Learning ballet can be a very fun experience for both children and adults who want to reap the physical and behavioral benefits of dancing. It’s a great way to strengthen the body and develop self-discipline. If you’re an aspiring ballerina who has never stepped foot into a ballet dance studio, there is no better time to explore the wonderful world of ballet than now. But, of course, before you can do that, you first have to find a ballet dance studio or school that offers high-quality training to individuals who are interested in learning the art. But, aside from the training quality and approach, you also need to consider the faculty, facilities, and location.
When looking for a ballet school or studio, it’s very important to find out if the instructors already have many years of teaching experience in ballet. Although they may not necessarily have to have a degree in dance, a teacher who has obtained a bachelor’s degree in dance from a college or university is a plus factor.
Also, the distance and traveling time to a dance school should be taken into consideration. Make sure that the dance studio is not too far from your home so your schedule can fit into your family schedule. This is particularly important if it’s your children who are attending the classes. Too much travel time can make them easily tired and by the time they reach the studio for training, they already lost most of their energy.
As for the facilities, you should visit the ballet dance studio so you can personally check out the place. Make sure that the studio is fully equipped with dance floors, barre, and mirrors. Choose a ballet studio that has a professional “floating floor”, which is a type of dance floor that rests on high-density foam. The foam acts as a shock absorber during jumping and elevations and prevents dancers from incurring injuries. When it comes to ballet, a floating floor is preferred over a “sprung” floor, which is the typical dance floor made of wooden structure. Check out the top-most layer as well. A ballet dance floor that is made of sheet vinyl by Marley Floors which is known all over the world as the best top layer for dance floors. Because a Marley floor is not that slippery, it allows dancers to “slide with control”.
Most of a ballet dancer's training takes place at a ballet "barre" (French word for "bar"). Hence, it’s very important that you choose a ballet dance studio that has one. This bar is similar to a wooden or metal pole. It is either permanent (attached horizontally to the wall several inches above the floor) or portable (mounted onto a sturdy, free-standing supporting structure).
Ballet dancers use the barre in various ways. One of their routines is they place one leg on the bar by putting their heel over it, after which they do some warm-up, stretching exercises, and fast exercises. Each of these barre exercises has a specific purpose, such as to strengthen the legs and feet, increase extension, develop stability and balance, and improve overall flexibility. Because barre is an important tool in all levels of ballet, make sure to find a dance studio that has several of this.
Also, look for a studio that limits the number of students in their classes. Remember, the smaller the size of the class is, the better for the student. A ballet dance studio that holds small classes can give more focused and personalized attention to each dancer. A teacher that has few students has better control of the class and can closely monitor each dancer’s progress. A maximum of twelve students per class is the ideal size.
There are plenty of ballet dance studios and schools in the United States. Some of the most widely known include: The School of American Ballet, The Conservatory of Dance, Houston Ballet Academy, and the Julliard School. Among the four, however, the School of American Ballet is arguably the best school for both novice and advanced ballet dancers.
The School of American Ballet (SAB), which was founded by choreographer George Balanchine and philanthropist Lincoln Kirstein in 1934, is among the most famous classical ballet schools in the world. It is the associate school of the New York City Ballet, which is a leading international ballet company located at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. SAB trains students starting at 6 years old and offers professional vocational ballet training for students between the ages 11 and 18. Graduates of SAB usually find employment with some of the leading ballet companies in the world, such as the New York City Ballet, Boston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and San Francisco Ballet.
When looking for a ballet dance studio, it’s a good idea to have a background check on the credibility of the school, the quality of training, the credentials of the faculty, the completeness of facilities, as well as the convenience of the location. You may have to pay more for the top dance schools but it’s going to be worth the money in the end.