For Parents

For Parents: How to Find a Good Studio After Moving to a New State

Getty Images

Q: My family is moving to a new area in a different state, and we won't know anyone there. How can I find a good studio for my serious dancer?

A: As always, your first step should be to ask your dancer's current studio owner or teachers for any leads. But what if that's a dead end? I checked with tap teacher April Cook, a Broadway Dance Center faculty member who frequently guest-teaches at countless studios across the country and serves as a judge for several major conventions/competitions. In short, she sees the insides of many studios nationwide. Here's her advice for finding top-notch training.

1. Make sure the facility is safe. "Take a tour and check that there are sprung wood floors and marley where appropriate," Cook says. "If there are tumbling classes, you should see mats and pads and equipment for that. If that's not up to par, you don't want your kids to be there."

2. Check out the studio's website and look for a mission statement. Does it align with your dancer's goals? If she has her sights on a performance career, for instance, make sure the studio offers lots of performance opportunities. "That doesn't necessarily mean competitions," says Cook. "Those opportunities could also be recitals, community events or even parades."

3. Read through the teachers' bios on the website and look for a studio showcasing a wide range of teacher experiences. "It's nice to see some teachers who have college degrees and some with backgrounds in performance," says Cook. "You want a mix." A studio's alumni list can also be a great way to see if the studio offers quality training.

4. The best studios offer supplemental training, says Cook. "Look for those that encourage students to attend conventions or workshops outside of the studio—and those that bring in guest instructors. This gives students variety and helps prepare them best for their future."

5. Ask if there are prerequisites to taking various classes. "For example, does the studio require a dancer to have two ballet classes under her belt before enrolling in contemporary?" There's a misconception that studios set these rules to bring in more money per student, but "policies like these actually have the students' best interests at heart, because they ensure technique is in place, preventing potential injury," Cook says.

Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

Keep reading... Show less
Teaching Tips
Justin Boccitto teaches a hybrid class. Photo courtesy Boccitto

Just as teachers were getting comfortable with teaching virtual classes, many studios are adding an extra challenge into the mix: in-person students learning alongside virtual students. Such hybrid classes are meant to keep class sizes down and to give students options to take class however they're comfortable.

But dividing your attention between virtual students and masked and socially distant in-person students—and giving them each a class that meets their needs—is no easy feat.

Dance Teacher asked four teachers what they've learned so far.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
All photos by Ryan Heffington

"Annnnnnnd—we're back!"

Ryan Heffington is kneeling in front of his iPhone, looking directly into the camera, smiling behind his bushy mustache. He's in his house in the desert near Joshua Tree, California, phone propped on the floor so it stays steady, his bright shorty shorts, tank top and multiple necklaces in full view. Music is already playing—imagine you're at a club—and soon he's swaying and bouncing from side to side, the beat infusing his bones.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.