6 Things Every Parent Should Know When Choosing A Dance Studio

If most studios seem to have qualified, friendly teachers, experience teaching children and a big show at the end of the year, aren’t all studios pretty much the same? Does it really matter in which place you decide to enroll? Yes. There are 6 main things that can make a huge difference in the quality of instruction your child receives and the overall enjoyment and satisfaction of being involved with a dance program. Here are 6 main things every parent should know before deciding on a dance studio for their child.

Is the studio a safe, professional area with specifically equipped flooring?

Dance is a very physical activity that requires a lot of jumping, which can put stress on bones and joints. Most dancewear does not provide any cushions or support, so the shock of dance movement can place a lot of pressure on the knees and back of a dancer. The best way to prevent against potential injury is by choosing a studio with a professional “floating floor”. This type of floor absorbs the shock of jumping.

The top layer of the dance floor is also an important factor. A vinyl composite “Marley” floor is accepted worldwide as the best surface layer for dance. Facilities such as the Pennsylvania Ballet Company, New York City Ballet Company and Riverdance-The Touring Show all use Marley floors as their dance surface. A Marley floor allows dancers to slide, with a degree of “controlled slip”, that provides less risk of falls. Very few studios have professional Marley floors because of the expense involved, and usually opt for a regular floor tile for a studio floor.

Delaware Valley Dance Academy facilities boast floating floors under a Marley top surface. Our special floors help reduce the risk of injuries and allow students to dance longer without getting tired.

DVDA also offers spacious studios with good lighting and ventilation.

Does the staff have professional dancing experience?

Dance instructors should work closely with their students, provide verbal and physical correction, as well as career guidance. The staff at DVDA boasts an impressive collective resume which includes Pennsylvania Ballet Company, Ballet Arizona and Rennie Harris Pure Movement, among others. Their experiences in dance and education make them well qualified to work with students in this capacity. Our instructors are always available to discuss your child’s needs and progress. Check out our instructor resumes for further details.

Does the studio have Professional graduates?

Despite our short history, many of Delaware Valley Dance Academy’s dancers have gone on to pursue professional careers in dance. This includes scholarships, apprenticeships, and positions with the Pennsylvania Ballet, the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet, Princeton Ballet, SUNY Purchase, Eastern University, Opus I Contemporary, Contempra Dance Company, George Washington University, and Mercyhurst College.

What type of Classes/Programming is available?

Dance is an art form that requires time for the student to absorb and attain competency, technique, and artistry. In very young children’s programs, classes should be 45 minutes. A gradual increase in class time should be seen in scheduling as the student progresses. Beware of the practice of “combo classes”. Except for the very youngest children, who may be introduced to tap, these combo classes do not offer enough time to truly study any one thing properly. Also ask how long does the studio spend on setting choreography for the end of the year show. If the class spends most of the year learning the routine that they are going to perform, they are not learning how to dance. A once a week student should be able to learn a 2 1⁄2 minute dance in 3 months or less.

The programming at DVDA is geared toward the best interests of the child. All disciplines are studied in separate classes. Since we focus on how to dance, our students spend a minimal time on rehearsing for the spring performance and, therefore, spend more time becoming better dancers.

What is the size of the class?

If the dance class has fewer students in it each child will receive more personalized attention, learn more and have more fun. With younger students it is easier for a teacher to maintain control over the class and make sure each student understands the concepts and instructions. Our smaller class sizes allow our teachers to monitor each individual’s progress.

DVDA limits all class sizes in the younger division to 12-14 students.

Does the studio provide performance opportunities?

DVDA recognizes that dance is a performance art and provides a diverse range of opportunities for its dancers including annual performances of “The Nutcracker Suite”, community performances, public school performances, our annual spring concert and dance gala, various Irish festivals, local and regional competitions, and our Pre-ballet Tea…to name a few!