34 The Courier SUN • dance • september 4, 2014 for breaking news visit www.couriersun.com s s dance What to look for in DANCE CLASSES BY COURIER STAFF firstname.lastname@example.org When searching for the right dance class, parents have a number of opportunities at their disposal. First, ask around and get some word-of-mouth recommendations. Then, search online; find reviews of dance studios and check out their web sites to see which classes they offer and how qualified the instructors are. Finally, take a tour of the studio and ask lots of questions. “Look to see if the school is clean and well managed. Is there an opportunity for the students to perform? If other students or parents are around ask them about their dance experience at that studio. Visit the school’s web site and read about the instructors. Make sure they have experience in teaching, studying dance, performing, understanding the developmental stages of children,” suggested Regina L. Hill, artistic director of The Dance Hut in Jamaica. Terri Cassiglia, owner of Gotta Dance Studio in Middle Village, encouraged parents to take a tour of the studios before enrolling. Look for a dance studio professional floor that is well-absorbed to absorb the shock of jumping. Are the floors clear, no wires out? Is the ballet barre sturdy against the wall? Also be sure the studio is clean and wellmaintained. There should be some way for parents to be able to monitor their children’s dance. While many studios prefer parents not be in the studio while children dance, there should still be view windows or a camera that allows the dancers to be monitored. Alexandra Pikoulas of Flushing is mom to fiveyear old Teresa, and danced formally herself for 25 years and as a Rockette for the 1994-1999 seasons. When she was searching for a dance school for her daughter, she was sure to do research on the studio and instructors ahead of time. “I scouted out at least three potential schools and requested Teresa attends at least two trial classes at each school. I then let Teresa decide which one she had the most fun at. It was important to me that the instructors have both formal training (at a college/university) as well as ‘dancing school’ training,” she said. Pikoulas believes that no matter what level a prospective student is at, she/he should request taking at least two trial classes to get a feel of the energy of the class, the level(s) of the other students, as well as the level of the instructor, and the way the instructor guides the class and teaches the craft. Niall O’Leary of the Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dance said to look for a teacher who’s certified but also deals well with kids. A good instructor has a way about them to get kids interested so they want to learn. The teachers should offer individualized attention, have an understanding of anatomy and its application to dance and offer positive reinforcements to students. “As a parent, you should feel your child is the most important thing. You should get the feeling that the studio and instructors are there to serve you, not the other way around,” said Cassiglia.
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