Registered: 1332216704 Posts: 1,003
Reply with quote #1
Looking at other threads, I've been thinking how its very hard to know what to look for in a studio until you are already immersed in the world of dance. Can we make a list of qualities that we think indicate a good studio? (Try to explain what you mean so that a new dance parent can understand.)
I'll start with: Hands on corrections. I want to see the instructors physically adjusting my dancer into proper positions. and Senior groups whose members dance similarly with straightened knees and pointed toes. (I figure its unlikely to see groups dance with identically matched bad technique, so if the older dancers dance similarly - its probably an indicator of good training). What would you add?
High Silver Member
Registered: 1451919797 Posts: 136
Reply with quote #2
-I 100% agree with the hands on corrections. Or at least where the teacher is right there focused on the child and making small finite correction to the most minute of details.
-A lot of technique classes on the schedule in different genres -during group rehearsals kids should be told individually what they can do to improve. Not only corrections to the group as a whole -a good variety of teachers -classes being leveled appropriately. Not a huge range of levels within one class together.
High Platinum Member
Registered: 1298213712 Posts: 4,143
Reply with quote #3
Alumni- While not every student is going to be a dancer, a studio that is not brand new should have some alumni that have moved on to dance outside of the studio. Look at what's listed. If this is a school that is truly pre-professional as SO many proclaim, there should be some actual professionals listed. This can range from dancers on cruise ships, to Broadway type performers, to dancers in professional companies. Maybe even a listing of dancers on college teams (some are extremely competitive to join).
Awards- Be cautious of putting too much stock into the trophies and awards at the studio. There are dance competitions that give out so many trophies that everyone goes home with on. There are also competitions of varying quality. It's really a tough area to judge because XYZ comp might be very competitive in one region and not so much in another.
Ballet- Serious dancers understand that ballet is the backbone of everything. An hour long ballet class is fine for a younger dancer, but an actual ballet class takes a full 90 minutes.
Pointe- Going along with the above, if there is only an hour long ballet class on the schedule and there are dancers in pointe shoes at that studio who are not getting more ballet. it's not only not a strong studio, it's not a safe one.
Teacher qualifications- These can be hard to read as well. I am not impressed if a dancers main qualification as a teacher is that they trained at that same studio. I often see that the least qualified teachers teach the youngest dancers (ie teens teaching the 3-8 yr olds). In reality, I think that the most trained, those with a background of some sort in child development, are the ones that should be teaching that age group. It doesn't have to be an actual degree in education, it can even be a dance teacher training course of some sort. I think understanding the physical development of children at these ages (and up) is critical and often overlooked. Probably should not have mentioned this for new dance parents because it is hard to find!
Registered: 1332216704 Posts: 1,003
Reply with quote #4
Good points. I'll add to teacher qualifications that the parents can look at the teacher biographies too. What kind of dance training do the teachers have themselves? Where have they danced in their careers? Do any of the teachers still dance professionally?
Also is someone skilled in dance demonstrating skills well during class. This can be the teacher him/herself or an advanced dancer assistant.
High Gold Member
Registered: 1407373522 Posts: 549
Reply with quote #5
When kids above the age of 8 or 9 are only offered ballet once a week, and are in classes less than 90 minutes at ages 10 and up, it is a red flag. Pointe classes scheduled without a preceding ballet class, or offered to dancers younger than 12 years old or those not taking ballet classes several times a week, are also signs of a studio that isn't offering solid training.
It's hard for a nondancer I think to really recognize good technique at first, at least it was for me. But good ballet is hard to fake. We went to a performance of the rec. center dance program DD started in. It was easier to look past lackluster technique and choreography when the kids were doing upbeat jazzy numbers. Once the Nutcracker excerpts started it was excruciating,and I don't think a trained eye was required to pick up.on it. When DD was dancing there, I couldn't have pinpointed the technical problems, but I could see that something just didn't look right when the girls did ballet, especially Pointe, and started looking into better schools when she hit age 5.
Registered: 1339248963 Posts: 2,389
Reply with quote #6
I agree with all of the above.. in regards to hands on corrections, this is so important, but might be hard for non dance parents to understand how important it is. we had a parent at our old studio file a complaint with the police department because SO gently corrected the position of a young dancers head. Luckily there were parents watching who were witnesses for SO and charges were dropped, it was nuts.
Registered: 1386257005 Posts: 13
Reply with quote #7
I want to see the girls sweating when they exit a technique class. This means working hard enough with the air conditioner running at 70 in Texas during the early summer.
Registered: 1486178785 Posts: 448
Reply with quote #8
Variety with regards to staff. While I think it's a natural progression that some teacher's assistants may be alumni or current senior students, when the entire studio runs on alumni and students and there is a lack of depth and variety of backgrounds you get a limited experience as a student. In my opinion, a good studio, one that is good for your child is also good for its instructors and is a place that people with talent and a desire to teach want to be associated with. A place that stays insulated and holds the rest of the world at arm's distance would be unlikely to provide top notch training.