7 Tips for Selecting A Dance School

A Valley Stream Mom fan contacted me about dance school advice.  Is it that time already?  Yep.  I have never taken dance but I have been around dance for at least 12 years.  As a former pageant director and coach I have become pretty good at judging technique after working with very talented teens over the years.

When searching for a dance school, I advise you to:

1.  Ask for a DVD of their last dance recital.  Critique the dancers, costumes, and music.  I recently learned from a mom that she witnessed a dance group performing to music with explicit lyrics.

2.  Be weary of the amount of trophies or posters announcing their competition wins.  I don't personally want my daughter in a school that's too heavy on competing because it becomes more about the dance school reputation and less about teaching my kid technique.  Ever watch Dance Moms?

3.  Most schools do not invite you into the studio during class, but it doesn't hurt to ask.  However, if you can hold your ear up to the door, try to listen how the teacher speaks to the kids.  If it's demeaning, run. I believe that you can speak to a child and correct their technique without killing their self esteem and pissing me off.

4.  My daughter's tap teacher recently said that she doesn't teach what she can't do.  Run.  Your child's training will be limited.  Hmmm...looks like I have a decision to make soon.  However, if the school offers what I believe are called Master's classes which bring in outside dancers in to teach certain techniques, stay put.  That's a good sign.

5.  Former Miss New York says: "I would read the teacher's bios and see what their background is. Make sure they have strong credits and depending on what you are looking for, technique, performance, etc... match it to what your goals are then I would say you'd have a pretty good idea."

6. Michigan Dance School Owner says: "A few things to consider...at a young age being sure that the teachers want the students to accomplish and excel in the basics. To many places are focused on grooming strictly competitive dancers and that is how they teach. Also, how does the studio feel?  Most places will allow you to view a class or may even let you try one out."

7.  She continues and says, "A strong teaching staff but I have learned over the years that even though your resume has a lot of impressive items on it, it does not mean that you are a great teacher, that just means you have personal talent. Look at the dancers from the beginners up to advance and see how the students seem to be progressing."

Continue reading below for feedback on local dance schools

Broadway Bound Dance School
153 Merrick Road - Valley Stream
(516) 256-0122
Registration begins August 30th (schedule is posted on the door)

My daughter started dancing here at 2.5 years old and we only stayed for 2 years.  I sat through two, 5 hour dance recitals and was not impressed with the dancers with the exception of a few students.  There were students receiving trophies and accolades for dancing with the school for 3 and 10+ years.  I'm not a dancer but being part of the pageant industry I know talent when I see it.  I didn't see a whole lot of it there a few years ago.  The recital was waaay too long, and the Dance Company pretty much took over the entire show. *No website.  There are just two studios which are spacious and bright.  Parking is a bit tough during class changeover at times, so get there early.

Danse Xpressions

70 S. Central Avenue - Valley Stream
(516) 825-1920
Classes offered & Fees

I personally have no experience as a dance mom with this school, but I do know that this school has some very talented students.  I sat in on a performance rehearsal and got chills because of the talent in the room, especially by a young boy no older than 10 years old.  Very impressed by the coaching the entire 15 minutes I was in the room.

Hamilton School of Dance - Valley Stream
59 West Merrick Road
(516) 872-0389

I visited this dance school a few years back and don't recall anything other than the flight of stairs I had to walk up to get to the studio.  Located on Merrick Road, I have NEVER seen anyone enter or exit this building. Is there a secret entrance somewhere?  I know that the photos on the wall of the studio are that of the owner in her hey day.  It would make a better impression on new clients to have current photos on the wall of students or instructors.

Laylas Dance & Drum - Valley Stream
52 W. Sunrise Highway
(646) 539-8934

I don't know much about the classes for children, but Valley Stream Dad and I took a few Salsa classes and loved it!  Great instructors and the class was alot of fun.  In addition to traditional dance, this school also teaches Double Dutch jump rope, and teaches drum.

Miss Edie's Dancin' Feet - Valley Stream/Franklin Square Boarder
751 Franklin Avenue
(516) 872-3522
*See comments below

Tropix Dance Studio - Lynbrook
608 Merrick Road
Registration begins August 14th

This is one of my favorite dance studios nearby.  It's bright, colorful, and fun!  Free trial classes were offered last year.  My kids participated in the trial belly dance and Kids Zumba class last year.  Valley Stream Daughter was a little shy with belly dancing,  but I think Valley Stream Son thought he was the Zumba teacher.  We couldn't enroll with the school because we were already committed to another school.  The owner is extremely friendly and helpful.

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My girls have been going to Steps Alive in West Hempstead since my oldest was 5. It is a very non-competitive nurturing enviroment. The ballet teacher is a true ballerina. She still dances, even teaches in the city. My girls love her. There is no pressure to be in a "company" or to be competitive. There is no lining up for tickets, everyone starts off with the same number of tickets for the recital and you can purchase more if necessary. Its at Westbury Music Fair, there is not a bad seat in the place. I highly recommend.

My daughter went to Miss Edie's for a few months and I didn't like it. The owners are mother and daughter (or were when we were there) and I always felt like I was bothering the mother - even when making monthly payments! The waiting room was cramped and it seemed unorganized - sometimes dance class was in the basement, sometimes it was on the first floor - but you never knew until you got there. The teachers were very young students and the class was extremely crowded. My daughter was 4 at the time and just didn't want to go anymore... At 5, we started at Broadway Bound in Valley Stream and we both love it. She's been there for 3 years and she just got her 3-year trophy at her recital in June. There is plenty of parking there (another issue I had with Miss Edie's) and the women at the front desk are sweethearts.

Hamilton is horrible! She has no patience and my daughter would cry when she had to go to class!!! 

My child has attended Silva Dance Academy in Rockville Centre.  The dance school is wonderful for ballet and tap, however the other classes need better instructors.  I was not impressed by the choreography.  The school does not take class photos which we as parents look forward to each year.  The recital is a bit long, but very entertaining. 

*Comments in italics are not that of ValleyStreamMom.com.  Comments were not meant to bash any particular dance school, but to help other parents during studio selection.  I recommend that you use your own sound judgment when visiting and selecting a school.

Do you have a recommendation for a dance school?  If so, please share.

Excuse the typos. I'm tired.

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1 comment:

  1. Starz On Broadway - on the Valley Stream/Lynbrook Border
    85 Atlantic Avenue
    Lynbrook, NY

    My daughter has been dancing for 16 years...she is now 19. She went to Starz for the last 5 years. As far as dance schools go, it is on the small side, but the teachers, staff etc are so friendly and nice. The dance studio is updated and clean. The teachers work great with the students regardless of age. The recital is always great. There are cameras in each of the classrooms with a big flat screen tv in the waiting area so parents can observe without disturbing the students. I would highly recommend Starz.