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jamquint1

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Reply with quote  #1 
I would like to hear about others' experiences who changed studios to go to a new studio. Currently, our local options are sub-optimal, but there is a new studio starting up this summer that sounds promising. 

This studio's owner will be a fresh college grad. However, she has teaching experience at another studio. She danced extensively through college at a good dance program and is obtaining a BFA in dance and in arts entrepreunership. 

Pros (unlike current studio) technique time is separate from rehearsal time. mandatory ballet. very open to outside training, outside choreography, just wants the dancers to get good training. 

Cons: She is young with no experience in running a studio. 

Thoughts?
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nyklane

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Reply with quote  #2 
Question:  What are your goals?  What are your needs?
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jamquint1

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyklane
Question:  What are your goals?  What are your needs?


My son has only been dancer for a year, so his goal would be technique, technique, technique.

My daughter has been dancing x 4 years and competed x 2. However, she is only 7 yo, so determining long-term goals is nearly impossible. I really just want her to get the best training available locally, given the limitations of living in a small community with limited options. I want the hours they spend at the studio to be quality time receiving good training, a non-toxic environment (our current environment borders on toxic at times) 

IDK if that answers your question?
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #4 
The only way you're going to find out is to give it a shot & assuming your son isn't 14/15, I'd say it's worth giving it a chance.  You can always make another change later if it isn't what you'd hoped.  And yeah, I know some wouldn't be keen on that but I never thought the goal should be to find the 'perfect' studio for the long term but rather to just consider it all a journey and make decisions year by year... depending on the needs of the dancer at the time.  My own dd, now 18, is on her 5th studio/school & that willingness to take those chances/make those changes as necessary is very the reason she is where she is today.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #5 
The great aspect to a new studio is that the SO is fully committed to doing her best at all times to make a good impression on the parents, train the dancers, and try to make the business work. Sounds like she has some good training behind her, but she is pretty young. Do you know anything about the new SO's teaching reputation at the other studio?  Another positive for your dancer, is that classes are likely to be pretty small at the beginning, so she should get some nice attention.

Of course many of the negatives are unknown, starting with if the studio is actually going to be able to bring in enough dancers to stay open.  I like that she has taken an academic interest in business, so that is a positive, but she will need enough dancers to pay tuition to stay open, and much of that is beyond her control.  So, will the studio exist the following year? If it doesn't, do you still have other options to go?  It would likely be a little weird to go back to your current studio after leaving them for another - it happens - but not always smoothly.  So are you ready to leave your current studio anyway?

One of the disadvantages to the new studio that comes along with the positive of smaller classes, is that the SO will probably accept all comers, and that is probably true for competitions as well if that is an interest of yours. So even if your dancer is quite advanced, other people in her training and competition groups probably won't be.  It takes a special teacher to make that work satisfactorily for everyone.  e.g. in my daughter's program there are two or three excellent dancers in each age competition age category above petites.  Only the petites have been predominantly trained in the new studio, so everyone else is a hodge podge of dancers (like you would be). 

Another good question to ask is how many studio spaces does the new studio have? And who will be the other instructors?  If there is only one studio, training time per level will be limited by the number of after school hours, and for serious dancers, that would be a problem.  Or if there are multiple studios and classes planned at the same time - the people she hires will be equally important variables to consider.  

If you basically have nothing to lose - you want to leave your old studio and the other established options aren't great - go for it in my opinion.  Just make sure you have some options left if this new venture fails and your dd still wants to dance.

ETA - I read your response above, and I think the situation would be fine for your younger daughter - at 7, there will be other young dancers who can build from the ground up at the new studio.  As for your son, it's hard to know.  If I had a boy dancer, I would be looking for studios with other committed boys if available.  If that wasn't a local option, I would specifically ask about her plan for her fostering his growth as a male dancer.  I feel bad for talented boys who have clearly learned to dance exactly the same as the girls.  


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my2miracles

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Reply with quote  #6 
My daughter went to a start up studio 2 years ago when she was 14.  It's been an awesome experience for her.  She's been given opportunities that she wouldn't have been given at the 2 larger studios she previously attended - like featured roles and assistant teaching.  She get excellent one on one instruction as well. 

SO is older but this is her 1st time running a studio.  She's doing good at it for the most part and accepts constructive feedback from both DD and me as we've been around this world for a long time.

One negative is that DD15 (almost 16) is the oldest dancer at the studio and there is only 1 other senior team girl who is a year younger.  So this year has been solos, trios and duets.  DD is in only 1 group dance and that is with the JR and SR teams combined.

For the most part it works for us though.  DD is looked up to by the younger dancers which has been great for her confidence - we came from a toxic, highly competitive studio where DD was beat down.

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Motherhem

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Reply with quote  #7 
If your kids are young I say go for it. If your environment is toxic already, and the new so focus is on technique, you aren’t losing anything by trying. We changed studios too until we found the right fit. Dd wasn’t very serious about dancing until we landed where we are now.
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dance010

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Reply with quote  #8 
We were in the same situation 2 years ago. A young teacher from DD's then current studio left to go open up her own studio down the street with her family. She was very young (22 I believe). We were currently unhappy at the studio we were at and so we left to go take a chance there. We ended up being on the comp team that season. They were very intense with there technique and that was where DD was lacking. Toward the end of the season, we ran into some MAJOR problems with the studio's business and moral side of things (hiding things, stealing money, overcharging for no reason, bad mouthing kids behind closed doors, etc). Me and some other parents were extremely upset about this, so we had no choice but to leave. But I do have to say, that in that short year, my daughter turned into a completely different dancer. Her technique had a complete overhaul which was what she really needed. For that reason alone, I believe that that year was not a waste of time or a mistake. 

Bottom line: I would say if it seems like there is a chance you guys might be happy there, take the chance. Go for it. It was scary for us choosing to go to a studio that had only been open for 2 months at the time, but looking back, my daughter would not be the dancer she is now without it. Worst case scenario, you just leave the studio like we did, lol!
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jwsqrdplus2

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Reply with quote  #9 
We (kinda) did it twice.

The first time was an established studio where the owners sold to someone else.  New owner was (and still is) a great teacher.  But it was no longer what we were looking for: blatant favoritism despite SO saying everyone was going to get the same type of training.  She immediately picked a group of kids she deemed had the most potential and gave them more training and more opportunities.  There were a lot of families who left at the end of the first year.  We should have left then, but decided to stick it out for 1 more year since we were moving out of state at the end of that 2nd year and we wanted to minimize the loss of friends.  We lasted until Labor Day when something happened, and we no longer felt safe allowing our girls (10 and 7 at the time) to attend the studio.  Ash went to a ballet studio for the rest of that year and took some additional classes taught be a beloved former teacher at a local rec-only studio, and her sister took a couple of classes at the rec-only studio.

Several years later (new state), 3 teachers broke away from the studio we were at and opened their own.  Those teachers had been Ash's primary teachers for 4 years, so she followed them (she was 15 and had just finished her freshman year of HS when the split occurred).  Don't regret it for a second this time!  The new studio is more intense and hyper focused on technique.  Rehearsals are separate from classes, and you do not have to be on the comp team to be in any class; you just have to be at that level technique-wise.  The growth in her last 3 years coupled with an amazing mentor (one of the 3) is why she is currently getting a dance degree in college!

I'm with the crowd that if you kids are still pretty young, it is worth the try.  If it doesn't work out, you can find a studio that is perhaps a better match.  Ash danced at several studios through her training and came away with something from each one.  
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DanceMommy2Riley

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Reply with quote  #10 
My DD switched studios when she was 12. She started dance at age 10 at one studio, stayed a couple years and decided to make the switch. Some of her friends were already at the studio which made her want to make the switch more. Her main reason for switching? She wanted to compete more. Her other studio only competed at 2 comps per season (they really were not a competition studio so to speak), but this studio competes very often. Aside from that, she has always competed as a independent (as well as with her studio at certain comps) because she wanted the opportunity to try different (perhaps more competitive competitions and conventions). Her studio competes often, but locally (we are in Ottawa, Canada), but DD (even at 10) knew she wanted to try more "challenging" competitions and conventions, such as BTF events, NYCDA and YAGP, etc. 

Now, looking back, I believe that the training was better at her previous studio (we are contemplating switching back - still on the fence about that!) Looking back, the competing (or lack there of) really wasn't important because DD competes as an independent and she always had. When she was younger, she loved the stage and wanted to compete as much as possible (even though she could have easily stayed at her old studio and competed as an independent). She really pushed though because she wanted to be with her friends... [rolleyes] Now, she definitely values training over competing, and I feel like she may be "outgrowing" the competition scene. Her goals have also changed with age! I think the most important thing here is for you and your DD to be on the same page when it comes to her goals. Which studio do you think will better help her achieve her goals? Once these questions are answered, you may feel more confident about making the switch. Good luck to you both!!
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Dancedance

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Reply with quote  #11 
I truly believe it's not the size of the studio that matters, it's the training. IF you feel comfortable with the training she is able to get, with the teachers she's able to learn from, I'd say go for it.

We are at a very small studio. We switched 3 years ago when DD was 8. I wanted her to go to the biggest (and best) studio in our state but she was intimidated by going to a studio with 500+ dancers and would rather be at a smaller studio.

That being said, her ballet training is more than exceptional. Her ballet teacher has formal training from Ballet West and has done an amazing job training her and strengthening her technique. Our studio owner brings conventions to our studio, has master classes with Judy Rice, and other very strong National instructors. I truly believe she is getting the same level of education she would have gotten at this bigger studio.

However, I do know of some smaller dance studios that have horrible training, poor teachers and bad technique.

In a nutshell, it's important to consider and LOOK INTO THE BACKGROUND of the teachers training your child, MORE THAN how long they have been in business.

Start-up studios tend to not have the "backing" to hire the best of the best trainers and that's why they don't excel. If the owner has the reach and influence and can bring top notch trainers to your studio, I'd say do it.

I do want to emphasize that DD has been doing ballet/pointe privates for over a year now. Her team is not on pointe and she is. Sometimes, you have to take your dancer's education into your own hands and push a little more if you feel like the team classes alone are not enough.

Good luck!
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #12 
There are so many different data points you can look at, but at the end of the day they are simply data points; you have to make your own decision.

I know folks "certified" in various (non dance) technologies or practices by reputable agencies, and I'll tell you flat out that *some* of those folks are flat out clueless and incapable.

* "Trained under" could mean a year or more of daily training. Or it could be a one hour session at a convention.
* "Performed with xxxx company" could be anything from a minor part in a corps to a lead role.  Which may even indicate great dancing, but of course doesn't say a thing about teaching.
* Bringing a "convention" to a studio? They may be financially efficient, they may offer more personal experiences than offered by the typical conventions, they may offer a fun experience & great master classes and may be 100% worthwhile ... but they aren't "conventions" if only one school is "convening."
* An untested, unproven dance teacher with a freshly minted degree likely won't have a track record of dancing with international companies, won't have a proven track record of producing successful dancers ... but they may very well be an outstanding choreographer & teacher.

My only point is, you can't tell from a brochure or resume whether someone's training/school is going to work.  There is some room for "gut feel." And besides, what works for one dancer may not work for yours.

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hopefuldancer17

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Reply with quote  #13 
If your current options are subpar, and if your dancers are young/early in their training, I really don't see what you have to lose by giving this new studio/teacher a try.
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my2miracles

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave9988
There are so many different data points you can look at, but at the end of the day they are simply data points; you have to make your own decision.

I know folks "certified" in various (non dance) technologies or practices by reputable agencies, and I'll tell you flat out that *some* of those folks are flat out clueless and incapable.

* "Trained under" could mean a year or more of daily training. Or it could be a one hour session at a convention.
* "Performed with xxxx company" could be anything from a minor part in a corps to a lead role.  Which may even indicate great dancing, but of course doesn't say a thing about teaching.
* Bringing a "convention" to a studio? They may be financially efficient, they may offer more personal experiences than offered by the typical conventions, they may offer a fun experience & great master classes and may be 100% worthwhile ... but they aren't "conventions" if only one school is "convening."
* An untested, unproven dance teacher with a freshly minted degree likely won't have a track record of dancing with international companies, won't have a proven track record of producing successful dancers ... but they may very well be an outstanding choreographer & teacher.

My only point is, you can't tell from a brochure or resume whether someone's training/school is going to work.  There is some room for "gut feel." And besides, what works for one dancer may not work for yours.



So true!  DD's former studio was more established but only the ballet teachers had any degrees or advanced training (at least that was good).  DD's current studio is a start up all both SOs and all teachers have degrees in dance.  She's getting way better training.  She has improved so much in the last 2 years and that's with taking 1 year off prior.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #15 
As has been said, "credentials" are funny things.  Sometimes those who appear to be the most qualified on paper can be the worst teachers.  And those who appear to be the least qualified?  They can be the most amazing teachers.  So much of what makes a great teacher can't be taught in a classroom.  You either have it or you don't.  
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Tonksmom

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Reply with quote  #16 
J— we will be dancing at the studio you are talking about next year! So full of energy and positivity. It was a perfect fit for Tonk
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