Youth-Oriented Dance Studios
● By Sandie Tillery
Tiny DancersApril 2007
By Sandie Tillery
The leaping, tapping, and hip hopping of “happy feet” will resound when local North State dance studios present their annual recitals in April, May and June. Many of the local dance studios end every school year with a performance showcasing their students’ progress. Though intended primarily for the families of the students, most studios advertise and encourage everyone to attend the performances.
Offering classes in a wide range of dance styles for aspiring dancers, from itty-bitty beginning tap dancers, to very advanced ballerinas, each studio has something unique to offer its students. Roni Grandell, director of Studio 8, lists her recommendations for qualities that make for a good dance school environment:
• Qualified teachers
• Clear mission statement
• Pride in their business (clean, organized, friendly)
• Wide range of dance styles offered
• Good communication with parents
Christy Webber, director of Front and Center Dance Studio, agrees that the dancer and family must feel comfortable at the studio. Webber says that good relationships between staff and students and their families are essential. “a fun and exciting atmosphere” and well qualified instructors top the list of qualities Sonya Kennedy, director of California Dance Company, recommends to parents who are looking for a studio.
Nicole Dewsnup, co-director of Breakaway School of Dance, also considers a family friendly atmosphere to be essential. She echoes other dance directors who recommend looking at the skills of older students who have been trained at the studio. Have any of the studio’s students moved on to study or compete at higher levels or to perform professionally? This may be a question for those families looking for serious dance instruction.
“Dance is a performing art. Recitals give kids a touch of what it’s like to perform before an audience,” said Yvonna Kuyper, director of the Dance Depot in Redding. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Yvonna carries on a tradition of 50 years of dance instruction in Redding. Daughter Natasha Kuyper now teaches with her mother and grandmother, Elsa Zoll, and plans to continue the business when her mother retires. take the family out for an afternoon or evening of magical entertainment sometime during April, May and June to see what is happening at the schools of dance in your area. you might find yourself tapping your toes along to the beat of their “happy feet”.