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General, How To...

How To Choose A Dance Studio

Before you begin to look at studios, ask yourself why you want to take dance classes.  There are a few possible answers to this question, depending on your previous training (if any) and your needs.  You may want to take classes for fun or recreation, for exercise and health benefits, or for technical training and preparation for competitive or professional dance.  By understanding what you want to gain from dance, you can determine what type of studio fits your needs.

The first step in choosing a dance studio is to research the studios in your area.  Searching on the internet for local studios will provide their contact information and websites.  Studio websites can be a great source of information, and may answer all your questions. It is still a good idea to visit the studios that you are interested in to speak with the owners and teachers directly and to see the studio in person.  There are a few basic questions that you should ask the studio owners:

  1. What is the basic philosophy of the studio?  Keep in mind your answer to the main question above, and make sure that the studio is equipped to meet your needs.
  2. What classes and services are available?  Ask about the classes offered, and the levels of training.  An offering of private classes can be helpful if you may need additional assistance. Also, ask about student participation in community or competitive activities.
  3. What is the level of training  and experience of the teachers?  The studio should have a bio for each teacher.  It is important to remember that a good dancer does not necessarily make a good teacher; their teaching experience is just as important as their performing experience.
  4. What are the fees involved?  Ask about the cost for the dance classes you plan to take.  There will be a different fee depending on the number of classes per week or month.  There may also be fees associated with competitions, recitals, or special events.  You may also want to ask about any deals offered for multiple-student families or registering at a certain time of year.

Once your questions have been answered, ask if you can observe a class that is close to your age and ability level. While in the class, observe the atmosphere of the studio. Are the students friendly with one another? Do they seem comfortable with the teacher? Does the class size and level of training meet your needs?

If you are able to talk to the current students and/or parents, remember that not everyone can be pleased all of the time; take each comment at face value, and use their opinions in conjunction with the information from the studio owner and your class observation.

Ultimately, choose the studio where you feel most comfortable and where your needs can be met.

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About Terry

Terry Finch is a dance teacher and choreographer with an extensive training and teaching background that spans 26 years. Terry has held a variety of teaching positions, from assisting instructors at her dance studio, to teaching at summer performing arts camp, and leading college level master classes. She is currently in her fourth year as a dance teacher at a studio in central Pennsylvania.

5 Responses to “How To Choose A Dance Studio”

  1. On August 4, 2011 at 7:24 pm Doris responded with... #

    I have a 9 year old dancer boy, why no article refers to boys? And its so dificult to find dancing wear for boys?

    • On August 4, 2011 at 8:09 pm admin responded with... #

      Hi Doris,

      Thank you for the feedback! The information in several of the current articles applies to all dancers, and some is geared for girls, but we absolutely do plan to incorporate more topics specifically for boys in dance very soon. Are there any issues you would be interested in reading about specifically? You can also visit our category of dancewear for male dancers here: http://www.allaboutdance.com/dance-clothing/mens-and-unisex/page1

    • On August 26, 2011 at 3:22 pm Tyler@All About Dance responded with... #

      Hello Doris,

      Being a male dancer myself, I definitely would have to agree with you on the point of the limited selection available to male dancers. Unfortunately, for every male dancer you’ll find, there’s going to be another ten or twenty females demanding different kinds of products. While this makes it difficult for a company to try and cater to everyone’s needs, over the years I have a found a few basic gems that are my go-to items that I’d love to share with you.

      Before I start, I’d like to first point out that I’m 26 years old, stand 6’3” tall, and weigh about 220 lbs. I was trained in classical ballet, and due to my size I primarily do a lot of partnering work. The items I suggest might not quite fit your 9 year old yet, but he’ll be there soon enough if he keeps with it.

      Starting with shoes, I still use and love the very first pair that I tried on, the S1C Sansha Unisex ‘#1 Pro’ Canvas Ballet Slipper. I wear a street size 13W US, so I order a size 17W in this shoe. The shoes are durable and generally last me about 6 months, the white and black colors are very vibrant, and the inside lining is comfortable on bare feet. Even though it’s advertised as a unisex shoe, it’s actually sized for women, so men will need to order several sizes up from their street shoe. I would recommend ordering several pair ranging 2-4 sizes up from his street shoe, and then just returning the sizes that don’t fit, since we offer free returns with a pre-paid label through FedEx.

      On to tights, the AB30 Allen Bodywear Adult Men’s Convertible Suspender stands above the rest. The tights are comfortable, the suspender straps ensure they never slip down, both the black and the white have a slight shine to them that gives them a great look on stage, and they are a thick enough material to not be see-through in the slightest in either color. I wear a size XL due to my height and the muscle size in my legs.

      Lastly is the dance belt, which I highly prefer the N5930 Capezio Quilted Dance Belt. I own several styles of dance belts, and by far prefer these while on stage. The quilted cotton lining in the front is very comfortable, works well in dealing with sweat, and keeps everything in place. The nude color is invisible underneath white tights. For these, I wear a size L with a 34” waist.

      I hope these suggestions help a little bit in finding some items that he can stick with as he grows older!

  2. On September 16, 2011 at 1:01 am clarinetti responded with... #

    Hi, great post! Thanks..

  3. On October 23, 2011 at 4:29 pm DAKJ mom responded with... #

    Thanks Taylor, your response is very helpful. My son just started dancing a few months ago and he is now wearing the shoes you recommended. His dance instructor is recommending a Dance belt so I will look into the one you mentioned as well.

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