What are AAD’s expectations of parents?

Parents are simply expected to support their child’s education at AAD. We expect our students to arrive on time for their classes with proper attire and hair supplies, be rested, in good health. Stay up to date by reading all correspondence from us.   

Be supportive.  At the end of a class or performance, your child longs to hear you to tell them that you thought s/he did a great job! As a parent, leaving the critique to the instructor will go a very long way to preserving your relationship with your child. Your child’s focus should be on her instructor. If you are offering corrections or critique, s/he will miss out on more valuable, professional instruction. No coach or teacher wants to try to compete with parents for the student’s attention.  This is his/her class. Your child and his/her dance teacher will be grateful!

Being there for our kids is what parents do. We are there for the hurts and the joys. We watch them grow and we help them become who they are meant to be. The hard part is knowing the boundary between being there for them and being too involved. Being a dance mom is no picnic. Being a mom has much better perks for both you, your daughter and her dance teacher.

Are there facility rules my family and I should be aware of?

Running is not permitted in our facility. Sound travels through our facility very well.  Please keep all lobby noise and activity to a minimum.  Students in class can be very distracted by the lobby noise.  Be considerate of those students in the upstairs classroom by traveling  to/from the restrooms as quietly as possible.

No food is allowed in  the dressing rooms or classrooms – crumbs and trash invite unwanted pests.  They may bring a water bottle (labeled with their name) in the classroom.  Any food or trash from food consumed in the studio lobby should be disposed of in the outside trash cans.  Please clean up crumbs & leftovers.

How do I receive feedback on my child's progress?

Most of the progress your child makes will be slow and steady, as learning any performing art is a long process. All students will receive a written evaluation from their instructors in March. These evaluations will also indicate the suggested level for placement for the next session. Parents are welcome to make an appointment to discuss their child’s evaluation. 

Why does my child have to adhere to AAD’s dress code?

Proper classroom attire is fundamental to your child’s training. Leotards and tights let them move freely and safely and allow teachers to make sure they are using muscles correctly.  We feel very strongly about the importance of our dress code. By coming to class in the appropriate attire, students show pride in AAD and respectfulness towards their teachers & the art of dance. Check our required dress code in the policies and guidelines section.  Dancers may wear a short matching skirt with their leotard.

How do you determine the class level for my child?

We take many factors into consideration when determining class placement. Some of these are age and ability, the quality of your previous training, the number of classes per week, overall level of strength and technical mastery, and goals. Please try not to compare yourself/your child with other students according to which level you/they are placed in.

In general,  everyone will spend at least two years in any given level. When students takes a second year of the same level, they are not starting all over again. Dancers repeat the same basic exercises day after day throughout their careers, building their technique gradually.

Being placed in a particular level is not necessarily a reflection of desire or talent. Following the orderly progression through the syllabus is important so elements of training are not skipped over. Especially during the adolescent and pre-teen years, exercises are slower and require patience to repeat them many times. This shouldn’t make class boring. Students should focus on all the exciting new steps they will learn when ready, and how beautifully and correctly they will be able to do them! Moving to the next level before ready will lead to injuries &  bad habits, and could slow down the pace of the lessons for everyone in the class. Rarely, some students advance to a level higher than usual for their age because they are ready for the challenge. This doesn’t mean that they are “better” than others. Do bear in mind though, dancers who take more classes per week will tend to move more quickly through the syllabus.

If you feel your child is not in the right class, we are very happy to discuss this with you. We want to give you all the attention you deserve.

How do I stay informed?

*A bulletin board is located in the lobby of the studio with important information, dates, and fun facts for parents of dancers to know. 

*Check and read all email correspondence from us

*Join our social media sites:  Facebook, Instagram, YouTube

*Check our website often:  albemarleacademyofdance.com

*A monthly newsletter will be sent via email to keep parents up to date.

*It is important that we have your correct contact information. If your email address, mailing address or phone number changes, please update our office manager immediately. 

For Parents of Beginning Dancers

How will my child respond to being in a class?

Even if this is not your child's first time in a classroom, it is a new environment which may take some getting used to. They may not want to enter the room at first or they may come running in with a huge smile and in ten minutes go running out to find you. These reactions are all normal so please do not be upset or embarrassed if it happens to you. Some children may cry during class then stop once the next activity begins that catches their interest. Some may cry for the entire first class and be fine the following week, while others may quietly observe and not participate until the second or third class.

Do You Have a Rewards System?

Students may receive terrific tickets after class for things like: being prepared/ focused, good behavior, accomplishing a new skill, etc.  Students can collect tickets to turn in for a prize out of our prize cabinet. 

Why can't I come in the dance room and watch class every week?

Children this age are easily distracted.  If parents comes in the room, the students will lose focus on the instructor.

Why does my child seem so distracted during class? Is s/he not paying attention?

If it looks like all your child does is make silly faces in the mirror or stand and watch everyone else, that doesn't mean they aren't learning or paying attention. Give them time. Some of our best students spent their first few classes standing still or just being silly. It just takes some children a few weeks to be comfortable enough with their surroundings to fully participate. Don't worry, this is totally normal!

Why does my child get upset at home when it's time to get ready for dance class, but is all smiles when class actually starts?

Most young children are homebodies. They don't want to leave their toys, TV, siblings, etc. to go to class. They also don't want to stop what they are doing (watching cartoons, relaxing, playing) to change into a leotard. Once they get to class, they have fun! If you have trouble motivating them to get ready for class, mention their friends' names from class and how their teacher is looking forward to dancing with them. Speak with the teacher or director to asses your child’s participation and attitude in their class before withdrawing a young child because “They just don’t want to come to class.”  Having a set routine prior to class will often help facilitate the process.  Let them know they have made a commitment to their teacher and classmates and they are expected to be at class.  

For Parents of Intermediate & Advanced Dancers

Why should my student take supplemental classes & workshops?

Students expand their knowledge by expanding their experiences. At AAD we make it a priority to give our dancers a well-rounded education and opportunities to participate in enriching workshops, classes & performances with industry professionals, many times in our own studio.  We cannot stress the importance of these events enough!   They not only enhance your child’s dance training, they build confidence, encourage leadership, introduce crucial skills and train them to be well-rounded, healthy and responsible young people… Plus… they’re FUN!   The fees and age requirements for these events vary and are determined by the visiting artist.  We hope to be able to continue to provide such events to our dancers so…When you receive information about a workshop … REGISTER …

What if my child just wants to dance for fun and not become professional?

All of our students learn skills necessary for a successful career in any field, including organizational skills, superior concentration levels, coordination skills, overall physical fitness, quick learning skills and agility, memory skills, confidence, grace under pressure, the ease of being in front of an audience, exceptional work ethics . . . these are only a few of the benefits of our training, on to a professional career or not.

Many of our students who once thought they did not want to pursue a career in dance change their mind part way through their training. The wonderful feeling of achieving a long-term goal and the pursuit of beauty as art prove so rewarding to our students that they often decide to strive for a dance career. Sometimes they discover they have an inherent talent for the art form that they did not expect nor were aware of...

Whether they pursue a career or not, they will benefit from our training. They will carry these skills and a love for dance with them for the rest of their lives.

If my child wishes to have a career in dance, how will AAD  help her/him reach their goals?

Our teachers will guide each student through the myriad of skills as they progress and master technical skills and gain confidence. Eventually, each student learns how to self- correct, which is a key to becoming a good dancer. We help our students understand the discipline of training as well as the required supplemental genres required to enter the college or professional world. With this knowledge and understanding, most students thrive in our atmosphere of professionalism and accomplishment.

AAD has helped many students reach their goal of becoming professional dancers, actors and teachers. We believe that if a student really wants to make it happen, they can. We are here to support and develop those dreams. Ultimately it is the hard work and perseverance of the student that will prevail, but there is no substitute for excellent training.

When will my daughter start pointe work (i.e. dancing on her toes)?

We begin preparing female students for pointe work advanced prep level which is most commonly around age 12 (with at least 4 years of prior ballet study of at least two classes/week). By this time the student is physically ready for the demands of pointe. Proper alignment of all parts of the body are required, as well as a high level of muscle strength, especially in the legs, abdomen, and back. Also considered is the student's mental capacity. Each student must be able to focus clearly on complicated or difficult tasks and a certain amount of trust in the teacher is also required. Students in pointe must pass an evaluation for pointe readiness, and attend at least three ballet classes per week.

My child took years of ballet at another school, why was she/he placed in a lower level at AAD?

We always asses students with prior training before deciding on final class placement.  Many times we place students in a lower level so we can work with them to correct misalignment or other problems in the basics. It is difficult to correct basics in a higher level, so working with a new student who needs attention in alignment, use of turn out or other basic skills is easier to achieve when the exercises are simpler --then the student can concentrate on the work that needs to be done and excel. We find that most students who can learn concepts and apply corrections, can correct and strengthen weaknesses and then, having done so, can move through our syllabus at a quicker pace.

What makes a dancer?

Grace, poise, confidence, agility, flexibility, musicality, strength and fitness are characteristics that all dancers share. Dancers are lovers of beauty and they are dedicated to their art. They love the ritual of taking class. They love to feel their bodies move and they learn to express different emotions or to tell stories through their movement. They learn early on that they must never become flustered by making a mistake. Most of them love being able to entertain an audience. They familiarize themselves with the work of legendary dancers and choreographers and they use this inspiration to improve their own dancing.

More than anything, it’s not about what step a dancer does, but it’s about how they do it. A dancer is engaged and fully present in the movement. They love what they do, and anyone who watches them can feel it. 

For Students (Parents should read too)

What does my teacher expect of me?

As many of you know, ballet evolved in the royal court of Louis XIV in France. You can imagine that manners were very important back then, and they are still central to any dance class. Here are some things to remember: Arrive at the Studio in time to prepare for class * Use the bathroom before class begins * You may bring a water bottle (with water only)to class provided your name is on the bottle *Don’t chew gum * Be dressed appropriately * Give your best effort with a positive attitude * It is a custom to thank your teacher, one by one, at the end of class with a curtsey or bow.

Your teacher will NOT expect you to do everything perfectly!

Why is my teacher always correcting me?

Corrections in ballet are compliments! It means your teacher cares about you.   The teacher is saying, “I like you and want you to be a better dancer.”  If you get lots of corrections, pat yourself on the back!  You must be doing a great job!

You have to know how to “take” corrections.  Getting the correction is only the first step.  You have to work on the correction to improve your dancing.

Sometimes, if you understand the correction and your body is ready to change, you can apply a correction immediately.  That’s fun, to change and improve before your teacher’s eyes.

But usually a correction takes time to improve your dancing.

Here are some tips for using corrections to improve your dancing:

    •    If you don’t fully understand a correction, talk to your teacher after class.  Ask for an explanation so that you can take the correction and use it. 

    •    If you understand the correction, but your body can’t do it yet, talk to your teacher after class.  Sometimes a teacher can give you exercises or stretches to do at home.  You’ll be able to improve faster if you can practice at home.

    •    If you understand the correction and can do it, but not consistently, then you need to practice.  Several things that may help:

It is very important when you get a correction that you take it with a good attitude. 

Making a face and rolling your eyes tells your teacher that you don’t want or appreciate 

help. A teacher’s job is to help you become a better dancer.  If you take corrections well, your

 teacher will feel like she is making a difference.  She will want to help you more and more.  It 

is gratifying to a teacher to have a student who takes corrections well. Always smile and

thank your teacher when your get a correction.  Then get to work on it! The more corrections

you can apply, the more your dancing will improve.  Improvement is priceless.  It’s one of the

things that keeps us all going!