Dance studios differ in many ways, so make an informed choice. Selecting the dance studio and the right teacher is vital. How can you, a student or a parent, become more informed about selecting a good studio? Here are some things we believe you should investigate.
THE SCHOOL'S PHILOSOPHY:
Inquire about the artistic director's vision. What are the principles behind the teaching methods employed in the studio? What are the goals of the studio? Our school’s main goal is to help students develop a love for dance and the performing arts, as well as a self-confidence that lasts them for a lifetime. We strive to educate children in the art of dance and performing arts and provide enriching opportunities to students in the academy.
Every child benefits from quality dance training, even though he or she may ultimately choose another career path. At AAD, children learn the cooperative teamwork necessary to produce a high quality work of art. They develop creative thinking skills and the ability to push themselves to higher achievements, and learn an immense amount about music and rhythm. They encounter spatial relationships and must think with both sides of their brain while learning to dance and perform. All of these skills will enhance your child's academic performance, as well as their physical well-being. Self-confidence and self-esteem continue to develop as young person conquers new movements and grows more certain of his or her ability to apply themselves, work hard and master any task put before them. Growing through this artistic process helps a child find the pathway to personal integrity and self-assured adulthood. He or she enters society with the ability to do well at whatever life places before them; and with the ability to maintain the uncompromising high standards absorbed during their training at AAD.
Your class should be disciplined,encouraging, and nurturing. Just as all performing arts schools are not alike, neither are all performing arts instructors. Your choice of instructor is crucial to your child's future success as a dancer or performer. Bad habits learned at a young age are extremely hard to break. Make a point to check the instructor’s qualifications. Make sure he or she holds a diploma or degree in their area of instruction, and is certified to teach in their area of instruction. Performance with an acclaimed professional company is of great benefit to an instructor.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Does the teacher….
-Have a working knowledge of anatomy? Many chronic injuries are traced to poor movement habits learned in early years of training.
-Encourage the love and joy of dancing in each child and show an interest in each child’s growth and development?
-Seem aware of the physical and mental capabilities of the particular age group being taught?
-Maintain an atmosphere comfortable and supportive to all students in the class?
-Begin with a class warm-up and progress from simpler steps to more complicated ones?
-Use imaginative language when giving instructions?
-Include creative work along with formal instruction?
-Include rhythmic training in the lesson?
-Make age appropriate musical selections?
Our teachers are all highly trained, hold degrees/certifications, and have extensive performance experience. Each instructor strives to achieve all of the above points in our classes. We are very proud to offer the absolute best instructors around and we are continually working to improve our abilities, ideas and communicative skills. Please read through our staff bios on our website.
THE DANCE STUDIO SHOULD BE WARM AND INVITING, AS WELL AS THE STAFF
The class rooms should be an appropriate size for the classes offered, with mirrors covering at least one entire wall. Certain styles of dance can put stress on young bones and joints, especially ballet, with its many leaps and jumps. Look for a sprung floor to absorb the shock of jumping. Students should not have the distraction of observers or traffic through their classes. Take a look outside, too. The studio should be located in a safe part of town, as you will probably be dropping your child off at the studio as he or she gets older. AAD has a sprung dance floor, which is very important for dancers. Our floors are hand laid to our specifications on a grid that absorbs the impact of dancing and helps keep teachers and dancers more energized, while greatly aiding in injury prevention. Our floors are then painted with a special rubberized formula that absorbs shock and still allows for various types of dance, and all classrooms have a rubber-type marley floor. There are full mirrors throughout the studio to help students observe their movements while learning, and two levels of ballet barres to accommodate the differing heights of the dancers. Our studio also offers monitors in our lobby so that parents can view all classrooms without disturbing the students.
STUDENTS SHOULD BE PLACED IN CLASSES ACCORDING TO ABILITY, NOT NECESSARILY AGE.
Some younger students can appropriately be placed according to age; however, school-aged students need to be placed in class according to ABILITY and age. School-aged children placed in class solely based on age, results in classes with different degrees of ability. Then the teacher has to decide to teach the class geared for the beginner, the intermediate, or more advanced level of the class. At any rate, someone in class is neglected. AAD has a wide variety of classes offered so that each student can be in the class program that best fits their needs and abilities. Our instructors are constantly monitoring students and communicate with the parents if a change is needed.
ALUMNI and STUDENTS:
Does the dance studio have any alumni pursuing careers in dance - Performing? Teaching? Choreographing? Other related fields? A well-rounded dance education program should have alumni in the various disciplines. Do any current students perform in other venues other than the annual recital? For example, does anybody audition and perform in local productions? Does anybody participate in master classes taught in the area? Is there a resident company? AAD is proud to have students who have been accepted, and received scholarships, to study at the most prestigious dance schools in the country. Our students have continued their dance education at the North Carolina School of the Arts, New York University, East Carolina University, Joffrey Ballet and Yale University, The School (London), American Dance Festival (Duke), Bates College (Vermont), Charleston City Ballet, School of American Ballet and numerous others. Our instructors have students performing on Broadway, on cruise ships, and in prestigious ballet companies, as well as teaching at esteemed dance schools.