To choose the best dance school for your child, first decide whether you want your child to participate in a recreational program or a pre-professional program. A recreational program focuses on fun, with year-end recitals while a pre-professional program focuses on career and technique, with professional performance opportunities.
Some things to look at when choosing any dance school include studio size, teacher training, dress code and cost. Commercial dance studios often focus on recreational programs with large class sizes. If you want your child to receive pre-professional training, a smaller class size is best. Another factor to research is the teacher training. In pre-professional programs, especially in pointe ballet, it can be dangerous for an unqualified teacher to work with your student. Ask for the teacher's biography and experience.
A studio with a dress code provides a more professional experience for your student. Ask about expectations for your student and for you as a parent. Be sure to research the cost for the programs. Pre-professional programs are a larger time and money commitment, whereas recreational programs are less so. The studio should be warm and inviting, and the dance floors should be cushioned. Improper flooring or equipment can result in serious injury.
Ask questions to help determine if a studio is the right fit. Some questions to ask include, "Do your students participate in competitions?" "What method of ballet do you teach?" and "What cross-training opportunities are available for my student?" Competent studios should be able to answer all of your questions.