5 QUESTIONS EVERY PARENT SHOULD ASK
BEFORE CHOOSING A DANCE STUDIO
Parents just like you are researching dance studios all over the country, and they are finding out that not all dance studios are the same. Unfortunately, there are no licensing or certification requirements for dance studios or dance teachers in the United States. Trying to find a good studio can be a trying experience. It is important that you choose carefully and wisely since improper training can result in injury and frustration.
So how do you choose? What questions should you ask? And when you ask the right questions, what answers should you be looking for? Nationally recognized dancer and director of Heart & Sole Dance in Tinley Park, Maren Oslac, prepared the following ‘Five Questions’ to help you in your quest to find a great studio.
How do I know I will receive quality instruction?
ONE - It’s always important to make sure that your child’s instructor(s) are qualified. Dance instructors are not licensed in this country - anyone can claim to be able to teach your child to dance. In addition, a good dancer does not necessarily make a good instructor. Look for someone with a degree in dance and/or education from an accredited institution - OR - for someone certified through a national examining board (like Dance Vision International) or a member of a national organization (like Dance Educators of America). These are good indicators that an instructor knows what to teach, when to teach it, and how it should be taught.
TWO – Be sure that the school itself has a syllabus and lesson plan for each class. A good school will follow a carefully designed syllabus of instruction in the teaching and well being of its students. An excellent school will also have lesson plans for each class to provide cohesive flow to your child’s education. Ask the school to see the syllabus and specific lesson plans before spending your money.
What about performances?
An end-of-the year performance is important! It gives a dancer valuable stage experience, as well as the opportunity to use what they’ve learned during the year. Dance is, after all, a performing art! The year-end performance should compliment your child’s classroom training, not replace fundamentals. Beware of studios that showcase competitors or just a few children. Find out if there are any parents you can contact as references. Also ask about additional fees associated with the showcase, you don’t want to be surprised!
What is the instructor to child ratio?
A low student to teacher ratio allows each student personalized attention, so your child learns more and has more fun. Older students grasp concepts and instructions quickly and are easier to manage, so a good ratio for kids 8+ is one instructor per 15 students (or less). Younger students need more attention, which means the ratio should be lower, about 6 students for each instructor. An appropriate ratio also allows teachers to ensure that students are not developing bad habits or improper technique.
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 parent waiting area, full-length mirrors and adequate rest rooms. The single most important thing 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.
What about customer service and assistance?
In many studios the teachers or studio director conduct classes in addition to handling all administrative duties. This means valuable class time used for customer service issues, or that no one available during class times to help you. To have a positive dance experience, it is important to select a studio with separate front desk staff to assist you with questions when you have them.
Heart & Sole Dance in Tinley Park is committed to providing our students with solid dance training in a caring and nurturing environment. We offer a complete curriculum from preschool age through to adults. Youth programs of study include our highly successful Beginner Ballroom Program, our Performance Troupe for those who love the stage and our Intensive Program for competitors. All of our educators are fully certified.
Maren Oslac is the owner/director of Heart & Sole Dance in Tinley Park, IL. She is a nationally recognized instructor, judge and competitor who has been educating all ages of dancers for over fifteen years. Her passion for excellence in dance education led her to open the Illinois Ballroom Teacher College to train future teachers. She and her staff are available for questions at 708-532-6237.