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How to Choose the Right Dance Studio.

Hello, Dance Darlings!


Coach Lizette here, your guide in the fantastic world of dancing! Today, we're chatting about a topic that can be very daunting to any parent with an aspiring little dancer.

Choosing the right dance studio can be a pivotal decision in your dance journey. Whether you're a parent looking for the perfect place for your budding dancer, or an adult seeking to explore the art of dance, here's a guide to help you make an informed choice.

 

1. Beyond Technique and Syllabus: Finding the Art in Dance


While a strong syllabus is fundamental, dance transcends mere technique. It's an art form where emotion, creativity, and personal expression play a significant role. When choosing a studio, look for one where teachers understand that technique is just one facet of a dancer's education. The best studios nurture creativity and encourage dancers to develop their unique style.

 

Dance Syllabi Galore: Imagine a closet filled with millions of sparkly dance syllabi from all over the world. Each one is like a different style of dance shoes – some classic, some totally out-there. Mixing them up? It’s like creating your own dazzling dance outfit. Remember that a dance syllabus is someone’s or a group of people's view and guidelines on how to teach dance, and because dance teaching has been around for ages, we are blessed to have thousands (yes, literally thousands) of methods at our fingertips. Every method rich with history and progression. Sometimes by blending various approaches, we can nurture well-rounded dancers with a deep understanding and appreciation of this art form. The studio you choose should have a deep appreciation and understanding of the value of a syllabus, and be open to choosing to utilize more than one view of dance.

 

Trendy Moves Alert: Dance is like the fashion world – always evolving, always fabulous. While every dancer’s journey should start with the understanding of the fundamentals - dancing (like fashion) begins with exploration. One person might like wearing vintage, while another might enjoy sticking to the new trends. Your studio should view dance as a whole (just like fashion) where there is a safe space for vintage as well as the newest trends. One is not right and the other wrong. It is the responsibility of a studio to ensure that they can teach the building blocks to enable their students to express in the dance and style of their choice.

 

 

Shine Bright, Dance Bold, it’s okay to not fit the mold: Dance isn’t just about perfect pirouettes; it’s your stage to sparkle and shine in your own unique way. Individuality should be celebrated and guided, not forced to fit the mold.

Remember those legendary dancers and divas, the ones that created their own guidelines and methods of teaching? They didn’t just follow the steps; they danced to their own beat. They mixed their skill with a dash of daring to dance outside the lines.

The real magic of dance class is not confined to these guidelines. There’s an entire universe beyond them waiting to be explored.

 

2. Teachers as Role Models: The Influence Beyond Dance Steps


Aligning with Your Values: When choosing a dance school, think about the values you cherish and want to instill in your child. The best teachers don’t just teach dance; they model life lessons. Look for educators who celebrate each child's unique path, including those who don't quite fit the traditional dance mold.

 

Teaching Perseverance and Integrity: Dance is not just about grace and poise; it's also about grit and integrity. Exceptional teachers emphasize the importance of hard work and perseverance. They teach that cutting corners isn’t the way forward and that true growth in dance, as in life, takes time and dedication.

 

Celebrating Individual Growth: Every dancer's journey is unique. Great teachers recognize and encourage this individuality. They understand that not every child will grow at the same pace. (whether it is slower or faster) They should be able to tailor their approach to suit each student’s needs, helping them embrace their own pace of growth.

 

Fostering Acceptance of Strengths and Weaknesses: In dance, as in life, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. A teacher who instils acceptance and understanding of this fact helps build a dancer's self-esteem. They encourage students to embrace their weaknesses just as much as their strengths, turning each into an opportunity for personal growth.

 

Modelling Respectful Interaction within the Art Community: How teachers talk about and interact with the broader art community sets a crucial example. Teachers who engage in studio or dancer bashing or put down others to elevate themselves are teaching unhealthy values, that will automatically be instilled in their students’ view of the art. A respectful, supportive approach not only fosters a healthy environment but also shows reverence for the art form itself. If your teacher is confident and passionate about their method of teaching, they would see no benefit in being disrespectful towards other dancers or studios. The dance industry is notorious for being unhealthy and unsafe. Make sure that you choose a studio that is ready to rise above the historic, unhealthy competition in the dance world and invest time in creating a space where art is appreciated for what it is supposed to be – free.

 

Encouraging a Safe and Free Space for Artistic Evolution: Dance is about freedom, expression, and the evolution of art. Studios should create a safe space where every dancer feels free to explore, make mistakes, and grow. They should encourage students to embrace the ever-evolving nature of art, understanding that it thrives on diversity and inclusion.


In this ever-evolving landscape of dance, the phrase "but it works this way, or it used to be like this" is akin to insisting a car won't drive because it doesn't resemble or has evolved from the earliest forms of travel. Dance, like all forms of art, is in a constant state of evolution and growth. Teachers should embrace this philosophy wholeheartedly, understanding that being an educator in dance means committing to a journey of continuous learning and adaptation. To recognize that techniques, styles, and methodologies develop over time, reflecting the dynamism of the art form. By staying abreast of these changes and integrating them into their teachings, they will ensure that their approach to dance education remains fresh, relevant, and inspiring. This mindset not only honors the rich history of dance but also celebrates its vibrant present and exciting future. The forefathers of dance will not be sculpting it landscape for the future, we as teachers need to acknowledge that the teachers of today will be building upon their foundation to be the history for future dancers.

 

 

3. A Studio with a Clear Vision and Identity


Every dance studio has its ethos, its heartbeat. When choosing a studio, consider what values and goals are important to you or your child, and see how they align with those of the studio. Whether it's a focus on competition, recreational dancing, or artistic expression, the right studio should have a clear understanding of its mission and be comfortable with its identity. This clarity helps in creating an environment where dancers can thrive and grow in the direction that resonates with them.

Just like every dancer has their unique flair, every studio has its unique heartbeat. The right studio stands tall and proud in its vision, even if it differs from others. This isn't about competition or comparison; it's about embracing what makes each place special. A studio should celebrate their unique approach to dance and the arts and understand that not aligning with every other studio's vision is not only okay but essential.

It's what sets them apart and gives their students a sense of belonging and the freedom to be themselves. Fostering an environment where being different isn’t just accepted; it’s encouraged. This way, their dancers learn early on that it's okay to stand out, to have a different perspective, and to pursue a path that resonates with their individuality.

Their vision should not just be about teaching dance steps; it should be about inspiring students to carve their own niche in the world of dance and beyond.

 

4. Performance opportunities and goal setting


Performance for All: Performing is a crucial part of every dancer's growth and development. That's why a studio should ensure every student gets their moment in the spotlight, regardless of their level or skill. It's not about waiting for the dance to be perfect or reaching a certain level. Instead, it’s about embracing the stage as a space for learning and expression. Being comfortable under the stage lights, even when things aren’t flawless, is what truly nurtures an artist. Every misstep, every triumph – they’re all part of the beautiful dance of learning.

 

Learning in the Limelight: Performances are not tests, but a celebration of their journey. Whether it’s a recital, a competition, or a showcase, these moments are about sharing their passion and progress, not just showcasing perfection. It’s in these moments, under the bright lights and before an audience, that dancers learn invaluable lessons about confidence, resilience, and the joy of expression.

 

Balancing Goals with Growth: While embracing the stage, I also want to emphasize the importance of healthy goal setting. Dancing aimlessly, without purpose, is like wandering through a maze without a map. Dancers should be guided to set achievable, motivating goals, balancing ambition with personal well-being. It’s not about setting sky-high targets but finding that sweet spot where challenge meets capability, where growth happens at a joyful and healthy pace.

 

Celebrating Every Step: Every small step towards a goal should be celebrated. Acknowledging the hard work and dedication it takes to progress in dance is vital. No matter how big or small the achievement. This approach fosters a positive environment where dancers feel valued and motivated to continue pushing their boundaries.

 

5. Prioritizing Safety: The Cornerstone of Dancer Development


Physical Safety : Safety and well-being of dancers is crucial. Every skill should be grounded in the commitment to proper body alignment and healthy development. The physicality of dance is demanding, and it's crucial to nurture dancers in a way that safeguards them against injuries. Instructors should not just be teachers of dance, but guardians of health and safety. Teachers should be trained to spot the slightest misalignment, to understand the intricacies of muscle and movement, and to guide dancers in techniques that promote strength and flexibility. This focus on safety and proper alignment isn't just about preventing injuries; it's about building a foundation for a lifetime of healthy dance practice.


Injuries : In the dynamic world of dance, injuries, though unfortunate, are sometimes part of the journey. The importance of rehabilitation for any dance-related injury is critical. It's not just about healing; it’s about understanding and respecting our bodies' limits and needs. Teachers should encourage dancers to approach rehabilitation with the same dedication and passion they bring to their dance.


Mental Wellness and Safety : Dance is as much a mental journey as it is physical. That's why the studio you choose should place immense emphasis on the mental well-being of their dancers. The studio should foster open communication, encourage self-expression, and offer a safe space for dancers to share their thoughts and feelings.


Getting to the point...

 

As we twirl towards the end of this blog post, I could literally talk for hours about finding the perfect dance studio. But, let’s pirouette to the core of it all: dance is an art, and art, my dear dancers, is deeply personal. It's not just about finding the right studio; it's about finding the right studio for you.

 

Each step, each move in this beautiful art form speaks to our souls differently. I've seen firsthand how even informal dance education structures have profoundly impacted communities. They've embraced the essential truth that dance is personal and meant to unite, not divide.

When you're looking for your dance haven, ensure that the studio not only nurtures your individual journey but also treats the art form with the utmost respect.

 

Remember, refusing to acknowledge that there's a place for everyone in dance is like telling someone they can't enjoy a dance performance unless they're a qualified and trained dancer.


That’s just not how art works!!


People in dance education should always prioritize the art over personal gain. If they don't, it might be a sign that they haven't yet experienced the true magic of dance - its power to unite, to create, to bring peace, to help you find yourself, and to change lives.

 

Just because studios differ in their approach and ethos doesn't mean they're wrong. Each studio has its unique melody and rhythm.

Your task?

Find the one that celebrates and harmonizes with your unique dance journey. The studio that feels like home, where you can express yourself, grow, and be part of something bigger than just dance steps - that's where you belong.

 

In the grand dance of life, each studio plays its part in the vast choreography of the dance community. Choose the one where you can dance your heart out, where your passion for dance can flourish, and where you, as a unique artist, are celebrated.

 

🌟💃🕺🌈🎶


Dance with Love, Passion and Purpose

Coach Lizette







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