5 Things Every Parent Should Know Before Choosing a Dance Studio
If most dance studios seem to have qualified, friendly teachers, experience teaching children, aren't they all pretty much the same? Does it really matter which studio you decide join? Yes. There are 5 main things that can make a 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 5 things that every parent should consider before deciding on a dance studio for their child.
1. Focus on Teaching
- We believe that music is a vital part of education that is all to often neglected in schools. It is our goal to instill a love of music in our students that will last a lifetime. Therefore, we teach MUSIC, not just "instrument lessons".
2. What is the size of the class?
- If the dance class has fewer students in it each child will receive more personalized attention, learn more and have more fun. With younger students it is easier for a teacher to maintain control over the class and make sure each student understands the concepts and instructions. Our smaller class sizes make sure that no fundamental concepts are being missed. A smaller class size also allows our teachers to ensure that students are not developing bad habits or improper technique. This also allows us to raise the level of expectations; therefore our students can progress with their skills at an increased rate.
- Our Studios limit all of our classes (ages 6 and up) to a maximum of just 15 students per class. If at any point these classes exceed 15 students, we add an assistant teacher for every 7 students. With our (ages 3-5) we limit all of our classes to a maximum of just 10 students per class with one assistant teacher. If at any point these classes exceed 8 students, we add an assistant teacher for every 4 students. Academy of Performing Arts believes that every student should have the opportunity to dance; therefore we will not turn any child away because of class size, the student's ability or past dance experience. Instead we will add assistant teachers or create a new class.
3. What are the "extras" required for the year?Most Recital Studios will have you pay for recital-DVD, t-shirt, trophy, purchase tickets to attend, donate time to work recital, and pay recital fee.
- Our Studios has 1 recital fee this includes: Rental for facility, custodial, security, Staff, Backdrops, Insurance for event, and every dancer receives a T-shirt, Trophy, DVD, program, and 3 tickets.
- Competitive studios attend several competitions each year. Several of these competitions are out of the area, or even out of the state. With all of this distance to travel, there are additional costs and time. Students are required to attend competitions, extra practices to prepare for those competitions and performances and some studios have a year-end show. There are competitions, costume fees, alterations fees and gym rental fees. Additionally some require new dance wear purchases that change every year.
- Our Studios offers both non-competitive classes and competitive teams. If you participate competitive team there is no more than 3 required competitions and all of the required competitions are in the local area; most are in the Montgomery County area. We attend Nationals in Galveston if we qualify. Our competition fees are reasonable because there is no need for additional costs like hotels rooms, extra meals and gasoline. Our dancewear does not change every year. All costumes and required dance wear is age appropriate.
4. Can I get immediate assistance and customer service?
- In many studios the teacher or the studio owner conducts classes as well as taking care of the administration aspects of the studio. 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 costumes, schedules, payments and private lessons even if a teacher is occupied in a class. At Academy of Performing Arts we love to get parents feedback about teachers, classes, etc. We would like for our families to feel some ownership in our programs.
- Our 1488 Studio has office staff on hand during all regular class times, so you can get immediate assistance. We also have our phone calls forwarded so your calls will be answered when we are not in the office. The office staff produces a weekly and monthly letter about updates and general information to keep the parents and students informed. All students have a file folder that contains these notices as well. Our studio information is also available on our website and is updated weekly or more frequently as needed with information for students and parents.
5. What University Training and safety training does the staff have?
- Most Studios do not require any training whether it be safety or University training.
- Our Studios ALL our teachers are university trained and many have advanced degrees in music education and music performance. As well as most of our staff members is CPR, difib, and 1st Aid certified as well as VIRTUS (Protecting God's Children) certified.