How do you know what Ballet School to choose? It can be overwhelming – especially if you aren’t familiar with various dance forms, methods and instruction. Not all dance studios are the same – and without a strong program, you could be setting up your dancer for injury, poor form and future disappointment.
We have put together a list of 5 Things to Consider When Selecting a Ballet School to help you and your dancer pick the best program:
Your dancer is going to learn the proper form and technique from teachers who have danced in a variety of settings – with professional dance companies, productions and top notch ballet intensive programs, has a degree in dance or holds certifications that allows him / her to know how to teach a specific technique. Ask to meet the School Director and / or Artistic Director and ask them about their professional and teaching experience, as well as other instructors at the school.
- The Studio
Email or call and make an appointment to meet the Director and take a tour. The studio should be clean, well-lit and have studio space with proper flooring for ballet instruction, with mirrors on multiple walls. Ballet studios with sprung floor covered with Marley are optimal for ballet safety and performance. Ballet barres with various heights to meet the needs of younger and older dancers should also be present. Ask around – if there are parents, how do they feel about the instruction? Ask the older dancers, too – how long have they danced there?
- Skill Level and Curriculum
The studio should invite your child in for a placement assessment based on skill level and previous experience. A good studio will always make sure to discuss placement with you before enrolling your child in a class. In some cases, a dancer will be placed with older or younger classes depending on their strength, technique and experience. Younger dancers may begin with pre-ballet and creative movement classes to get them used to movement and expression. As dancers mature, they work up to higher ballet levels and more difficult classes at the direction of the instructors. This ensures dancers are prepared for more challenging work with a solid foundation.
- Focus on Technique
There is a big difference between a “recital / competition” school and a school with a professional focus. A “recital / competition” school spends most class time preparing for the annual recital or competitions – with more emphasis on memorizing steps than on proper technique. If your dancer is enrolled at a ballet school with professional teachers, the instruction will be centered around giving your dancer a strong foundation with a focus on proper technique, etiquette and developing strength.
As a parent, you want to ensure your child has a positive experience. Make sure you discuss the environment with other parents and with the instructors. Is it a friendly and fair environment? Are there rules in place for proper dress code, etiquette and behavior to ensure your dancer is prepared? Are the parents and other students welcoming of new students? Is there equal opportunity for advancement based on skill level? Make sure you and your dancer feel comfortable.
Selecting the right ballet school can take some time, but if you ask the right questions, you will find the best place for your growing dancer.
Looking for a Ballet School in Saratoga Springs? Contact us today!