Important things to consider when selecting a Ballet School
Is the studio spacious and does it have a resilient wood floor?
“Any discussion of ballet would not be complete without a mention of the floor, which affects the entire bone structure of the dancer. The proper resilient wood sub-floor is essential. No teacher who has a cement or tile floor should ever teach more than basic elements. A well sprung wooden floor (can be overlayed with Marley) is vital to the future of the dancer. Terrible back and knee injuries are unpreventable if a dancer leaps and lands on a non-resilient floor."
Quote "Dance Teacher Now"
Do the teachers strive for an intelligently balanced combination of fun, discipline and learning? Do they realize the necessity of very slowly and methodically introducing to the students the vocabulary and movement of ballet? Do they consistently emphasize correct postural alignment or 'placement'?
"If you're watching beginners perform don't expect to see spectacular tricks, splits, exaggerated leg lifts. These shouldn't be part of the training of beginners. A good school works by slow progression to develop good habits. " also a good teacher never forgets why children dance. Children dance for pleasure and the best teacher knows that while dancing is hard work, it should also be fun." and "Though lessons consist of a carefully planned regime of physical training, dancing is also an important means of emotional expression and the development of esthetic sensitivity."
Do teachers give individual corrections rather than emphasizing regimentation?
"Discern whether the teacher is mainly concerned with a 'dance number' and keeping everyone in step with everyone else or if she is helping each student with individual problems."
Quote Performance Publication of Ballet West
Students should be placed according to age, previous training, physical maturity and strength.
If a teacher feels that a student has been placed in the wrong class, parents are contacted, and options are discussed.
"There are no shortcuts even for the most talented pupils. Shortcomings and imperfections developed by too rapid advancement are almost impossible to erase."
Gordon Paxman, former Dean of The University of Utah Ballet Department