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  • Writer's pictureKelly King

Afraid you won’t get the value out of your child’s dance education?

How do you decipher value? After all, there are no standards in dance except the ones that owner or director create.

  1. When looking at a dance program you want to see first, do they have a strong syllabus to ensure that their students have a cohesive program to follow? Will they have a strong progression of skills that allow their students to thrive?

2. How many students are allowed in each class. Teachers time and time again will say that the quality of education increases with fewer students to impact. How do the tuition rates reflect this executive decision.

I'm not a numbers person, but numbers don't lie. Look at theses rates per month:

Example Monthly Tuition rates for 1 class

5 students at $90.00 per month= $450.00

10 students at $70.00 per month= $700.00

15 students at $70.00 per month= $1050.00

30 students at $70.00 per month= $2,000.00 *Teacher salary investment for one class per month is usually around $120 for the month, on the high end.

One can clearly see that the one with fewer students is offering the greatest value at a substantially lower price. Much of these cost go to the building, marketing, teachers, and other expenses associated with running a professional operation. It’s naturally in the business owner’s best interest to have a program with more students and with today's social media marketing capability it's not that hard to get them.

3. Education and Credentials: This one should speak for itself. However, anyone with a dream can build a business. It does take lots of leadership skills and I respect this on every level. But education level, teaching experience, and sheer knowledge of how to progress a beginning student to an advanced one can be very, very different at different schools.

Children are sponges and if they learn coordination incorrectly or not at all will truly struggle to learn intermediate and advanced concepts because the foundation was either not strong enough you will see this as breakdowns in their education. Unfortunately, the child will feel and believe that they are to blame for the shortcoming.

The biggest mistakes I see in the industry :

Kids do not learn to jump, they learn to bounce on their toes which will destroy their calves in later training.

They learn to leap without first learning the coordination of it.

I’ve seen kids learn a waltz incorrectly, likely because there were too many kids in class. This throws off anything that has a down up down pattern.

Gripped muscles instead of lengthening.

Hands held together instead of apart in 1st.

I’ve seen intermediate students not know how the upper body relates to the lower so coordination is extremely off.

The solution is that we have to work with our physique and with the laws of physics. I can teach a teenager who is 200 pounds to appear light and airy on their feet based on how they use their muscles and coordinate their body. The use of the musculature has everything to do with the success of a dancer, not their physique, and certainly not their “natural talent”. Success in dance has much more to do with the students dedication to their own success, much like a business owner.

When you look at value you need to see the full scope of what students receive.

It’s not just about the dancer’s professional experience, it’s about how they educate which is quite different than knowing how to dance themselves. Dancers train almost their entire life. Personally, I have over 39,000 hours in dance education from elite level programs. My adult training has nothing to do with education. I had to learn how to teach and introduce simple concepts that become highly complex ones. Not every great dancer has this skill. This is why we work with a 100 year old Internationally recognized program.

  1. Empowerment: Does the program empower the students to listen, observe, and become great learners? Great leaders are great learners. This is why our program is not a recreational one. We value the intelligence it takes to be successful for a highly skilled, abstract art.

And ultimately, we believe that there is no price you can put on developing a child’s sense of authenticity, creativity, intelligence, and success. Of all the dancers I have known, taught, and been colleagues with . . . all of them have created powerful lives.

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