Choosing a dance school!
There are a lot of choices out there.. here are some considerations when choosing your child’s dance school!
- Qualifications. Every dance teacher should be qualified with a recognised body or have a higher qualification (degree) in the arts. The most well known UK dance societies are Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD), International Dance Teachers Association (IDTA) and British Ballet Organisation (BBO), but there are also many more! Societies differ in the way they accredit teachers and in their syllabi which your children learn. (At JC Dance our teachers are RAD, ISTD or IDTA qualified and some are also degree level educated. We are an RAD Ballet and ISTD Modern & Tap school)
- Shows. Performing is such a fantastic learning and all round positive experience for children and show weekend is undoubtably the highlight of a lot of our pupils (and parents?!) year! However, shows undoubtably cost money so it’s worthwhile doing your research: Does the school you’re looking at produce a show annually or biennially? Do they hire costumes or do parents buy? What sort of rehearsal commitment and cost is expected? Do the shows take place on weekends / school nights? Is the venue local? (At JC Dance we produce a school show each year. We have weekend rehearsals for around a month and these are charged at a flat rate, costumes are purchased by parents and kept – we try our best to keep them affordable whilst also offering the quality parents want to see. We try tor e use as much as possible)
- Exams. If your teachers are qualified with a dance organisation they will be able to enter children for exams (providing they maintain their membership payments and CPD requirements) Not all school choose to offer this and some may run exam sessions every year or every term. Schools also vary in the amount of extra lessons children are required to attend in the run up to an exam session. (At JC Dance we generally have one ballet and one Modern & Tap session per year. Children on average take an exam every two years, although this can vary, and this blog explains more about dance exams).
- Uniform. Most dance schools will have set uniform requirements as dance is a discipline and uniform is part of that. Informal after school dance clubs may not have a uniform. However, things to consider: how much is uniform? Does it change every time a child moves up a grade? Are changes mandatory or when children outgrow?
- Competitions & other performance opportunities. Some schools are heavily involved in competitions, some of which are also called “festivals”. These can be fantastic for boosting a child’s confidence and performance quality, but perhaps not as positive for a child who hasn’t placed well or made a squad. They can also be quite expensive, a solo performance needs solo choreography which needs to be paid for – a typical per hour charge for a teacher & studio could be £30 and there are also costume and entry fees to be considered. At JC Dance we don’t do competitions or festivals. Instead, we look for other non competitive performance opportunities.
- Dance Genre. Possibly the first criteria in your list when looking for a class ! Are you looking for a a pre school class? Or Ballet, modern, tap, contemporary, street, commercial, break, salsa, ballroom etc etc ?! There is so much choice and most school will specialise in a few styles. Here at JC Dance we currently offer nursery dance, ballet, tap, modern , commercial , boys only, limbering and adult classes in ballet and tap. We also offer Acro as workshops at the moment to our current pupils! #somanyoptions
These are just a few considerations, I’m sure individuals will have their own things to add to the list, not least convenience of classes being extremely important too!!
Dance schools are such brilliant things to be a part of and you share such great happy moments with your dance friends over the years (who really do stick around into adulthood), so choosing the right school for you is quite important.
At JC Dance our Autumn term starts on Monday 3rd September. If you would like to enquire about any of our classes please contact Joanna on 07792410390 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org