Most experts agree that Classical Ballet is the most effective method of training a dancer. Broadway auditions start with a ballet class. Other styles like jazz and tap are based on ballet technique, so you have to learn the basics before you can go further. Even if you prefer other dance forms, good ballet training will help you be the best.
Avoid “combination classes” where students study ballet, tap, jazz, etc. all in one hour a week. Even beginning students should have a minimum of one hour a week of ballet, and older students (who study pointe for example) should take two or more classes a week. Pointe work should only be done after several years of serious training and after the student is at least 11 years old.
Anyone who can keep a beat can teach dance. There are no government regulations on who can or cannot teach your child. Therefore, it is very important that you investigate the qualifications of teachers. It’s best if dance teachers have been experienced professional dancers. They have usually had the best training and experience and, through teacher training, experience, or talent can pass that on to the next generation. Some teachers may have college degrees in dance despite not having danced professionally. Other teachers may have studied at local studios but never studied in a professional situation, and are not qualified to take your child very far. Make sure you know who is teaching your child.
Dance studios should have plenty of space for moving: high ceilings for jumping, mirrors to see yourself, and specially-built wooden floors with an appropriate surface covering (wood or special vinyl). Studios should not have concrete floors (even if covered with wood or vinyl). Studios should have 60 square feet of space or more per student in the class.
Ideally, between 10 and 20 students. This depends on the size of the studio room. Larger rooms may accommodate more dancers. In an advanced level 25 can sometimes be accommodated if the space is large enough. An experienced teacher may be able to handle 20 students, whereas a novice or teenager may not be able to handle 12!
Most studios participate in competitions and conventions. These can be fun and exciting ways to show off your skills or improve them. Extra classes or rehearsals should be dedicated to preparing for competitions, and technique classes in all disciplines should come first. You can’t stop training and expect to compete! Serious ballet students need to have at least one daily technique class before spending time on preparing for competitions.