Parent Guide: What a parent should know before choosing a performing arts school.

Most dance studios seem to have qualified, friendly teachers, experience teaching children and a big show at the end of the year, aren’t they pretty much the same? Does it really matter which school you enroll your child in? Yes. Just a few factors are critical to the quality of instruction your child receives, the amount of extra work and hassles you have to deal with, and the overall joy and satisfaction of involvement in a dance program. Here are things every parent should consider before deciding on a dance studio.

What type of dance floor is used?

Dance is a very physical activity that requires a lot of jumping, which can put stress on bones and joints. Dance movement can place a lot of pressure on a dancer’s knees and back. The best defense against potential injury is choosing a studio with a professional floating floor—one that rests on a system of high-density foam—to absorb the shock of landing. Our special floors help reduce the risk of injuries and allow students to dance longer without fatigue.

The top layer of the dance floor is also critical. A wooden or vinyl composite “marley” floor is accepted worldwide as the best surface for dance, from recreational to professional. Very few studios use professional marley floors because of the expense involved, instead usually opting for a regular tile floor.

Do you teach a variety of dance styles and methods?

Highly qualified teachers with varied training and teaching methods are available to teach a broad range of dance formats. This well balanced curriculum develops dancers who are well rounded, versatile, and creative choreographers.

How big are the classes?

Dance is a collaborative art in which each dancer draws energy from working, moving, and focusing within the group. A group that is too small does not bring enough energy and focus to the lesson at hand, and a group that is too large may result in a scattered loss of focus. An appropriately sized group of students for each age provides the best energy and focus level needed for dancers to reach their fullest potential.

Does the program foster your child’s self-esteem?

High self-esteem is one of the greatest benefits of having chosen a good school. A positive learning environment increases a student’s ability to take in and apply new skills. Research shows that positive, motivational teaching improves dance technique and self-esteem at every age!

Is the program staffed with college-degreed instructors?

Our instructors are either in the process of, or have already completed, their degree in dance, theater, or a related field of study. College-trained instructors will add a professional dimension to your child’s dance and gymnastics education. Dance Discovery’s skilled instructors are trained in a program that motivates students of all ages through an understanding of human development at each stage of growth. By meeting students where they are, the instructors are able to break down skills in a step-by-step progression that can be easily mastered by each student. Dance Discovery features instructors certified in our unique curriculum which keeps students actively involved and highly motivated throughout each class.

Is the gymnastics curriculum safe for my child?

Tumbling needs to be taught in a safe, step-by-step manner that ensures strength and flexibility for each skill. This will decrease the risk of unhealthy alignment habits that can cause injury. Our teachers use Garland O’Quinn’s curriculum for developmental gymnastics.

Does the curriculum focus only on older technical dancers or is there a program for young stages of development as well?

Dance Discovery's Storytime Dance curriculum, designed by our child-development specialist, takes students through proper execution of ballet, tap, and jazz techniques using storytelling. This keeps students engaged longer while they relish the joy of movement. This program provides a solid foundation for future success in ballet, jazz, tap, and other styles.