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READ: Twelve Things to Ask When Choosing a Dance Studio

Families have lots of choices when selecting a dance studio. One of the first things many parents ask is, “How much will it cost?” But there are many equally if not more important things to consider when selecting a school.  Here are a few questions to ask before enrolling your child.

1. Are the instructors qualified? 

One of the first things to ask when selecting a dance school is the qualifications of the dance instructors employed there. Not all dance teachers are the same, and there are no laws governing who can teach your child and who is not qualified. So, this should be the very first question you ask. A quality dance studio will be affiliated with a state or national organization that certifies instructors, such as Dance Masters of America. Instructors can also be college graduates with dance degrees or equivalent experience in the field. There are many ways in which dance educators can be qualified, so make sure your child is in the hands of a professional educator.

2. What are the safety standards at the studio?

A quality studio will require instructors to be CPR and first aid certified. A great studio will have an on-site AED along with staples such as a fire extinguisher and first aid kit. These items should be centrally located and easy to reach in an emergency.  

3. Is the goal to help students reach their potential, or to enhance the studio’s reputation?

Teachers should never force students beyond their natural flexibility or encourage ballet students to “turn out” their feet farther than their natural rotation will allow. These practices cause injury. Safety should be paramount in any extracurricular activity.

4. What type of flooring does the studio have?

A dance class should never take place on a concrete floor or flooring laid over a concrete sub floor. This is dangerous for a dancer’s joints when they jump and land…which happens a lot in a dance class. The ideal flooring for a dance studio is a sprung floor. This specially made dance floor allows some motion in the flooring to protect and cushion a dancer’s joints as she lands from a jump. The sprung floor can be covered with wood or vinyl dance flooring. (Ideal for many types of dance such as ballet and lyrical.

5. Can I watch the class every week?

While it would certainly be distracting to allow parents to sit in on each and every class, there are other ways in which parents can view their child’s weekly progress. Some studios have windows into the classroom. This can be a great way to see the students in action, but also allows the students to be aware they have an audience. The best way to view class is through a monitor into the waiting area. Low-profile cameras in the dance room can allow parents to be comfortable knowing their kids are participating and learning.

6. What is the dress code?

It is important for the instructor to be able to see the student’s body alignment. Therefore, baggy clothing, jeans, sweatshirts and other street wear is not appropriate for dance class. A leotard and tights will allow the instructor to give constructive feedback to the student (which will help develop strong technique) while still covering enough of the body to be modest. Some studios require all students in a class to wear identical colors or styles, and some allow the dancers more personal choice and comfort by requiring dance wear but not dictating specifics. Either way, dance wear should be required for class.

7. How are students placed?

Dancers can be grouped by age, ability, or a combination of both. Students should not be held back because of their age nor advanced simply because of it. A combination of age and ability that allows dancers to be in a challenging environment yet still with peers is ideal. Some studios achieve this by having several overlapping levels so that staff can guide each student to the combination of age and ability that suits them best.

8. Do students compete?

Dance studios can be competitive, non-competitive or a hybrid with groups of each type of classes. Competition focused classes will require a higher level of commitment of both time and money, and not all dancers will be included and advanced. It is important to understand where your dancer may be headed if she continues in the program so that you can make the choice that feels right for your family.

9. Are there any additional performance opportunities?

Most studios will have an annual recital regardless of whether they compete. Some studios have an every-other-year schedule for recitals, and some have less formal in-class presentations. If your child is taking a combination class (tap and ballet for example), will she have the opportunity to perform two numbers? Are there community performance opportunities for older dancers?

10. How long is each class?

For a preschooler, 45 minutes can be a great class length. As dancers get older, more time is necessary for the dancers to learn and retain information. Especially when more than one genre is included (tap and ballet for example), an hour or more will be needed to have any meaningful instruction. By the time dancers reach third or fourth grade in school, combo classes are no longer feasible. Each genre will need sufficient class time for proper training. Ballet classes at the intermediate and advanced levels will need an hour or more to complete a proper class.

11. Is a syllabus followed for each level?

In order to have consistent training for all dancers in the studio, a set syllabus should be followed by all instructors. A director can set her own syllabus for the studio or follow one recommended by an umbrella organization such as Dance Masters of America. The classes should be structured according to a plan and organized so that dancers can progress from level to level regardless of which instructor they have.

12. And finally… how much will it cost?

Great studios with great educators will need to charge enough to maintain a professional staff and facility. However, a studio that is well-run and successful should not break the bank. Ask about tuition rates, costume prices, recital fees, competition fees, required dance wear and any other fees that the studio may charge so that you have a full picture of what you’ll be paying before you enroll. 

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See our dance class styles...

Ballet

Ballet - just hearing that world summons the image of graceful dancers performing Classics like Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. As the leading provider of ballet dance classes for kids in Sacramento, Fancy Feet Dance Academy realizes that ballet forms an essential part of all types of dance. At our dance studio, your child will discover proper posture and discipline while being thought the basic and fundamentals of dance through classical ballet. It may require many hours to develop the necessary skills, but our ballet dance classes in Sacramento are superior. Our highly-skilled instructor will take the time to teach your children skill needed to help them grow and dance to the best of their abilities. Our processional ballet dance studio is full equipped for students of all skill levels.

  • Dancers learn the classical ballet technique. 
  • Each class will consist of barre work, center work and across the floor.
  • Dancers will learn grace and focus.
  • They will build stamina and strength. 

Understanding the Progression Levels:

  • Ballet L1- No experience required 
  • Ballet L1B- Taken ballet L1 or have prior ballet training.
  • Ballet L2- Taken ballet L1b or have prior ballet training. 
  • Ballet L3- Taken ballet L2 or have prior ballet training. 

Tap

If your child is three, four, five, or six years old, tap dancing is a great activity for them to start! Toddler tap dancing is a lot of fun and there are many benefits to the art. Kids can develop physical, social, and mental advantages from the dance that can help them start living healthy, successful, happy lives. Tap is a theatrical style of dance that requires precise rhythmic movements of the feet. Tap is extremely popular in Broadway and musical style performances throughout the world. Some famous tap dancers include: Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Eleanor Powell and Gregory Hines. Fancy Feet Dance Academy believes that this genre of dance teaches our students the vast importance of focus, co-ordination and musicality in all styles of dance.

  • Dancers learn how to use their tap shoes to make rhythmic sounds with their feet.  

Understanding the Progression Levels:

  • Tap L1- No experience required
  • Tap L1B- Taken Tap 1L or prior tap training required 
  • Tap 2- Taken Tap 1LB or prior tap training required
  • Tap 3- Taken Tap 2 or  prior tap training required 

Jazz

Jazz dancing is a blend of many dance styles and cultures. Jazz has a strong ballet base combined with African, Caribbean, Latin and Hip Hop dance. To excel in jazz dance, the dancer must master ballet technique because it consists of slower movements that strengthen the body and improve balance. Jazz dancers’ strong and sharp movements are aided by the posture and body alignment known as ballet technique. A regular Jazz class at Fancy Feet Dance Academy in Sacramento begins with a warm-up designed to get the body moving and the brain focused. From there students will move to the barre to strengthen their technique, then a conditioning section to build muscle strength. Next is flexibility training with a series of deep stretches to be sure their muscles are completely warmed up, preventing injury. Then the fun really begins! The students are taught various steps. She/he learns how to use these steps while traveling across the studio floor or while working on choreography.

  • High energy class that teaching the fundamentals of the jazz.
  • Includes full body warm-up, across the floor & center movement.
  • Develop musicality & enjoy the upbeat popular music used.

Understanding the Progression Levels:

  • Jazz L1- No experience required 
  • Jazz L1B- Taken Jazz L1 or prior jazz training required. 
  • Jazz L2- Taken Jazz L1b or prior jazz training required 
  • Jazz 3- Must taken Jazz L2 or prior jazz training required

Hip Hop

As one of the most popular forms of music out right now, hip hop is fun, exciting, and can lead to some dynamic dance routines. What’s also special about hip hop is that it often spawns its own dances that spread through the culture before hitting the mainstream at full force.

Your child can learn to “bust a move” by taking hip hop dance classes in Sacramento at Fancy Feet Dance Academy. Our skilled instructors will teach your children the same moves they see dancers perform in their favourite hip hop and R&B videos. Our hip hop dance classes in Sacramento and Land Park are perfect to keep your child active while allowing them to express their creativity.

Hip Hop Dance Overview

The dance evolution of hip hop can almost be paired with the musical evolution of the genre. Hip hop branched off from the funk and disco music which was most popular during the 70s. The dance culture of hip hop has no set rules and no set movements that need to be followed in order for it to qualify as hip hop; this makes the dance a fun, natural stress reliever. Ironically, it can help your child improve their concentration skills even further, a trait that could benefit their education. Hip hop dance lessons are not only fun and exciting to learn but will also help keep your child physically active.

  • A style of dance that evolved from the Hip Hop culture.
  • Classes can consist on a variety of styles such as locking, popping and breaking. 

Understanding the Progression Levels:

  • Hip Hop L1- No experience required.
  • Hip Hop L1B- Taken Hip Hop L1 or have prior hip hop training.
  • Hip Hop L2- Taken  Hip Hop L1B or have prior hip hop training.
  • Hip Hop L3- Taken Hip Hop L2 or have prior hip hop training. 

Lyrical

This form of dance is the fusion of ballet and jazz technique. Lyrical students should have some knowledge of ballet training. Emphasis is placed on dance moves that relate directly to the song or music. These dance moves show expressive feeling and/or emotion through fluid and graceful movements. Dancers will develop flexibility, strength and balance through creative exercises and dance routines.

  • Fusion of jazz & ballet. Includes warm-up, across the floor & choreography.
  • Learn how to tell a story through using movement.
  • Develop strength, flexibility & confidence.

Understanding the Progression Levels:

  • Lyrical L1- No experience required 
  • Lyrical L1B - Taken L1 or prior lyrical training required 
  • Lyrical 2- Taken L1b or prior training required 

Contemporary

Contemporary is designed to develop the mind, body, and spirit to be an expressive communicator through movement. It follows closely with modern style dancing and was originally developed from many different dance styles and cultures. Structured technical exercises that condition the body for strength, coordination and flexibility are developed. Dancers will be immersed in a creative environment that incorporates abstract movements such as those seen on the popular show “So You Think You Can Dance”.

  • Fusion of jazz, lyrical & ballet.
  • Includes warm-up, across the floor & choreography.
  • Learn how to tell a story through using movement.
  • Develop strength, flexibility & confidence.

Understanding the Progression Levels:

  • Contemporary L1- No experience required
  • Contemporary L2- Taken L1 or prior contemporary training required

Musical Theater

Musical Theatre is one of our signature program that offers students an exceptional overall experience. With three passionate and specialized instructor’s, students train in all three disciplines; singing, dancing and acting. This magical program awakens each student’s individual creativity, artistic abilities and strengths. Building confidence, passion, and a special ensemble spirit among their class. Each student develops through technical classes and exciting performance repertoire and is highlighted in our annual musical production as well as our year end recital. All students perform one routine per class in our annual spring recital.

  • Perform in fully costumed performances.
  • Develop language and articulation skills.
  • Develop musicality and rhythm.
  • Develop coordination and spatial awareness.
  • Build confidence and social skills.
  • A class that teaches the dancers how to be triple threats.
  • They learn how to sing, dance and act all at the same time.

Understanding the Progression Levels:

  • Musical Theater L1- No experience required 
  • Musical Theater L2- Taken musical theater L1 or have prior training. 

Acrobatic Arts

Acro dance incorporates acrobatic movements into dance routines and is one of the more challenging dance styles to teach and to learn. We are proud and excited to teach acro dance classes in Sacramento at Fancy Feet Dance Academy. Acro dance emboldens our dancers to be physically fit, flexible, strong, and to contort their bodies in ways that may not be immediately comfortable. This, on top of being completely disciplined in the technical aspects of the dance form, makes it a challenging, yet rewarding form of dance that can take dancers to a whole new level.

The program is based on safe and effective progressions with proven results in five divisions of AcroDance: Flexibility, Strength, Balancing, Limbering and Tumbling.  Developed with input from professionals and experts in ballet, modern dance, jazz, contortion, artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, sport acrobatics, yoga, acro yoga, pilates, physiotherapy, hand balancing and more, you will not find a more comprehensive program.  Simple thoughtful progressions take the beginner preschool level dancer from log rolls and summersaults to the advanced dancer tumbling effortlessly across the stage!  


Pointe

Pointe technique is the part of classical ballet technique that concerns pointe work, in which a ballet dancer supports all body weight on the tips of fully extended feet within pointe shoes. A dancer is said to be en pointe when the dancer's body is supported in this manner, and a fully extended vertical foot is said to be en pointe when touching the floor, even when not bearing weight. Pointe work is performed while wearing pointe shoes, which employ structural reinforcing to distribute the dancer's weight load throughout the foot, thus reducing the load on the toes enough to enable the dancer to support all body weight on fully vertical feet.

Pointe technique resulted from a desire for female dancers to appear weightless and sylph-like. Although both men and women are capable of pointe work, it is most often performed by women. Extensive training and practice are required to develop the strength and technique needed for pointe work. Typically, dance teachers consider factors such as age, experience, strength and alignment when deciding whether to allow a dancer to begin pointe work.

  • Dancer work on their pointe technique.
  • Dancers enrolled in the pointe class must also be taking 2 hours of a regular ballet class. 

*This class is invite only.