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Conservative, Competitive, or Recreation…How To Choose

How to choose a dance program Part 1

Conservative, Competitive, or Recreation

By Felecia Thomas

This is part 1 in a series of posts about what to look for when researching dance education and training. For those of you dance moms and dads looking for conservative technique training and performance opportunities, dance studios and dance programs should offer progressive curriculums for serious students.

When looking for a dance studio that offers serious technical training, here are a few things to look for.  I also suggest visiting a few studios to see how they operate. You will find information about a particular studio on their website. Calling ahead is recommended. Here are a few preliminary questions you can ask.

A serious ballet training programdancer feet


What style of ballet is being taught and by whom? If it is a serious program they will have information about what style they teach and the progressive opportunities for students.

What other styles of dance are offered to dancers?

There are a  full range of dance techniques and skill levels- Let’s get into it, there’s Jazz, Modern, Tap, West African, Creative, Improvisation, Acrobat, Theater, Aerial, Salsa, Flamenco, Ballroom, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Liturgical…and the list goes on

Class Size & Structure Information

How much attention will your child receive in class? How many students are in each class?

Class size will impact the learning level for your child.

Length of class- for younger students, 6 and under 45-minute classes are reasonable.

The older they get the longer the class is.

Older children should also take several classes a week.

Are there mirrors? Are the mirrors full length?

You want to be able to see your entire body.

What type of floor do dancers dance on?


  1. A floating floor is a dance floor that rests on a system of high-density rubber to absorb the shock of jumping and saves the body from absorbing that shock.
  2. The surface of the floor is important as well. Marley is a vinyl composite flooring that is most preferred in recreational and professional dance.

A deeper look into the school


  1. How often do dancers perform? A beginner student will not have as many performance opportunities as a veteran student. Get your child in class and get their training started early.
  2. What are the qualification of the dance instructors? – Ask for qualifications.
  3. What are the dance studio/program policies? – Read them carefully before enrolling. Don’t commit unless you are absolutely sure it is sufficient. Some studios will ask you to sign some type of agreement. When you sign an agreement there are specific procedures for withdrawing.
  4. What is the dress code? – A conservative studio will require a dress code. Be prepared to comply.
  5. Is the program representative?-I am all about inclusion. How does the studio include people who are representative of your child? Staff? Students?

Studio management

How is the studio being run? Most studios have a manager and front desk staff. Are parents interrupting class to ask questions?

How are payments managed? – Studios are moving to auto-draft systems to collect tuition on enrollment classes.  It is beginning to be a standard in the industry. Also, look into payment plan options as well. Tuition and fees are NON-REFUNDABLE.  


Felecia Thomas is the momager of three dancers. Felecia also owns Reigning Victory Dance Studio in Fayetteville, GA where she is the Artistic Director of the Dance Academy.

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