5 Tips to Finding the Perfect Dance Studio for your Child

“My daughter, Lily, loved to dance.
So I set out to find a dance studio that was just right for her.”

ballet dancersWhen we moved to Cleveland, my daughter, Lily, was 4 years old. It sounds ridiculous to say, but she’d been dancing more than half her little life. She loved to dance then, and now, 7 years later, it has become her passion. But I’m not a dance mom. I never took a class.The only thing I knew was that I wanted her to continue at a place where she had fun, felt comfortable, and instilled confidence in her. I feel like I got lucky when I choseStudio J. I remember the first time I met Jenn Kups. Her bright warm smile assured me immediately that I had chosen the right place. Lily walked into her first dance class…actually ran in…and without looking back to see if I was still there.

I felt like I got lucky with Studio J. I chose it with my gut. But if you want a more concrete set of guidelines, where do you begin when choosing a studio for your child? It’s important make sure you are choosing the right one for your child and your family. And how about the child who isn’t begging to go? What can dance do for them?

jenn Kups

Jenn with a few of her tiniest dancers.

“It is great for socialization, fitness and self-esteem,” explains Jenn Kups of Studio J. in Beachwood, Ohio. Jenn has owned Studio J. for 13 years and has shared her passion for dance literally with thousands of children–girls and boys. “Dance builds strength and character and it takes confidence to get on stage and put your talent on display! It’s so impressive seeing that confidence come out…even in the shyest of girls.”

“It’s important for a studio to create an atmosphere that focuses on team building through developing strong, healthy relationships with teachers and peers.  These attributes help young dancers learn valuable life skills in a fun, supportive environment; which sets the stage for dealing with real world experiences and future success in and outside of the studio,” Jenn explains.

Jenn also emphasizes the importance of individuality, and recognizing that everyone is unique.  It’s important to understand how those attributes are infused into the classroom in a personalized way. “You want your child to feel confident, and watch their inner strength shine through in their dancing.”

Consider how important dance is to you and your child. Do you want a school with strict rules about hairstyle, attire and attendance. Or, do you prefer a more laid back activity? Generally, laid back works for us. One of my favorite things about my daughter’s dance studio is the fun, easy-going atmosphere. Lily is definitely starting to take dance more seriously, but for many years, it has been an enjoyable after-school activity she looks forward to and leaves smiling and happy.

Jenn suggests thinking of the 5 letters in the word “Dance” when choosing studio:

1. Development
2. Attitude
3. Nurturing
4. Confidence
5. Enthusiasm

Each letter in the word represents an important aspect in finding the perfect place for your child.

And then there are practical considerations like cost. Ask questions before signing up about cost. Factor in dance attire: tights, shoes, and leotards. Ask about any additional costs like costume fees for recitals so you’re not taken by surprise later.

“But truly, the most important thing,” adds Jenn Kups, “is that you choose a place where your child truly feels accepted, comfortable and happy.”

For more about Jenn’s studio, visit Studio J.

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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine, Heather Leahy Zachariah, left her career in publishing after baby number number one. She now works from home as a freelance graphic designer and a chauffeur to her 3 busy kids. "Working on TipsFromTown has been a wonderful outlet for me. It renewed my love of publishing where I can design colorful, enticing pages online and allows me to share the things I love about being a mom." Heather grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a place that still is near and dear to her. " After living in Brooklyn for 18 years and studying Graphic Design at Pratt Institute, she now lives in the Jersey burbs. "I love living so close to NYC, but in my heart, I'm an Ohio girl."