Dance School Guide
You have a budding little Ballerina on your hands, how do you know where to send her/him? With so much competition out there now, how do you know what you are getting with a dance school? Are you better to go with a franchise? Or an independent? What questions should you be asking to find the perfect Dance School?
We hope that our guide will help you when making the important decision on which dance school is right for
1. Who is running it?
Whether the school is part of a franchise or an independent dance school, you will want to know who is running it? Does the Principal have a background in the arts? Or are they a business person who has bought into a franchise? It is worth finding out whether or not the owner/principal has worked or trained as a performer him or herself, as this will bring a different dynamic into the school. You can probably find this information on the ‘About Us’ page of the school’s website.
2. Are the teachers qualified?
There are several different dance boards that your dance teacher could be qualified with. The biggest, most world renowned is the ISTD- Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. This is recognised in many countries around the world and is widely taught. Another prestigious Ballet board you may have heard of is the RAD-
Royal Academy of Dance. There are other boards that offer dance teaching qualifications including, but not limited to, BBO- British Ballet Organisation and IDTA- International Dance Teachers Association. Check that your teacher is qualified with one of these boards. In order to be qualified they will have studied safe dance practice, anatomy, dance progressions and more, so will be in a very good position to teach your child safely and correctly. However, there are dance teachers who are ex-professional dancers and have not necessarily completed a teaching qualification, but still have the knowledge and experience to teach your child. You will need to decide what is most important to you.
3. What is the Ethos of the School?
What’s the atmosphere like when you arrive? Is it friendly and welcoming? Are the other students approachable? Does the teacher/ receptionist greet you on arrival? You will get a feel as soon as you step into the studio. Remember you could be starting a long-term relationship with the school so you must make sure it’s the right fit for you!
4. Is there a Uniform in place?
Dance is a discipline and this discipline starts with presentation. If you want your child to learn the true discipline of dance they should be wearing a dance uniform with hair neatly tied back- in a bun for ballet. This is a safety issue as much as anything, if your child is learning to pirouette with hair all over the place it could be disorientating and uncomfortable if they get whipped in the eye by their pony tail!
Maybe you are looking for a very relaxed class, just for fun and fitness, and are not worried about presentation, and if so a school with a relaxed, or no uniform may be right for you? This really is a personal choice.
5. Check out what other people say about them!
Do they have a Facebook or Instagram Page? Are there many reviews on there? What do other parents/ students say about them? Reputation is very important, are they known in the local area as the school to go to?
6. What is the Venue like?
Check out the venue. Are there mirrors? Can the mirrors be covered if necessary (Mirrors can be a total distraction for little ones!)? Are there ballet barres? Is it clean and bright? Warm enough/ cool enough?
What’s the floor like? Make sure it isn’t carpeted! A wooden sprung floor or Harlequin floor is best, but that’s not always possible. You don’t want your child dancing on a concrete floor, this could cause long term injuries, or a rough wooden floor which may result in splinters. If your child is going to be attending every week, or more than once a week for several years to come, you want to make sure you are happy with the venue.
7. Do they Offer Exams?
Does the school offer the chance to take exams? Again, this will be a personal choice for you, do you want
your child to work towards a goal such as an exam? If not, that’s absolutely fine, but if you do want that, double check that the school offers it. How often do they offer it? Once a year? Twice a year? At their venue? Or at a Central/Head Office venue? Are the exams offered to all students? What is their exam pass rate? It is OK to talk to the Principal about past exam results to get a feel for the standard of the school.
8. Do they do Performances?
If you want your child to perform on stage or at local events, then this is an important question to ask. Is there an annual/Bi-Annual show? What are the costs of being involved? Are all students involved? Are there class demos each term where parents can come in and watch?
9. What is the Progression Path?
Does the school offer classes for when they get older? Do they offer different styles of dance? Can the child specialise in a certain discipline? Or do you want a school that offers a large variety of subjects so that they can try them all? What about drama and singing, does the school offer these subjects too? We have a phrase
in the industry ‘Triple Threat’ which means you are great at all three- DANCE, DRAMA and SINGING! Which is essential for any student wishing to pursue a career in the West End!
Have any past students gone on to work professionally, or attend a vocational school? Again, this will give you an idea of the standard of the school.
10. Does the School have a Child Protection Policy in Place?
All Dance schools should have their own Child Protection Policy in place, that their teachers and staff are familiar with and adhere to.
11. Are all Teachers DBS Checked?
It is OK to ask the Dance School whether or not their teachers are DBS checked. These checks should be
‘Enhanced DBS’ checks and dated within the last three years.
I hope this has given you some ideas about what to look for when choosing your child’s dance school.
Download your free copy of the Dance School Guide.
We’d love to welcome you to Rise, so please do ask if you have any questions for us. We are always happy to help and always striving to make Rise Studios a nurturing and positive environment for our young dancers. You can book a trial class with us at rise-studios.com/classes
(Principal Rise Studios)