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How to Choose the Right
Dance School for You!

Did you know…

Currently in the United States dance education is an unregulated industry: anyone regardless of skill or experience can open a dance school.

This results in schools of varied quality scattered throughout the nation and it can make choosing a dance school for the first time a difficult task. It can be hard to know where to start! What are the key factors a new dance parent should look for, or give consideration to? Adding to the complexity is the fact that whilst dance ‘may’ be an activity a child participates in for a short length of time, it may also carry a child through from 3 years to 16 years and beyond. It’s a decision you want to be informed about.

One of the positives regarding the sheer number of dance schools in existence is that no two schools are the same – each provide a unique offering, and it is important that parents find the ‘right fit’ for their child and family.

It may read as overwhelming at first, however by working through the different areas in our checklist it will soon become clear to you which schools meet your needs, and which schools do not.

Hopefully, this checklist will help point you in the right direction and help you clarify what it is you want from your dance school.

Start with creating a ‘short list’, researching prospective schools via their website, or making phone and email inquiries.

From here, attend a trial class or visit the studios of the schools that stand out, and if the timing is right, attend their performance also.

Of course, we would love the opportunity to answer these questions and more at Heinz Academy for the Performing Arts.

 

Simply email us at admin@heinzacademy.net

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CHECKLIST

Culture and Environment

  • Does the Schools Vision and/or Mission fit with what you are looking for and with your own family values? Is it ‘family friendly’?

  • Are you made to feel welcome and part of the Community? Is there an obvious ‘hierarchy’ or existing cliques?

  • What is the reputation of the school within the wider community? Do you know anyone who has attended the school?

  • Are students leaving class looking happy? Do the teachers look happy? Is the overall ‘vibe’ positive or negative?

  • Are the studios well maintained, tidy, and clean?

Teaching Standards

  • Does the Director of the school and/or teachers hold recognized dance teaching qualifications and training?

  • What is the teaching philosophy of the Director and/or school?

  • Does the Director or teachers participate in ongoing professional development?

  • Does the school teach ‘technique’ or ‘just for fun’?

  • Do teachers have an understanding of differing learning styles and/or learning difficulties and have the ability to make necessary adjustments?

  • Do teachers teach to the whole class or just the most talented?

  • Are students treated as individuals?

  • Does the school have a maximum number of students per class and what is it?

  • Is there the ability to progress to higher levels as a child develops? Are there any extra opportunities provided to students if interested? (i.e. performance or assistant teaching, community etc.)

Are students treated in an age appropriate manner?

  • What choice of music is played in class and performances?

  • Style of uniform or costumes?

  • Style of choreography (choices of dance steps)?

  • What are the expectations in regards to make-up at performances?

Behavior Management

  • What is the level of discipline expected by the teachers?

  • How does the teacher manage the behavior of the students in the class?

  • Is the manner and tone in which teachers speak to students individually and as a group appropriate?

  • Do the students listen and respect the teacher? Does the teacher listen to and respect the students?

 

Professionalism

 

Does the School take its responsibility seriously?

 

  • Are there policies in place regarding:

  • Bullying

  • Safe Dance, First Aid and OHS

  • Injury or Illness

  • Child Protection

  • Privacy

  • Inclusive

  • Does the School follow a Code of Conduct?

Insurance

  • Is the school covered by public liability insurance and its teaching staff covered by professional indemnity insurance?

Does the school provide high levels of service?

  • Were you pleased with the information received when making your initial inquiry and was it easy or difficult to obtain?

  • What is the quality of written communication and perceived level of organization?

  • Do you feel comfortable asking questions to clarify your understanding?

Fees

  • Is the price structure within your affordability? Are there any extra costs incurred on top of tuition fees? (See below) What is the policy on making up missed classes?

Timetable

  • Does the timetable meet your families’ circumstances?

Location

  • Where are classes held?

  • Is the dance space safe?

Exclusivity

  • What is the policy regarding students participating in classes at other studios and external holiday programs or performances?

Dress Code

  • Is the dress code required?

  • What is the dress code and do you consider it to be age appropriate?

  • How much does the dress code cost? Do you need to purchase it prior to the first lesson?

Performances

  • Is participation required?

  • What extra costs may be incurred? (consider price of tickets, digital recordings, photography)

  • What is the expected time commitment? (rehearsals, dress rehearsals, quantity of performances)

  • What is the expectation regarding costumes? (sew, hire, or purchase and what is the approximate cost)

  • Are the costume designs age appropriate?

  • As previously, consider music choices and choreography (dance steps) – are the same children always at the front or do all children feature equally?

  • Most dance schools hold their performances in the final term of the year. Consider attending a performance if at all possible.

Competitions

  • Does the school enter students or troupes into competitions?

  • Is participation required?

  • What extra costs may be incurred?

  • What is the expected time commitments?

Trial a class

  • Can you trial a class either for free or a fee?

  • Did you feel welcome? Did you feel comfortable in the setting? Was your ‘gut feeling’ positive?

  • Do parents watch each class? Watch the last lesson of term? No lessons at all?