No two dance or performing arts studios are the same
Trying to find a good studio can be a process. Unfortunately in the United States there aren't any licensing or certification requirements for dance or performing arts studios, therefore it is important that you choose carefully and wisely since improper training can result in physical injuries and frustration. So how do you choose? What questions should you ask when touring studios? What answers should you be looking for from a studio director?
Here are 5 important questions that you should ask any studio that you are researching, and our answers:
1. How do I know I will receive quality instruction?
It's important to make sure your child's instructors are qualified. Anyone can claim to be a dance teacher, and a good dancer/performer doesn't necessarily mean that they will be a good instructor. Look for someone with a degree in their field (dance, music, etc) from an accredited institution. Ask if the school has a syllabus or curriculum for the styles that they teach. A good school will have a carefully designed syllabus of instruction, and an excellent school with have lesson plans for each class to provide a cohesive flow to your child's performing arts education.
Here at Studio Dansu, Miss Jayme the Owner and Artistic Director has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre Arts with a minor in Dance and an emphasis in Music from UW - Eau Claire, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Dance from UW - Madison. She is also an ABT Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT National Training Curriculum, and an Acrobatic Arts Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the Module One Acrobatic Arts Teacher Certification Course. All other Studio Dansu Instructors have attended their own professional and technical teacher training through Studio Dansu and our affiliates including (but not limited to) Dance Masters of Wisconsin, Rhythm Works, and Youth Protection Advocates in Dance.
2. Are there performances?
An end of season performances gives students valuable stage time, as well as the opportunity to show what they've been working so hard on over the course of the year. Dance, Singing, and Acting are performing arts after all! The end of year performance should compliment classroom training, not replace fundamentals. Also make sure you ask about any additional fees associated with the showcase. Some studios charge costume fees, performance fees, media fees, etc. You don't want to be surprised halfway through the year!
Studio Dansu believes that technique and fundamentals should not take a backseat to performances. We want all of our students to receive a quality and structured performing arts education, so while we devote some of our time to preparing for our performances, we don't stop working on technique and expanding our performing arts education. We also don't charge any costume or additional fees for participating in our Winter In-Studio Showcase or Spring Performance at the Overture Center.
3. What is the instructor to student ratio?
A low student to teacher ratio allows for more personalized attention so all the children can learn more. Older students can grasp concepts and instructions quickly and are easier to manage, so a good ratio for students age 8 and up is about 12 students per instructor. Younger students need more attention, which means the ratio should be lower, no more than 8 students for each instructor. An appropriate ratio allows for instructors to ensure that students are not developing bad habits or improper technique.
Our instructor to student ratio at Studio Dansu is very low. We try and keep all classes that are ages 2.5-5 to no more than 8 students, and our older classes max out at 10 (ages 6-8) or 12 (ages 9 and up). One on one notes are important to us, and help give students the attention that they need to improve.
4. What should I look for in a facility?
A quality facility will provide a clean and safe environment and offer amenities such as a parent waiting area, viewing monitors/windows, mirrors, adequate rest rooms, etc. But the single most important thing about a performing arts facility is the type of floor that is used in the studios. Floating floors are specially designed to reduce dancer/performer fatigue and prevent injuries, therefore you should select a school that comes equipped with proper floating floors.
Our current location has a parent waiting area with a live feed of the studio on a large monitor, handicap accessible restrooms, and a kiddie corner with toys and books for younger siblings who are waiting. We have a studio with floating floors, high ceilings, wall-to-wall full length mirrors, and portable ballet barres.
5. What are the costs of classes, and what are the extra expenses?
A reputable studio will give you honest answers about all pricing up front with no surprises. Of course besides tuition, the proper apparel and shoes are required for classes, and sometimes an annual registration fee is charged to hold your spot in class, cover insurance, etc. Many studios also have you sign a contract and will continue to charge you if you decide to withdraw from classes before the season is over. Some studios also charge fees associated with their performance, costumes, media, etc. Make sure you know what you are signing up for!
At Studio Dansu we offer reasonably priced tuition for our classes which cover the cost of our studio location and our qualified and experienced instructors. Upon registration a small non-refundable registration fee and deposit are collected to hold your child's space in class, and will later be used towards any performance needs. We do not charge any performance/recital fees or for costumes! We do have a dress code that is enforced in our classes, and require our students to dress in a uniform look. This allows us to focus on the class as a whole, but also helps to put the students in the mindset that helps them be more attentive and ready to learn. For more information about our dress code, please see your parent portal, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org