Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Parent Guide

Four things every parent should know before choosing a dance studio.

If most dance studios seem to have friendly teachers, experience teaching children, and a big show at the end of the year, aren’t they all pretty much the same? Does it really matter at which place you decide to enroll? Yes! There are 4 main things that can make a huge difference in the quality of instruction your child receives, and the overall enjoyment and satisfaction of being involved with a dance program. Here are 4 things that every parent should consider before deciding on a dance studio for their child.

Are the costumes, music, and choreography modest and age appropriate?

If you have attended a dance recital in recent years, you may have been surprised to see the costumes many of the students are wearing. It seems that things have become a little out of control, and that dancers’ costumes are leaving little to the imagination. Not only are the costumes inappropriate, but some of the song lyrics and choreography can make anyone feel a little uncomfortable. At the Wasatch Arts Center we take this issue very seriously. Our students dress modestly and appropriately for classes and performances. It is very important to us that children not be asked to grow up too quickly, but that they feel comfortable in what they are wearing. Students who are nurtured in a modest, wholesome environment will be able to excel in their field without any unnecessary pressures.

Are the instructors qualified?

Many studios hire current high school students to teach many of their classes. These instructors likely have not received the necessary training in order to effectively teach in a professional manner. All of our instructors have college level training and/or professional experience. Our staff understands and accommodates many different learning styles in the classroom in order to best fit the needs of each individual dancer.

What type of dance floor is used?

A proper dance floor is critical in the healthy development of young dancers. A floor should have a certain amount of spring to it in order to protect a student’s joints and growth plates. A sprung floor also helps reduce fatigue so that dancers can dance longer while better avoiding injury. The Wasatch Arts Center provides a professional “sprung” dance floor for its students. The floor consists of two layers of wood which float on top of over 4000 foam blocks. It is then covered with a “marley” type flooring which provides a controlled slip surface perfect for dancing. This is the same type of floor used by many professional dance companies, including Ballet West, Royal Academy of Dance in London, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

Do students participate in recitals or competitions?

A very important aspect of a dance education is to show what you have learned in a performance atmosphere. The opportunity to perform in front of an audience can be an excellent tool in building self-esteem in young dancers. Performance opportunities should be provided for students so that they are able to have an artistic and professional experience. On the other hand, competitions may not always be the best atmosphere in which to nurture this artistic quality in dancers. Performing in a sports type environment for a panel of judges distracts from the performance of a classically and professionally trained dancer. Students at the Wasatch Arts Center participate in a year end showcase performance each June. Students are provided with a professional performance experience in a theater setting. Students spend much of their classroom time focused on proper technique and then are provided with an outstanding choreographic experience. Students at the center do not participate in any type of competitions. The Wasatch Arts Center is home to two performing groups which are given additional performance opportunities in the local community. We believe strongly that dance should be preserved as an art form, not to be displayed in a competitive environment.

For more information on any of our programs...
Please call our friendly office staff at 801-253-6323

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