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How do I find the right dance school for my child?
Dance schools often offer different things. What type of dance are you looking for? Many parents are not aware of the training methods and dance styles available. Our studio offers excellent programs in Ballet, Tap, Modern and Jazz as well as workshops such as musical theatre throughout the year which expand on the skills learned. We offer examinations through the Royal Academy of Dance which is only possible through certified teachers. Workshops given by professional dancers take place throughout the year. With our specialization in Ballet we offer probably the highest levels of training in the city.
We do emphasize and train performance skills through public theatre performances. We do not attend common private run dance competitions as we believe this changes the focus and less attention is given to those students not competing. We do have an occasional exceptional student who will be considered for high level Competitions such as the Youth Grand Prix in the USA and The RAD Genée Competition.
What are the qualifications of the teachers and instructors? The Royal Academy of Dance trains, examines and certifies prospective teachers and they will then hold a teaching certificate or Diploma (includes the study of anatomy, history and child psychology). Students who assist the teachers have all worked and trained with the director. Karin Hobby who not only holds her teaching Diploma (Distinction) but has also tutored these prospective teachers through the Royal Academy in the Healthy Dancer Module. She has also studied many of the other renown teaching methods including Cecchetti (Associate status with the Canadian Cecchetti Society) and Vaganova (Russian) as well as The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (Ballet, Tap, National and Modern, Associate status) and Balanchine. She is the only teacher in London that we are aware of to be qualified in both well known teaching methodologies.
Does the school participate in competitions? Some schools do have competitive dance teams but our studio prefers to work on performance not in the competitive dance circuit. This ensures that all students receive equal focus but no lower a standard. In these busy times, we offer 6 performance opportunities per year for all students. at appropriate levels. Less driving around is more time dancing. Not to say that we don’t have team spirit or a competitive edge! Our students have all been highly successful gaining access to professional training and performing opportunities. We do not attend common private run dance competitions as we believe this changes the focus and less attention is given to those students not competing. We do have an occassional exceptional student who will be considered for high level Competitions such as the Youth Grand Prix in the USA and The RAD Genée Competition.
Consider the physical facility itself. Are adjacent businesses appropriate and safe next to a children's school. Are there proper dance floors installed? Studio ambience is important. We have windows and natural daylight in all studios. There is also an good size parent waiting area, parent viewing windows and private washrooms.
You tend to get what you pay for. The cheapest doesn’t mean the best. Find out more about what you are getting. Overhead in a well run studio encompasses qualified staff who also pursue continuing education to stay current, business and music licensing fees (SOCAN and Resound), insurance, proper flooring, ventilation etc. Cheaper pricing will be reflected somewhere - either in staff or the facilities or class sizes. Remember also that at some studio locations you will have to pay for parking. At our studio parking is free. Our studio offers very competitive rates.
Registration Fees cover the cost of registration - staffing, accounting and paperwork so as not to diminish investment in the classes and teaching faculty.
What age is best to start?
We will begin to work with children once they are 3 and older. Before this age it cannot quite be characterized as ballet or tap etc., although at younger ages they certainly love moving to music (and should be encouraged with this!) Our studio does begin with ballet based programs which expose them to classical music as well as other fun musical rhythms, word rhythms, poems etc. The Academy is now including more world wide themes to reflect the diversity of our rich culture. Obviously an early start is always good. Our current school assistants have been studying with Karin Hobby since they were 4!
Note: Not every child is ready at three and many start at 6 or 7 or even later. Teens may suddenly want to begin jazz or ballet. Adults may suddenly want to dance! We do our best to transition all new students into both an age and skill appropriate level. Don’t worry about when you start – just start!
A child’s first dance experience should be positive, so if he/she is too frightened or shy or even unsettled they may be better to wait and retry a little later.
We run the younger classes earlier in the evening and on Saturdays.
What if I am changing studios?
We believe that KHDANCE offers the highest level of Ballet training in the city. Students are often drawn here for this reason. For others, sometimes circumstances change or there is a desire to look for a new school which can better accommodate schedules or dance needs. Perhaps it is just that a change, different atmosphere or new style of teaching is hoped for. Whatever the case, we try our best to ease new students in and make the transition smooth for the child/teen. New students are always welcome. As a rule, we do not encourage students to study at more than one school at a time as conflicts in teaching methods, exam preparation and performance and rehearsal conflicts inevitably arise. Students are encouraged to become part of the school as a community. Being part of something as exciting as a dance school brings a wonderful sense of accomplishment.
When should I register?
Registering early for the fall programs is advised to ensure your child has a spot in an appropriate class. Schedules are drawn up and revised over the summer as registrations come in. Don’t miss out! There are some students who do begin in January and are assisted into appropriate class levels. Certain programs run in consecutive 8 week sessions (Mini-Dance 3 year old programs, for example).
What if my child begins CLASSES and wants to stop?
This will be highly unlikely! However, in the event that this does occur, we do encourage the child to complete the one term through to the end of term performance as this gives the complete experience. We will certainly work with the parents and child to explore the problem and sort out what the difficulties are. We cannot unfortunately refund fees for a term which has already commenced as a spot has been reserved in that class. Dance should be fun and we try to ensure this is the case!
When is it appropriate to start pointe?
For students at our studio, we do not start younger than 11 or 12, and only if the dancer is physically mature and can demonstrate sufficient strength not only in the feet but also in postural alignment and core strength. Often students at this age are experiencing a growth spurt, so caution must be exercised in deciding the timing and intensity of the work. The bones and growth plates must be protected! Proper pointe shoe fittings also become essential and we offer advice on where to be fitted. The Royal Academy of Dance sets 11 as the minimum age to begin pointe work and to attempt the Intermediate Foundation examination.
Are there any additional fees?
There are costume fees for the end of year recital, for which fees are approximated with shipping and duty and HST additional. Some parents purchase year end photographs and some students participate in the Nutcracker tour program for a separate fee. Students undertaking RAD exams pay examination fees to the RAD as well as pianist and mock exam fees.
We are happy to answer any further questions you may have! Contact us here →