As you watch your happy child dancing around the living room to their favourite movie soundtrack, you suddenly realise you should put them into dancing! You get your phone or laptop out and start searching for local dance schools. A task that you thought would take 5 minutes turns out be extremely daunting. How can there be so many dance schools in one area and how are you ever going to decide which one is right for you and your child?

Choosing the right school is very important and serious consideration should be made before making your final decision. You should not base this decision on convenient location or times but on what is best for you and your child in the long run.

Here are my Top Tips to make sure you and your little one find the right school...

1. Look for fully trained and qualified teachers - It may surprise you to know that you can start teaching dance without any qualifications and it happens more than you may realise. Your Child's safety should be the teachers number 1 priority and without proper training and dance education this cannot be ensured. Injuries occur when Children are not taught correct technique and this can severely affect them and their bodies as they get older.

2. What type of school suits your child? - What would you like your child to do? Competitions/Exams/Performance/Recreational?

If you want your child to compete in weekly competitions then you must make sure to find a school that offers this. If you do not want them involved in the competitive side and they just want to enjoy a recreational dance class once or twice a week then you should find out which school caters to that best.

Most schools will offer similar genres of dance these days but there will be schools who specialise and are known for certain types of dance e.g. Highland, Contemporary, Ballroom etc. If your child shows an interest in a specific genre then this is another thing to take into consideration.

3. What are the children doing in class? - Before you sign up to class you should consider how many levels and age groups are in class. Is your child dancing the whole time they are in class or do they spend most of their time sitting in the corner with their friends while the 'bigger kids' dance? It is great for the younger children to have role models and look up to the older children so they can picture what they will be able to do one day but I do not believe it is beneficial for them to spend 2 hours in class and only 30 minutes dancing because the time is split between all sorts of different grades.

4. Who are the Teachers? - Teachers are the life blood of a school. Without them the classes cannot exist. You must make sure that your child has a Teacher who encourages and inspires them - NO MATTER WHAT! Children NEED encouragement and belief instilled in them from the moment they walk through the door of the studio. No child will flourish without the correct attention and motivation. Is the teacher friendly? Does She/He use a calming voice? Do they know how to control the class? Can they calm your crying child?

And Lastly...

5. Does it feel right? - Are you and your child welcomed when you first walk through the door? Do you feel excited for your child to take class at the studio? Are you allowed to stay and watch the first class if your child feels uneasy? Do you feel confident and calm leaving your child each week? If you do then there is an excellent chance you have found the right school!!!

Different Dance Schools will be right for different dancers. You may not get it right the first time and change to a different school after a term or a year to find the perfect fit. If you do decide to change schools, please make sure you speak with the child's original teacher and explain why you feel you want to move. If the teacher has your child's best interest at heart they will support the move.

The LCI Dance Center is a performance based school and currently working towards its Summer Show. We still have a few spaces in select classes. If you are interested in joining us then its not too late!!!

Classes Available: Creative Movement Parent and Toddler class (18m-3y), *Rising Stars Ballet and Tap (3-5y), *Shooting Stars Ballet, Tap and Jazz (5-7) and Starlets Musical Theatre (8-12y).

All classes available in Helensburgh and select classes in Garelochhead*

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