You want to take dance lessons and are eager to get started… but what, exactly, should you look for in a dance studio? While, at first, the answer may not seem clear, there’s one thing for certain: You definitely want to make the right choice! After all, it’s an exciting step to take, but it’s an important one, too, because joining a dance studio will require your commitment – and a commitment means an investment – and any investment most certainly has to be worth it!
Even though choosing the right studio isn’t particularly clear-cut, it’s also not very hard; narrowing down your selections will just mean putting a little more thought into your process, in the very same way you would for any important decision. Doing so is especially beneficial if you’re new to the dance scene or new to town. Naturally, you’ll start by browsing options in the area and will gravitate to assessing operating hours, distance, and costs, but don’t stop there – be a little discerning in your approach. The right decision can put you on the easy-breezy path to happiness and life-enrichment at new heights, but the wrong one could mean wasted time, effort, and money, which nobody wants.
So, whether you’re in the middle of researching options, have spoken to an instructor, dropped in for a complimentary lesson, participated as a guest, have just become a new student, or even if you’re a student months into a program questioning whether or not you want to stick around, use the criteria below as your guide to getting started and taking promising steps forward in finding the absolute best dance studio for you!
The Way You’re Treated: The manner in which your questions are answered, how you’re spoken to, and customer service in general should never be overlooked – no matter how great a studio seems to be otherwise. The way you’re treated early on is a precursor to how you’ll be treated down the line.
Studio Reputation & Credibility: Doing your due diligence by researching / inquiring about dance studios in the area will give you some insight into their reputations, credibility, who the teachers are, and the quality of instruction. Some studios are affiliated with larger national or international dance brands whose values and standards are often reflected in their own.
Dance Style Selection & Specialization: The studio that you choose should have a specialization in the style of dance that you want to learn. Ballroom studios, for instance, will often offer generous spreads of ballroom dance styles to learn, so you can learn the one you want and, if you’re open to exploring, potentially learn plenty more under the same roof!
Personalities of the Instructors: A studio’s instructors set the stage for what you can expect out of a learning experience, not just by their skills and experience, but by their characters in general and attitudes towards teaching. Speaking to or meeting instructors in person can give you a feel for their personability, relatability, conduct, and perspectives.
Comfort in the Environment: How comfortable you feel at a dance studio when you show up for an introductory lesson is an indicator of how you’ll probably always feel anytime you step foot inside. The atmosphere, layout, design, organizational culture, people, personalities, and energy all play roles in how comfortable you are and later will be.
Scheduling Flexibility & Class Options: Depending on your lifestyle, you may find yourself needing a lot of flexibility when it comes to juggling between work, home, travel, and your dance lessons. In such cases, it’s best to join a studio that can meet your scheduling needs. Some even offer real-time dance classes online to their students for added flexibility.
Experience & Credentials of the Instructors: Some studios have many instructors, so pairing with one who is skilled at both the dance style you want to learn and teaching students with levels of dance exposure similar to yours will be key to your positive learning experience. At certain studios, the owners and / or instructors may also be highly credentialed, bringing to the table impressive or unique professional dance backgrounds, which may be of importance to you.
Customization & Structure of Dance Lessons: Whether dance will be a large part of your life or you simply want to pick up a new activity, your course and lessons should be tailored around your individual goals. If a structured, personalized learning experience is something that you’re looking for, ensuring that a studio offers learning formats of this type in advance would be ideal.
Opportunities for Growth: Certain studios may offer growth opportunities where students can put what they’ve learned through real-world tests by participating in competitive dance events, dancing for charitable causes, and putting on local performances. Reaching out to ask is a simple way to find out if opportunities like this can be expected.
Seeing Yourself There Long-Term: Investing in dance lessons, for many people, tends to be a commitment of several months and sometimes years. This is particularly true for students who make dancing a priority in their lives, whether for personal, social, health, professional, or romantic reasons. Speaking with the instructors at a studio and taking a complimentary lesson are good ways to get a feel for the people, teaching styles, and atmosphere, all of which help paint a picture of what your life as a student there could be like starting out and down the line.
As you can see, qualifying a dance studio goes beyond the basics of assessing its hours of operation, location, and cost. There’s a lot to take into account, so ask all of the questions that you need to ask, do some research, and get familiar. After all, it’s an investment toward your life, your wellness, your future, and maybe even your relationship – so make sure that the one you pick is truly best for you!
What criteria have you used to assess dance studios and their teachers before signing up as a student? What have been the most telling signs along the way? Feel free to share your experience or ask questions by emailing us or commenting below!