U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Parenting
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 08-28-2014, 08:16 AM
 
4,112 posts, read 1,725,210 times
Reputation: 11607

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molli View Post
Have a few dads only nites in the evening hours so that dads may come see their kids without all of the dance moms around! I think you will find that some dads may bond together and will willingly help out your studio with tasks if the dads can feel welcome to come hang out with other men now and then. I know this is a bit unusual but I've seen it work.
This is a great idea! I'll add it to my list.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 08-28-2014, 08:37 AM
 
4,112 posts, read 1,725,210 times
Reputation: 11607
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonderella View Post
The only thing I don't like about our studio is the small waiting area for parents. It's crowded and hot and we can't see into the rooms very well.

I have been in studios like that...I don't like it either.

Things I do like:

-affordable for families. They have a payment scale that charges by how much time all members of one family are in class. It makes it nice for those of us with 2+ kids who are dancing. We are also not nickle & dimed. It's one fee per month, other than recital costumes and recital fee, which are listed up front at the beginning of the year, so no surprises. Auto payment from a credit card is a nice option, which we use.

-class schedule, fee schedule, recital info, dress code, payment options, everything is online and easy to navigate. We can register online, very convenient.

-nice little playroom for the younger non-dancing siblings, to keep them occupied while older kids are dancing

-different "tracks" for different ability and interest levels. My girls just take classes once per week for the fun of it, and do the recital at the end of the year. For those who want to do more, there's a company troupe that practices more often, and performs in the community for various events. It's non-competitive. There is also competitive dance team, that requires a lot of dedication and hard work. One of my daughter's friends is doing this and loves it, but it certainly wouldn't be for everyone. Just this year, they have introduced 4-week sessions, too, so people (most preschool age, it seems) can get a little taste of a class without a larger commitment.

-no trashy or sexually provocative costumes. They are cute and trendy without being slutty

I couldn't agree more.

-great instructors. They all know their stuff, dance-wise, and they must take their lead from the owner, who is super friendly and comes across as so kind and caring. I have never experienced the gossip that I hear about at other places

-The competitive dance girls (mostly teens) do fund-raising for their various trips, by offering "Parents Night Out" babysitting a couple of times a year at the studio for a reasonable fee. They have it all set up as a dance party with various crafts and games. My kids love it and so do I! The proceeds go toward their travel/hotel expenses.
A couple studios I know do this...it's a great idea. What times do you like best? Or what time of year?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MoonBeam33 View Post
My Biggest Pet Peave: Please don't pick out inappropriate costumes for children. Ease of movement? Yes. Looking and feeling beautiful on stage? Yes!
A costume that is essentially a string bikini on a 6-10 year old? Absolutely not.

Ask for parent feedback before you decide on any costumes - some are really, really, really inappropriate for young dancers.
Like I said above, I absolutely detest when teachers put inappropriate costumes on anyone. It's really terrible & will never happen in my studio.

Thanks for all your great input!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-28-2014, 08:53 AM
 
4,112 posts, read 1,725,210 times
Reputation: 11607
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScarletG View Post
I loved the studio my daughter went when young. The woman had actually been my ballet teacher when I was that age.

She did not take any student before age 4....after that, she'd take any student including special needs...and they were not segregated apart from the typical students. She only taught ballet until 3rd grade, then they got to do tap, and in 5th grade they could add jazz/modern if they wanted. Students could take all three....but if they had to take ballet if they took jazz or tap.

There was one recital for all class types every year....none of the contents and competitive stuff (which is where most of the extra costs come in). Every other year, they put on a major ballet as well as the smaller recital. Believe it or not, parents would line up to help for those events. They were professional, well planned, but fun and everyone was respected....from the older high school students that got the leads, to the special needs students that may or may not be doing what everyone else was.

She was strict, but fun....and there wasn't a student pr parent that didn't love her. Her studio was not fancy, it was a classic room, no glass viewing windows. Parents were allowed to stay in the ante room is they wanted, but she wanted the students to be free to dance, not worry about their parents critiquing their performance. There was no body shaming at all...by anyone in her presence. (And that included parents.)

She retired a year after we moved and sold her studio. In going back to my hometown....all the girls that had been dancers there, had moved to studios further away....because it had turned into just another competitive dance troop....special needs and chubby girls were 'discouraged' from attending. The costs had gone from one or two reasonable costumes a year, to 6 or 7 on top of contest fees and travel. They do not do an actual ballet (such as Coppélia, which was the last one we danced it)...but instead just 'routines'.

The school is still there....but it's much smaller, doesn't have the respect it did and parents look for other options and little girls in town don't dream of the day they are old enough to attend.
Your dance teacher sounds wonderful. I had one similar. She retired some time ago, I actually resurrected her studio name using it as my own now (with her permission of course) Thank you for your feedback. I hope to create the same environment for my students & parents.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-28-2014, 10:14 AM
 
1,609 posts, read 2,952,261 times
Reputation: 2236
I liked my small school. From age 4 to 40. The recital was an actuall story. My first year when I was in Kindergarten was the Wizard of Oz. Each scene was a dance ( we were the munchkins!) everyone had a part and no one felt left out.

Well my aunt was bummed she didn't get Dorothy. She was the cowardly lion. I was young I thought she was perfect. It was the 80's and she had the big blonde poofy hair!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-28-2014, 10:27 AM
 
Location: Hudson Valley region, NY
192 posts, read 326,632 times
Reputation: 235
My daughter took dance for a bit then the studio closed and we have yet to find another, here are my thoughts on the whole experience...

Things I liked (either things that I liked about the studio we were in or were deal breakers for me on other studios):
- small class sizes, at age 4-5 up to about 8 kids for one instructor seems reasonable
- age appropriate costumes
- viewing areas where we could watch the class without being seen by the kids and with seating
- free trial classes
- occasional free events, both performing in public for charity which also allows family to get to see them and holidays parties or a parent's night out
- location with good parking and secure enough that parents can take a walk to the grocery store for an item or two

Things I didn't like:
- tuition increases each year plus a yearly re-enrollment fee (especially as both were a surprise)
- small classrooms esp. relative to the number of kids
- lack of seating anywhere in the building
- the assumption that kids under 5 only would want classes that are more "fun"...my daughter was in a fairly regimented class and the other studios around at that age were much more like a glorified playtime, perhaps that is cute if you're not used to it but it felt like a step backwards for us; one option would have been a second type of class
- classes only during the regular work week
- expensive costume fees, I don't know a lot about costs but $60+ for something they will use only once seems a lot on top of the fact that little ones require a lot of replacement of regular shoes and uniforms
- lack of communication, important info needs to go out in emails or be handed to the parents...one studio gave the info to the teachers who then gave it to the kids and it never got home, that was right when costumes were being given out so the sheets should have just been put into those bags yet somehow when they wanted money they certainly knew how to find you
- inconsistency in dress for regular classes, if you require a certain uniform then make it clear on the trial class and enforce it...our old studio started to enforce it then stopped which really annoyed those of us who had already been there (plus it is not fun having a 4 year old constantly mad because so-and-so has a frilly pink pouffy leotard that is more for show than function whereas she has the basic Danskin ballet pink leotard with matching fairly limp skirt)
- being made to pay $40+ for a DVD of the annual show, it should have been part of the tuition
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-28-2014, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Hudson Valley region, NY
192 posts, read 326,632 times
Reputation: 235
Sonderella, I love this idea!

-The competitive dance girls (mostly teens) do fund-raising for their various trips, by offering "Parents Night Out" babysitting a couple of times a year at the studio for a reasonable fee. They have it all set up as a dance party with various crafts and games. My kids love it and so do I! The proceeds go toward their travel/hotel expenses.

Our studio did do some events in the evenings but the kids had to be 6 to attend. I wish they could have worked out a way to do it for younger kids as I know other places in the area do. Also most of the parties had an admission fee which just went to the school and we always felt like we were being hit up for more money especially these things were brought up in front of the kids and of course the little ones clamor for it. I would have felt much better if the events were to help support the competition expenses for the older kids or went towards scholarships with maybe a small percentage to the school for the expense of the events.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-28-2014, 01:50 PM
 
4,112 posts, read 1,725,210 times
Reputation: 11607
Quote:
Originally Posted by HV_Mom View Post
My daughter took dance for a bit then the studio closed and we have yet to find another, here are my thoughts on the whole experience...

Things I liked (either things that I liked about the studio we were in or were deal breakers for me on other studios):
- small class sizes, at age 4-5 up to about 8 kids for one instructor seems reasonable
- age appropriate costumes
- viewing areas where we could watch the class without being seen by the kids and with seating
- free trial classes Always. I am able to give a free month

- occasional free events, both performing in public for charity which also allows family to get to see them and holidays parties or a parent's night out.
I like all these things better than any competition.
- location with good parking and secure enough that parents can take a walk to the grocery store for an item or two
This is also very important to me. Ease of parking & maybe doing an errand while they are in class

Things I didn't like:
- tuition increases each year plus a yearly re-enrollment fee (especially as both were a surprise)
I think enrollment fees are ridiculous for a returning family.
- small classrooms esp. relative to the number of kids
- lack of seating anywhere in the building
Agreed. There seems to be a lack of it everywhere. Some directors think that parents allow siblings to trash waiting area hence why you see so few amenities. I will have comfortable seating, tv/reading material, a free coffee area, an area to place dance bags, section where siblings can play etc.
- the assumption that kids under 5 only would want classes that are more "fun"...my daughter was in a fairly regimented class and the other studios around at that age were much more like a glorified playtime, perhaps that is cute if you're not used to it but it felt like a step backwards for us; one option would have been a second type of class
Oh I couldn't agree more! Not every kiddo, under 5, is there to do some marching in place & sing songs for an hour. I have a separate class for those students.
- classes only during the regular work week I give both options, weekday or weekend.
- expensive costume fees, I don't know a lot about costs but $60+ for something they will use only once seems a lot on top of the fact that little ones require a lot of replacement of regular shoes and uniforms
Agreed. I like a moderately priced costume especially for the younger ones.
- lack of communication, important info needs to go out in emails or be handed to the parents...one studio gave the info to the teachers who then gave it to the kids and it never got home, that was right when costumes were being given out so the sheets should have just been put into those bags yet somehow when they wanted money they certainly knew how to find you
I hardly ever give out fliers anymore. If I do, it also is backed with an email. Heck my parents can text me & vice versa.
- inconsistency in dress for regular classes, if you require a certain uniform then make it clear on the trial class and enforce it...our old studio started to enforce it then stopped which really annoyed those of us who had already been there (plus it is not fun having a 4 year old constantly mad because so-and-so has a frilly pink pouffy leotard that is more for show than function whereas she has the basic Danskin ballet pink leotard with matching fairly limp skirt)
Another pet peeve of mine. ONE dress code & enforced. I show pics in my emails of how everyone will be dressed for class...also to "help" that one parent that pulls the "from home, pink pouffy tutu" deal lol I provide professional tutus that the young kids LOVE to wear at the end of class & if you're already wearing one, you cant wear "Miss Lynn's" tutus.
- being made to pay $40+ for a DVD of the annual show, it should have been part of the tuition
No way would I charge $40 dollars for a DVD in today's tech world where the camera is in your phone but it is available & will be included in the tuition.
Great ideas! Thanks so much!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-28-2014, 01:54 PM
 
4,112 posts, read 1,725,210 times
Reputation: 11607
Quote:
Originally Posted by HV_Mom View Post



Our studio did do some events in the evenings but the kids had to be 6 to attend. I wish they could have worked out a way to do it for younger kids as I know other places in the area do. Also most of the parties had an admission fee which just went to the school and we always felt like we were being hit up for more money especially these things were brought up in front of the kids and of course the little ones clamor for it. I would have felt much better if the events were to help support the competition expenses for the older kids or went towards scholarships with maybe a small percentage to the school for the expense of the events.
I agree...the ages should be much younger.

They brought it up in front of students? Just no.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-28-2014, 07:06 PM
 
Location: NY to NJ
645 posts, read 774,627 times
Reputation: 1014
Are you opening up your studio in NY?

Well, my DD will be starting dance in a few weeks. I actually pulled her out last week at the original school I had her registered at for many of the reasons that were stated on here. No communication and trying to nickel and dime me. They required we buy the shoes from the studio. Then jacked the price up about $15 compared to everywhere else. Not to mention the receptionists in the studio were pretty rude to us. To me, this is just a money making ploy. And I understand a dance studio is a business and you have to make money, but I feel like there's other ways to do it.

Every time I would call, I would get a different answer when I asked when is the first months tuition is due. First it was, at the first class, then it was by September 1 (meanwhile they throw in a late fee if it's not paid by the 1st.). Then thrown in was "Oh, and you aware of the tuition increase right." No, I wasn't made aware. If no one picked up the phone to call me or email me, how would I know. And while $7-$10 isn't a big deal to some people or those whose kids are highly invested in dance, for my toddler who is just starting out, I have a budget. Then I was told Junes tuition was due in September. So then you are out more money if your kid drops the class mid-year. Just fees coming out left and right once they got me registered. But luckily, registration was free. So on that note, I decided to switch her to some place else. Because of their disorganization and fees, they lost us before my daughter even started.

My other biggie would be the horribly inappropriate costumes that is becoming the norm at 50% or not more of the studios in my area. I'm talking 4 year olds in bra tops and bootie shorts. Really?

Last edited by Me 82; 08-28-2014 at 07:18 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-29-2014, 11:07 AM
 
Location: Hudson Valley region, NY
192 posts, read 326,632 times
Reputation: 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by LLCNYC View Post
I agree...the ages should be much younger.

They brought it up in front of students? Just no.
Yes, there were events for various holidays and posters were placed around the school and numerous times the kids were asked if they were coming. For example, one was a Valentine's Father/Daughter Dance which in itself was a nice idea, however it was setup with snacks and a guaranteed photo and a few other things, and an admission charge of somewhere around $30+! I'm not really sure why as it was being held in the studio and it was just some light snacks. They would have done much better to cut out a lot of the extras then make it possibly a small fee and let people know that snacks would be available for a small charge (just enough to cover the expense, not enough to make it a huge moneymaker for the school). I know kids will eventually hear about these events, but it was the over and over mention of it that drove me nuts. Also "here is a flower to take home to Daddy when you invite him to go with you". Jeez.

I should add though, looking back I get the feeling they weren't always this way and they were running into hard times and this is how they chose to address it. Sad as it was a school that had been in business for decades, a good lesson for any business in long-term planning so as you have to adjust to changing expenses and revenue you can find ways to do so that will not alienate your existing customers. I know a number of families who did not come back after the first year because of all the little add-ons then one said to me they might come back but decided not to when I told the mother how the fees had changed.

More on the classes for the little ones...the class we loved was for ages 3-4 and it was a combo of ballet, tap, and tumbling for 50 minutes once a week (I think it was about a 20 / 20 / 10 split of time). There were typically 6-8 kids in that class. When they closed we tried another school with what was billed as a similar class but that ended up being about 14 kids in a smaller room and included quite a bit of what I think they saw as "dramatic play" (acting out emotions and such) plus doing children's songs with either the associated dances or free-form dance. As I said in my earlier post all of this was cute and looked like fun, but also a step backwards for those who wanted a more traditional dance class. They did offer traditional classes but only at age 5 and you had to choose between ballet or tap. If you can offer classes in either of those directions I think that could be great as some kids are ready earlier than others for the more traditional classes or as someone else suggested, not being so tied to age.

A question, your user name implies you are in NYC, is that where your school will be? I am about an hour north, if by any chance you will be more up this way I would be interested in hearing more directly about your plans.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Parenting
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top