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For Parents - What to Look for in a Dance Studio & More - Answers to Important Questions

What Parents Need to Know

As a parent who wants the best for their kids, it’s hard to navigate the sea of activities offered for children, especially if you have never done them yourself! How do you know what to expect? How do you help your child succeed? Here is a quick guide as to what to expect from a dance class, and what you should look for in a quality dance school.

What to Do Before I Take the First Class

The first step is to register! Find a class that appeals to your child and that works with your schedule. Expect to be given a weekly class schedule detailing when and where your class meets. It’s Important to make sure your attendance is consistent, since most classes progress weekly. Find out if there is a dress code for your class. Make sure to obtain the correct clothes and shoes for class so that your child is properly prepared. At ADT our friendly front desk staff can help you make this process easy.

What to Expect In Your Dance Class

Dance classes consist of two main parts, learning technique (how to do the movements correctly) and learning choreography (how to put steps together and remember combinations). Instruction and correction should be given by the teacher to the individual student, as well as generally to the entire class. All dance classes should be geared to be engaging and age appropriate for participants. Dance is mostly considered a silent art form, so students are expected to speak only when asking questions or to respond to the teacher. Most dance forms are a physical expression of music, so expect music appreciation and musicality to be emphasized.

Performing! The Best Part of Taking Dance!

Dance is a performance art! Any qualified and professional dance studio will offer many performing opportunities to its students, ranging from studio demonstrations for very little ones, to full scale productions. Often referred to as a showcase or recital, your child’s dance performance will be a memory to cherish! Most recitals require additional fees to cover costumes and venue expenses. Expect to set aside extra time during a performance week for additional practices, and that sometimes theatre rehearsals can be long. Support your dancer by making sure they are rested, properly fed, and hydrated before a performance. Performing is about doing ones’ personal best, as well as team work and class comradery. When the lights come on its time to shine!

What to Look For In A Dance Studio

Caring Instructors - Look for well-trained instructors with education and professional work history. Teachers should have the ability to communicate both how to dance, and a genuine love for the art form with your child.

Facilities Built for Dance - Look for floating marley floors. This type of flooring reduces the risk of slip and fall injuries during dance class, and is gentle on children’s bodies during impact movements, such a jumping. Also a proper ventilation system that allows for adequate fresh air flow and oxygen is key to ensuring peak performance in a highly physical indoor activity. ADT is the only studio in Anchorage that was built just for dance.

Diverse Programing - In today’s dance world diversity is key. Look for a studio that offers excellent training in many different styles of dance. This will also save you time as a parent driving between studios in the attempt to have your child experience a well-rounded dance education.

Office Staff to Assist You - Choose a studio that has a friendly front desk staff available, solely to help you and answer your questions. This keeps teachers focused on what they do best, teaching!

*All photos are those of Alaska Dance Theatre students.

About the Author: Farah Zoetmulder began dancing at age 5 at Interplay Ballet in Toronto Canada under Anna McCowan Johnson and Arnold Spohr. She later attended and graduated from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School under David Moroni and Julia Arkos. While in Winnipeg, Ms. Zoetmulder was awarded the Paddy Stone Choreographic Award and appeared as a dancer with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet before moving to Anchorage. Locally she has appeared as a dancer for the Anchorage Opera, The Anchorage Symphony, Theatre Artists United, and Anchorage Ballet. She is considered one of the best ballet and pointe instructors in the State of Alaska and has had several students under her instruction place in the top 3 at the Youth America Grand Prix, classical division. Her students have been accepted into numerous professional ballet schools, companies, and Universities, including The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, The Kirov Academy, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, The Royal Ballet School in London, American Ballet Theatre, Ballet Arizona, Houston Ballet, and Ohio State University. Presently, Farah works as an Associate Artistic Director and Teacher at Alaska Dance Theatre.


Learn more about Alaska Dance Theatre:

Variety of dance styles available. Dancers ages 3+, all levels are welcome! Alaska Dance Theatre is a non-profit school of dance dedicated to providing the highest caliber of artistic education since 1980.

  • The strongest Classical Ballet program, specializing in Russian, French, and Italian Classical Ballet, for a well-rounded dancer.

  • Jazz and broadway, tap, hip hop, contemporary & modern, creative movement & dance acro.

  • Award-winning instructors

  • Performance opportunities at Alaska Center for the Performing Arts

  • Professionally-equipped facility with multiple studios

  • Anchorage School District approved vendor

  • Voted #1, Best Dance School in Alaska 2020, Anchorage Daily News.

  • #1, Best Dance School 2019, 2020, Anchorage Press.

Alaska Dance Theatre, Inc. 550 E. 33rd Ave., Anchorage, AK 99503


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