your child by being aware of his or her progress, and it is comforting to know exactly what takes place in the classroom. Some dance studios do not allow parents to observe class at all. This poses a disadvantage to families by considerably reducing the opportunity for parents to see their child’s growth. Additionally, parents pay for the lessons, so they should have the opportunity to see their dancer. Other studios allow parents in the classroom for each dance lesson. This classroom traffic can be a distraction to both students and teachers, and, ultimately, reduces the quality of the learning environment. So, how can you watch the dance class without disrupting the classroom?
Through the use of our unique video observation system, we encourage parents to view their child’s classes. At Caledonia Dance Center, one or more cameras are set up in each of our three studios. These cameras are specially wired to a video monitor, which operates in our waiting area. Parents are able to observe their child, the instructor, and other classes all from our reception area without interrupting class progression.
2. 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 any cushioning or support, so the shock of dance movements can place a lot of pressure on the knees and back of a dancer. The best way to prevent potential injury is by choosing a studio with either a professional hardwood or “floating” floor.
A floating floor is a dance floor that rests on a system of high-density foam to absorb the shock of jumping. A high-density foam base is superior to a “sprung” floor, which usually consists of a wood structure built on the regular floor. The top layer of the floating floor is also an important factor. A vinyl composite “marley” floor is accepted worldwide as the ideal surface layer for recreational and professional dance. Facilities such as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Riverdance – The Touring Show use marley floors as their dance surface. A marley floor is not slippery, but still allows dancers to slide with a degree of “controlled slip.” With this type of floor, there is less risk of slips and falls. Very few studios use professional marley floors because of the expense involved, and usually opt for a regular floor tile for a studio floor.
A professional hardwood floor is a one-of-a-kind dance surface due to the huge expense involved in building a wooden dance floor. Like a floating floor, our hardwood floors are designed to give way as downward pressure is exerted, thus reducing fatigue and helping prevent injuries.
All of our studios have professional hardwood or “floating” floors that cover over 3,100 square feet of classroom space. Our special floors help reduce the risk of injuries and allow students to dance longer without getting tired.
“You’ve got to look the part to play the role.”
Many famous New York City dance studios and ballet facilities are spread over one or more upper levels of a city building. They have huge picture windows and large dance rooms. Some of these famous dance schools include Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway, and The American Ballet Theatre. Over 700 miles from NYC, in Caledonia, Michigan, our dance center shares this Broadway feel. Its 4,800 square feet covers the second story of an historic city block with 16 six-foot windows, all of which promote our New York City ambiance. Our largest dance room is virtually the size of a large theater stage.
3. What are the “extras” required for the year-end show?
Most studios put on a year-end show in a professional theater. Students that perform in the show must have costumes for their dance number. Some studios may require parents to sew their child’s costumes or find their own seamstress to do the alterations. This can be inconvenient and frustrating for parents who are busy or can’t sew. Most studios also charge recital fees. This fee is typically charged according to the number of dances in which the child performs and can add up quickly.
Caledonia Dance Center uses its own professional seamstress to sew and alter costumes, so parents do not have to worry about costume hassles. Also, we provide a detailed recital packet of information, which breaks down particulars ranging from performance hairstyles to dress rehearsal schedules and much more. We do not charge recital fees. Our goal is to have professional, hassle-free recitals that are enjoyable for the dancers and families alike.
4. Can I get immediate assistance and customer service?
In many studios, the teacher or studio owner conducts classes and does the administration. By trying to do two important jobs at once, the class may suffer as the teacher has to use class time for customer service, or the studio may have no customer assistance available if the teacher is in class. To have a good experience, it is important to choose a studio that can assist you with details like costumes or schedules even when the teachers are occupied in class. Caledonia Dance Center has office staff on hand during all regular class times, so you can get immediate assistance.
5. What kinds of dance moves will my child learn and will the costumes be appropriate?
In this day and age, young people are exposed to explicit lyrics in songs on the radio and suggestive dance moves and costuming on television. Great dancing does not have to be made up of these things. It is important to us at Caledonia Dance Center that students receive the optimum professional dance instruction from worthy role models without exposure to some of today’s improper styles. Our instructors and staff lead professional classes in a fun and caring atmosphere where students leave feeling more confident and educated. Also, our costumes are modestly chosen and designed to fit the music and style of dance.