When you decide that you want to learn to dance, find a dance studio that specialises in the type and form of dancing that you are most interested in. ‘Classical ballet’ is the most formal of the ballet styles; it adheres to traditional ballet technique. There are variations relating to area of origin, such as Russian ballet, French ballet, and Italian ballet.
Other types of dance that may interest the student include: Modern, Jazz, Tap, Hip-Hop or a combinational type, known as “Broadway”. Be aware that “Jazz” and “Hip Hop” may incorporate sexual movements (ie hip thrusts and suggestive shoulder shakes and rolls) that may be inappropriate for young children. Ask the studio about age appropriate movements or restrictions they impose.
Next, check out the qualifications of the teachers. Many excellent dancers to not make good teachers. Your teacher should not only be a great dancer, but be able to instruct people with different body-types, abilities, and learning styles. A teacher with an impressive dance resume may not know how to describe movement for children or beginners. Ask if you can sit and watch for a while, but do not be upset if visitors are not allowed as they can disrupt class. Some studios offer ‘open classes’ designed to give future students a feel for the rigor of the instruction. Teachers should give positive reinforcements to students and be able to point out muscle alignments to improve technique. It is normal for schools to use older students to demonstrate to help train the younger ones.
Note that very young children (under 5 or 6) cannot follow the strict nature of Ballet class, so often they are often enrolled in “Baby Ballet” classes. These are designed to introduce the child to learning to following instructions, sit and stand quietly, leaving other students alone and listening to the music. Above all, introductory classes should be fun for the very young child.
THE STEPS IN ASSISTING YOU CHOOSE THE RIGHT DANCE STUDIO
1) Think about what you are looking for in your dance studio. Are you training to be a professional dancer? Are you trying to lose weight? Are you dancing for fun? It is important that if you are serious about dance that you don’t get stuck in recreation oriented classes. At the same time, joining a difficult class if that isn’t what you want can lessen your enjoyment.
2) Talk to local dancers you know. See what they have to say about the dance studios. Dancers have usually attended more than one dance studio in their lives, if they’ve been dancing since they were young, and they will probably have a suggestion. They will know who to avoid, too.
3) Make a decision on how far you are willing to commute. Do you want to be able to walk there? Is driving for 30 minutes going to be okay?
4) Call the studio. Depending on your goals (weight loss, fun, improvement…) you may not be willing to alter your schedule a lot to include classes. Be sure you explain to the owner of the studio when you could take class, as well as your skill level. He or she will probably have a schedule, but the names of the classes can be confusing. Sometimes intermediate classes are classified as advanced, just to separate them from an even more intermediate class.
5) Narrow down your list by class times and varieties, go to the studios still on your list to watch a class. Usually, you can participate in a class without paying if you ask. Don’t be put off by the exterior of dance studios. Usually, the outsides are really, really trashy, but often the inside will be brightly painted and welcoming.
6) Find out the class size. If you want individual attention, don’t go to a school with 15-20 dancers. If you don’t want a lot of attention, and enjoy being part of a group environment, go to one with 15+ dancers.
7) AND MOST IMPORTANTLY – Choose your favorite!
(author – numerous www.wikihow.com)