In Miami, we live in a city where we have lots of choices for everything. There are numerous restaurants to choose from, gyms to work out in and there is a dance studio on every corner! How do you choose one that is right for your child? The first thing you need to discern is what kind of studio you want your child to attend. Do you want a dance studio or a ballet school? Both have great qualities and I am going to go through them for you. Let’s start with dance studios.
A dance studio centers around two very important aspects: competitions and recitals. Often there are competition teams at that studio that you have to audition for. These competitions can be local, as well as national, so there is travel involved. If you are in a studio that has competitions, many extra hours above and beyond the actual class times are devoted to rehearsals — usually after class time and on weekends. These extra rehearsals, costumes, competition fees and audition fees are not part of your monthly tuition. The recital aspect of the studio revolves around a big end of the year show. Class time is sometimes compromised to allow rehearsal for this show.
A dance studio also offers many types of dance. Most commonly found at these studios are ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical and hip-hop. Additionally, students dance to pop, rock and hip-hop music. It is sometimes a requirement at these studios, especially if you are on the team, that you take all of these classes. Dance classes for little ones usually are comprised of two-to-three different types of dance in one hour. So a three year old could be taking jazz, tap and ballet in one hour.
Let’s move on to a ballet school, or what is sometimes called a professional school. These studios are exclusive and less local. Here, everything is centered around classical ballet. Any additional classes offered complement the ballet dancer, such as modern, character and Pilates. Students are also exposed to classical music, which is scientifically proven to develop complex brain patterns that give children an advantage in math and critical thinking.
Besides learning proper ballet technique, which involves learning a little French (all ballet words are in French), ballet also teaches timeliness, discipline, poise, posture and grace. In my classes we even discuss physics, geometry and anatomy and how they relate to ballet. Each class is devoted to working on technique, core control and mental focus. A child’s physical age and body type are always considered and taken into account in regards to their daily classes, summer programs and career choices. Little ones at ballet studios are offered creative movement classes, which teach the fundamentals of ballet along with the principles of coordination, musicality, and imagination.
Ballet schools often put on a December performance, usually “The Nutcracker.” Rehearsals are outside of class time and costumes are loaned out. Your monthly tuition is inclusive of all extra rehearsal time. There is also an end of the year performance called a Ballet Demonstration, which involves displaying the skills each class has learned throughout the year. Costs are kept down by means of each student wearing their required class uniform. If a student is participating in the ballet company productions, extra practice time teaches the skill of performing while offering the chance to perform in real ballets.
Your choice of school might depend on convenience in regards to what studio is closest to you. I highly recommend arranging a meeting with the owner of the studio before enrolling your child. Walk in to the studio, look around and see how you feel. Be wary of signing contracts that obligate you to commit to a full year of dance and penalize you financially if you can’t continue. Do a little research on the Internet as well. Do the studios hire students to teach for them, or are there skilled professionals teaching your child? Check the bios of the teachers and make sure you like the teacher you are handing your child off to. They will be teaching and influencing your child for multiple hours.
Opening its doors in 2008, Soul Purpose Studio has become the place to train in advanced ballet thanks in part to Alison’s very well-respected name in the community. The studio offers ballet class from ages 3-18 as well as Pilates and Yoga. Alison primarily teaches the Pre-Professional program which is ages 10-18 as well as all of the Pilates classes and absolutely loves what she does every single day! For more information, please visit soulpurposestudio.net or theballetspace.com.