Guide: How to Choose a Good Dance School?
When it comes to dancing, the things are usually not so simple as they may seem. There are several pitfalls or implicit characteristics of a dance studio that newbies may consider unimportant or insignificant, so they don’t pay proper attention it. And this may later cause dissatisfaction of the dance lessons and even dislike of the dances in general.
Choosing a dance school isn't the easiest task in the world to do, especially if you do not know a lot about dance. Perhaps you don't know the questions to ask or certain things to look for. We prepared a questionnaire with a list of most important questions that you should ask when choosing a dance school.
We also prepared most common answers to these questions that manager of a dance school may give. Besides, we give some tips about what you should look for in the answers, and therefore understand what the answer means: whether it is a positive or unfavorable point to the dance school. The questionnaire is universal and is applicable for any dance studio (ballroom, modern, ballet, etc.). We hope it will help you to find the best dance studio in Dubai that fits your needs and expectations. You can use this article as a guide for yourself or, if you are a parent, it will assist you in choosing a dance school for your children. So, let’s begin!
How or when to ask the questions?
First of all, it’s good to Google the dance studios that are near your location (home or office), and then select those that you think are the most appropriate for you. You may consider recommendations from your friends who may already visited some dancing courses. After first contact (phone or email), we recommend to ask the questions in person, face to face.
Most dance schools offer trial dance lessons, where you can get acquainted with dance teachers and instructors. It’s the best time and place for asking the questions directly to the academic staff. Alternatively, you may address your questions to the manager (principal or headmaster) of the dance school. Besides, it’s good to know the administration, the heart of the organization, that defines the path of its development. A person, that possess the most complete information about the dance school, will definitely give you most complete answers to all the questions.
The Philosophy of the Dance School
The conception of the dance school defines its type and everything else. It may sound obvious, that every dance school has the same shared aim to teach you dancing well. However, the goal achievement can be very different. Most dance schools can be classified as recreational and pre-professional. Recreational dance schools focus on "fun" while pre-professional studios focus on "proper dance technique." The experiences will inevitably be different, and each comes with their own expectations and requirements.
Recreational dance schools may be a good starting point, if you consider dancing as hobby. But if you dream about dance competitions (e.g. Pro/Am format, when a couple consists of Professional and Amateur dancers, are extremely popular nowadays), it’s better to choose a pre-professional dance school. The latter provides training that is more difficult and requires significantly more time commitment, besides it’s usually more expensive. It’s also a good choice for ambitious people, because pre-professional dance schools provide more rapid progression, and give more room for potential self-development. Besides, you can gain more opportunities in the future, for example, if you will change your mind and try to follow the “dance competition” path.
To understand what type of dance school it is, you may ask the following questions:
- What types of dance lessons are available? Group and/or private?
- Does the school offer master classes? Does it invite external professional more experienced trainers?
- Does the school organize dance events (showcases, parties, festivals, competitions)?
Such simple questions will help you to understand the whole idea of the dance school and understand what to expect in the future.
Dance Lessons for All Ages and Level of Training
This criterion allows to understand what level you can reach in this school. If the school provides high-end education for top level and advanced students, then it proves its quality and offers possibilities for complete long-term training. For parents, it’s especially important to know that the dance lessons are available for little kids, teenagers and grown-ups, so that it’s possible to progress smoothly and continue dance education in the same dance school when the child matures.
- What achievements does the school have (diplomas, awards, trophies, etc.)?
- Do the students take first places at dance competitions and championships?
- Does the dance school take part in local dance events?
- Is there a schedule of trips to foreign international competitions?
Some dance schools organize dance showcases, recitals, festivals, etc. The more action and efforts the school does – the better, however, a primary focus should be on education. The best method to estimate the level of the dance school, is analysis of rankings that the students gain at dance competitions. The higher rankings indicate strong qualifications of dance instructors and self-interest of administration in effectiveness and productivity of the educational process.
Variability of Dance Styles
- Does the school have diversity of dance styles?
- Is it permitted to learn only one style or you can choose several?
Usually a good dance school offers classical dances, because it’s a basement for everything else. Even if you are interested in contemporary dances (e.g. break dance or street dance), it’s important that the school also provides classical dance lessons and choreography. A serious school has a serious approach.
Some additional dance-related activities, such as dance fitness, is also a plus.
Qualifications of the teachers are important. Check on the studio's website and review the schools where the teachers studied. It is important that the student receives good information as well as an experienced teacher who can teach safely. It’s especially important in case of dance lessons for kids. Since dance is not "monitored" (meaning no certifications are required to work for recreational studios), you want to make sure the dance studio is hiring teachers who are properly trained.
Interior of the Dance School
Does the studio look clean? Safe? Inviting? Does it look like a welcoming place to learn?
A simple question “Can you tell me about your dance floor?” can tell you a lot about the dance school. Cushioned or sprung dance floor is the answer you're looking for. Such floor absorbs shocks, giving it a softer feel, it enhances performance and greatly reduce injuries. It is considered the best type of floor for dance, indoor sports and physical education. It’s especially important for kids. As a parent, you want to know the studio went to extra expense to protect your child's body. If the studio has a "regular floor" or "laminated plastic", do not allow your child to dance there.
Special Notes for Parents
Below are some questions specific for parents that are looking for a dance studio for their kids.
How do you place children in classes?
Their answer will be: "By experience" or "By age." If you are looking at a pre-professional school, they will have your child audition or come for a placement exam. This will help the teachers assess where your child is technique and developmental wise. Recreational schools base their placement on age. When placed on experience, your child will be challenged by the surrounding dancers based on where they are in their dance training. When placed by age, your child will be socially "with" the group, however, this may mean you have an experienced 10-year-old dancer with a non-experienced 10-year-old dancer.
What class do you feel will be best for my beginner child?
While the answers may vary here, what you should be looking for is a teacher or studio representative wanting to know:
- What you are seeking?
- Your child's experience.
- What you hope to accomplish.
We feel starting a child with ballroom dances or creative movement will help beginner dancers learn the basics of dance. While a child may be more interested in hip-hop or break dance, ballroom dance is where they learn important skills which carry through to other styles of dance. You want to make sure the studio believes this to be true!
Schools with a set structure will help you navigate your child's education. This is what you're looking for: Levels, curriculum, exams. These are all stepping stones which make the education process clear. This way you know where your child should be and how to track their progress.
Now Test Our Dance School!
Now you are ready to use the information above to check our dance school “Dance For You” and find out how good we are. Located in Dubai, we are always glad to answer all your questions. Trial dance lessons are available for newcomers. Contact us to schedule your first private trial dance lesson with professional instructor!