The 7 Traits of an Ideal Dance Studio
So, you want to learn to dance. Congratulations! Dancing is an exciting adventure, both fun and good for mental and physical health. To get the most from your dancing experience, it’s wise to make sure you pick a studio that adequately meets your needs. So, what do experts recommend you look for when choosing a studio?
It goes without saying that a garbage-free, well lit studio is a much better dance environment then one that is dingy, dusty and musty. After all, if the staff can’t even be bothered to treat their own studio well, how are they going to treat you?
From your first phone call to the studio, to the end of your first sample lesson and beyond, studio staff should always be kind and courteous. Since learning to dance can be a very nerve-wracking process, patient and caring teachers are a must – cross off studios whose instructors lose their temper and shout to get results.
3. Teacher Competency
A lot can be said about the certifications and training teachers have received, but most of it becomes meaningless unless it translates into good teaching habits. Ask if the studio has its instructors certified by accredited organizations like DVIDA. Even better, check out the skill level of the students during busy hours. If no one looks like they know what they’re doing, odds are the instructors don’t know much more.
4. Cushioned Dance Floor
Dance studios usually have special dance floors, designed to absorb the shocks from jumping, lunging, and other maneuvers, protecting our joints from injury. Ask about ‘sprung’ or ‘floating’ floors, and avoid places with ‘normal’ or ‘concrete’ flooring.
A studio that offers both private lessons and multi-level groups for the dance you want is good; one that offers the same for other dance styles you may eventually grow into is even better. More frequent classes and socials ensure you can still get your dance on with a busy schedule.
6. Progress Tracking
Poor studios teach ‘class by class’, and assume you will see and feel the benefits yourself. But often people are hard on themselves, don’t see their progress, and give up unless that progress can be shown in some tangible way. Look for studios that use a level system and can demonstrate your improvement with every class.
It’s worth paying a visit and sitting through a group class to look for this one. Is everyone supportive of each other, or is there hostility? Do the instructors give equal weight to all students, or do they favour the more talented ones? Is there much smiling and laughing, or do many people look confused or frustrated? These indicators are preludes to how your own experience at the studio will be.
Once you’ve found your dream studio, next you need to decide what you want from your experience there – even the best instructors aren’t mind-readers, after all. Until next time!
About the Author
Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for almost 20 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance and his endless seeking for ways to reach new audiences eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches ballroom at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.