Ask the Experts: Developing Well-Rounded Dancers

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Q: I have a multi-genre studio and want to develop well-rounded dancers. What's most important?


A: Having a multi-genre studio myself, I can say it's a balancing act. At our studio, we do annual ballet exams, local competitions and year-end performances. Every two years, we do a Nationals.

But I think the most important way to develop well-rounded dancers is to have teachers who are amazing at whatever genre they teach—and who also have a great respect for all dance forms (and encourage the dancers to do the same).

Also, make sure you schedule classes with the all-around dancer in mind. Your studio should offer as many dance subjects as possible in one day—remember that a dancer is more likely to try out a tap class if it follows her jazz or ballet class. I've found that bringing in guest teachers throughout the season keeps the dancers excited about different dance genres, too.

A big part of our studio is our company, with dancers ranging from mini to advanced level. You must be invited into the company, so it's something all our dancers strive for. Those selected study tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop and lyrical/contemporary—at the minimum. We cap our class fees at this level, to make it affordable for the dancers to continue studying so many dance forms.

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