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General

The Role of Dance Parents at the Studio

Dance moms, dads, grandparents, and other caregivers take on active roles in their children’s dance activities, whether they are dancing for fun, taking part in competitions, or preparing for a professional dance career.  At a time when dance moms may be gaining a questionable reputation on reality television, here are some tips on how you can stay involved at the dance studio in positive ways that will enrich your dancer’s experiences and help keep you connected.

Information Exchange between Studio and Parents
There are a few pieces of emergency contact and health information that dance parents are asked to provide to the studio, and this usually happens during the registration process. Keep this information up to date for easy communication and care in the case of an injury or sickness during dance.

  1. Emergency Contact Information – In case of emergency, who should the dance teacher or studio owner contact on behalf of your child?  If something should happen during dance class, while away at a competition, or at a performance, who are several key people that can be contacted?  Be sure to update the studio owner or office manager when your contact names or phone numbers change as well.
  2. Allergy Information – Things that can trigger allergic reactions can include foods that students may bring into the studio or cleaning products that may be used in the classrooms.  Tell the studio owner and teachers about any allergies so they can be prepared or make any adjustments.
  3. Physical/Medical Information – If there is an injury or physical impairment that may hinder your child from fully participating in dance class, tell the studio.  If it is a temporary impairment, doctor’s notes should be provided so that the teachers are aware of the length of time the student will be unable to dance, when they can begin to participate again, and whether they will be able to perform in certain events.

Participating in the Studio as a Dance Parent
Parents and guardians should make an effort to be involved in “studio life.”  There are many ways to participate from observing class to volunteering or helping with special events. If you drop your child off for class most days, be prepared to reserve days that you will stop in at the studio to check the bulletin board for the latest news, touch base with the instructors, and show an interest in your student’s progress.

  1. Opportunities to Observe – Many studios hold observation weeks or visitors’ weeks a few times during the season, which are a chance for family and friends to sit in on a dance class and see how the students are progressing. Some studios also have viewing windows or closed-captioned televisions. Take advantage of these opportunities when they are provided.
  2. Fundraising Programs – The studio may hold fundraising events, where students and parents have fun opportunities to interact and earn money toward costume fees or recital tickets. These could be car washes, fund drives, dance-a-thons, or other activities.  Additional opportunities can include sales fundraisers where students and parents sell candy bars, frozen foods, or other items to raise money to cover their fees. These activities are a great way for you and your dancer to meet other people from the dance studio and have fun together.
  3. Volunteer Opportunities – Some parents may work backstage at the recital, sell recital tickets, help with costume distribution, or arrange car pools.  There are many opportunities for you to get involved and show the studio owners and teachers that you are invested in your child’s dance activities.

Stay Connected
Studios have a lot of news to communicate throughout the year, and you many have news to share regarding your dancer’s schedule, health, or class activity. Stay informed by reading letters sent home with students, open e-mail announcements, check the website frequently, and read the bulletin board each time you visit the studio. Find out the studio’s preferred method of communication for absences or tardiness, and inform the school about changes in student transportation so that students are safe at all times.

A little bit of communication can go a long way and will let the studio know you respect the efforts put forth toward your dancer’s education. Studio personnel and parents can work together to make sure the students get the most out of their dance experience.  It is a team effort!

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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.

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