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What to look for in a studio/teacher/classes?

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What do you look for in a studio/class/teacher??



For the past year I have become increasingly more unhappy with the owner of one of the studio I currently take class at. Last September the studio lost over half of the students, not because of the teaching staff but because of unhappiness with the owner. Long story but, Tuesday was the last straw; I had signed up for an advanced class. When I came for the class the owner had decided to cancel the class and combine it with the adult ballet conditioning 1 class and that I needed to come back later when the class was held. I explained that that would conflicts with my schedule. The owner told me that she can’t guarantee classes or times and doesn’t give refunds or credits. So I did come back because I can’t just throw the money away. The class was a joke!! There was around 17 of us from 11 years olds up through adults. The owner taught the class and it was very inconsistent, to say the lest. :)

The adult classes that I take at that studio have been pretty consistent with one of the best teacher I have found in the area, but she is cutting her days down to one in summer and next year :P . My follow classmates are also all thinking of leaving the studio, but we really love the teacher. We are all in a quandary, should we stay and take the one class a week or leave and try to find a better studio

In my area it is very hard to find good studios and/or good adult teachers.


Sorry about all the venting, it has been a long time and coming... any advice would be appreciated.

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Wow--I would be pretty shocked and horrified if classes were regularly getting

shuffled around or cancelled without warning. I sometimes arrive to find a

different teacher than the usual, but even that has been very, very rare

at the place where I go now--fewer than 10 times in two years--and in fact

each time it has been either a teacher I already knew from another class or

a new teacher from whom I'd be eager to have more classes.


Well, so, what to do: I would certainly take the one class you do like for now but

also check around for alternatives. Where I go it seems that the other adult

students seem to know about all the other classes/places in the area (Washington

DC area), so my fellow students would be my first information source.

After that-well, have you tried posting a query about your area to the board here?

You just never know who's lurking.


If you have to go for trial and error, then make a list of the places you could

reasonably get to and arrange to take trial classes and just see how it goes.

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Some things I look for in a school:


Classes must be offered often enough. Once a week per level is simply not enough (except for maybe the very lowest levels), three would be around the minimum, and 4-5 is good.


Levels must be defined clearly, and there must be enough divisions to to skill levels. Two levels can't cover all dancers so that every one can have a good, useful class. 3 or 4 maybe can, depending on the students and teachers. 5 or 6 seems to be the standard for a good school hereabouts. Students should receive feedback from teachers as to what level is suitable for them, and especially if they are taking a level not suitable.


If actual, true, utter beginners are encouraged to take classes, there must be actual and true beginner classes offered. I don't think that beginners should be dumped into an ongoing class where the teacher doesn't have the time to explain them the basics. It's alright if beginning classes are offered, say, only once or twice a year for two months, but they must be there.


I also feel that classes should require some amount of commitment. Constant students popping in and out is not my way of doing it. I want continuity from my classes, and also expect the teacher to design the class based on what the particular group needs. (As we all have schedules and occasionally are sick, there should also be a system for students to "catch up" or "compensate" if they miss a class on which they are enrolled, e.g. they should be allowed to take another class on the same or lower level instead.)


Teachers of the school must be good, professional ballet teachers. No jazz teachers giving ballet classes based on the ballet they took as children for me, thank you! (What to look for in a teacher is another matter altogether, and I won't go into it here this time, as I can't really. I know a good teacher when I see one...;))


The school must be well-organized. Classes must be held when announced. If it becomes necessary to cancel or move a class, students must be informed (e.g. in my own school the teacher hands out letters in a previous class to those who are present, and then the office sends the letter by mail to those who don't receive it in class). In the case of e.g. acute illness of teacher and no substitute available, students must be refunded.


I've gathered that these things are pretty unrealistic for adult students in most places. But moving a class without informing the students and then refusing to refund is just not acceptable! :P If I was in your situation, I'd probably do as koshka suggested already (take the one class you're happy with for now, and start looking for alternatives).

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Guest Tiny Feet

If you do find better options else where, I would strongly encourage you to let the owner know EXACTLY why you are leaving.


I have had a similar experience but not to that extreme. I think sometimes the adult dance student is welcomed when the money in hand but are quickly forgotten or pushed aside to play second fiddle to the youngins, especially during preformance season. In my case rehearsals for recitals took precedence over the adult ballet class and quite a few was cancelled at the last minute.


As an adult ballet student, I see myself as a critical constant financial means to any studio and should be EQUALLY valued as such, regardless if I am a recreational dancer or a 15-year-old aspiring to dance for the NYCB.

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Guest MKdance

I know your pain and have been in a similar situation. :D

Only my class wasn't cancelled, but a new instructor brought in who was almost as good at ballet as those of us in the class!

I agree that if you leave, tell the owner exactly why it is you are leaving. People have to tell them what is wrong in order for them to fix it. Continue taking there from the instructor you respect, but look elsewhere for something better. You may be pleasantly surprised. I called every studio within 45minutes of my work and home, and found wonderful classes. I have to take at a couple different studios to fit into my schedule, but the fact that I have found good instruction is priceless. I also think you should ask for a refund for the class that was cancelled because you are not getting what you paid for. I would ask that instead of a refund, they credit your account for classes in the future with the instructor that you like. It is worth a try! Good Luck :angry:

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  • 3 weeks later...

Skittle, if I were you I would talk to the teacher and other students and try to arrange for the teacher to teach you and a group of other interested adults independently. Space is a big problem of course, but hopefully you can find adults who can get access to other spaces. For example, back when I was ballroom dancing I rented space to practice in a private school gym. Not the best, for sure and it was only open when the school was open, but it cost me only $50 for one year. Worked fine. I was in a small group of people who needed a rehearsal space. One person was a teacher and we got space at her school for nothing. Yes, there were limitations, but we do have to sacrifice.


Churches, schools, Y’s—none are perfect, and you’ll probably have taped music, but so what. If you get just 5 students and charge $15 per class, that’s $75. All cash too. If you can get a group together you might charge each group member a fee to pay for the space, then charge a surcharge to people who take the class without being in the founding group. If your teacher is really good, my bet is that people will come. And if enough people come and you can get cheap space, it’s a very good deal for the teacher.

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  • 2 weeks later...



Take classes whereever you can, I take classes at four different studios, sometimes more. Buy single classes for the first few weeks and get a feel for each teacher and class. Ask the good students, or students who have improved where and with whom they study.

When I meet a new teacher, I go out of my way to introduce myself, and let them know I would like to get corrections. Some students do not like corrections, and most teachers know this. If you let the teacher know this, s/he will give you more attention.


Things to look for in a good Studio:


Good sound system with a variable speed CD player.

Good marley floors that are well maintained and clean

Good ventilation and pleasant staff

Strong barres at the correct height


and most important:


*No trophies in the windows! :D *

(Dance is an art, not a competition in a Hotel ballroom by the airport :P )




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