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teacher and 2 girls learning balletFive Questions Every Parent Should Ask Before Selecting a Dance Studio

By Jennifer Averink

Are you considering enrolling your child in dance lessons? If so, you need to know that not all dance studios are the same. Unfortunately, there are no licensing or certification requirements for dance studios or dance teachers in Canada. So it is important that parents choose carefully and wisely since improper training can result in injury and frustration for the student.

Extracurricular activities for children are abundant and selecting one that is appropriate and a good fit for your child can be difficult.  You want to be certain the activity is an educational and exciting one that will bring your child delightful memories and experiences for years to come. So how do you choose? What questions should you ask? And when you ask the right questions, what answers should you be looking for?

Here are five questions every parent should ask before choosing a dance studio.

1.  How big are the class sizes?

Smaller class sizes allow students to get more individual instruction from teachers, and as a result progress at a faster level than in a large class environment. Smaller class sizes also ensure that the teacher can catch any problems before they turn into bad habits or improper techniques.  For children younger than 7 an optimal class size is not larger than 8.  Above 7 years class sizes should be no larger than 12.

2. Ask about the annual performance

An end-of-the year performance is important! It gives a dancer valuable stage experience, as well as the opportunity to use what theyʼve learned during the year. Dance is, after all, a performing art!  The year-end performance should be designed to compliment your childʼs classroom training – not replace it.

3. What should I look for in a dance facility?

A quality facility will provide a clean, neat, and safe environment and offer amenities such as a comfortable waiting area, full-length mirrors and sturdy ballet barres. The single most important thing you should consider about a facility is the type of floor that is used. One of the best ways to enjoy dance safely is to select a school with floating floors which are specially designed to reduce fatigue and prevent injuries.

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4. Ask about age appropriateness.

Music, costuming and choreography should all be reflective of a studentʼs age and ability level.

In many studios the teachers or studio director conduct classes in addition to handling all administrative duties. By trying to do two jobs at once, the class may suffer as the teacher has to use valuable class time for customer service issues, or the studio may have no customer service available if the teachers are in class. To have a positive dance experience, it is important to select a studio that can assist you with your questions when you need them answered.

Jennifer Averink is the owner/director of the Performance School of Music & Dance, a facility providing music lessons and dance classes for all ages in Burlington and St. Catharines since 1996.  For more information please call the studio at 905-319-8025 or visit http://www.psmusicanddance.com

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