Please See A List of Our Most Frequently Asked Questions Below
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Up to the age of 6 the programs are specifically designed for each year from age 2 to 5. After that there are several styles of dance to chose from and something to fit everyone’s interest.
Once students turn 6 years old (by December 31), they may choose from the following options: Ballet, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Musical Theatre and Tap. In the first level we have one combination class for 6 to 8-year-olds, called Level 1 Tap/Jazz. The other disciplines need a full hour at that age in order to truly learn enough in a year. Generally speaking, if you have a young student who is keen on ballet or expresses no particular preference and just loves to dance, then BALLET would be our recommendation. Ballet is the best place to start once they are ready for more structure, as it provides the basic technique for all dance forms, much the same way that studying classical music does for musicians. For 6 and 7-year-olds, PRIMARY BALLET is a wonderful program as it retains the fun and energy young children need. They are not yet using the ballet barre in Primary, so it is not as “serious” a ballet class as you might be thinking. Primary ballet really relates best of all the programs to the whimsical and child-like nature of young students. Also, it is very easy to learn Jazz, or Tap once you have studied Ballet. The reverse, switching to ballet from jazz or tap can be harder once they reach age 11.
Having considered all of the above, you should take into account your child’s preferences. If your child really wants to take Jazz, Hip-Hop, Tap or loves to sing and act, then enroll them in one of those classes this year. If they can only take one class this year, it is much more important that they have a positive year of dance while still young enough to add or switch to other styles in the next few years. For example, we have many students beginning or adding ballet between the ages of 8 and 11, who start with great enthusiasm and have great success.
This is completely based on individual interest and how much you feel you and your child can do. We have students who take just one class per week to full time students who dance every day. You know your child best and if you think they have the interest, time and energy to take more than one class per week, then we would be happy to discuss the best combination of programs with you. For example, taking a ballet class and a jazz or tap class, is a very common scenario starting at age 6 or 7. There are also those students who prefer to take 2 or 3 ballet classes each week in order to increase their proficiency in that discipline. We can very easily help you select individualized programming for your child based on their age, strengths and interests.
Yes, every one of them if you like, from the comfort of our viewing gallery! We were the first dance school in the city to offer a viewing gallery for parents. Each studio has a large viewing window with benches for parents to watch at any time. The classes are not oriented towards the window so the students do not get distracted and they enjoy having an audience. Many parents love being able to see how their child is progressing and expressing themselves through dance. It is also an excellent opportunity to meet other parents in the school and become a part of our dance community. We also have a parents’ open house at the end of November or early December, where you get a chance to hear and learn inside the classroom, all that your child has been working on thus far. We structure the open house to provide you with a unique insight into dance education and it serves as the first mini performance of the year.
First, our class sizes are limited based on the age of the class and the dance program being taught. We do turn students away when the class is full and place them on a waitlist. Second, there are 2 qualified, professional and caring instructors in every class. This means that whenever any child requires assistance or guidance one of the teachers is there to provide it. The class never needs to stop and wait while a child gets the individual attention they need and that child can feel comfortable, without having others watch while they take the time they need with the teacher. One teacher regularly makes their way through the class to assist and instruct on an individual basis. The other teacher is able to run the class in an efficient and positive manner.
Every student aged 3 and up dances in one of our 3 professional year end performances at the Manitoba Centennial Concert Hall. It is typically held on the second Sunday in June during the school year. There is a morning, afternoon and evening show. Your child will only dance in one show if they take one dance class per week. If they are in 2 or more classes they may be in more than one show, depending on the scheduling conflicts each year. Costumes are purchased by the parents and information regarding these will be provided between January and March. We aim to keep the costs as reasonable as possible while still providing an appropriate and effective costume. We try to use the student’s dress code for class as a base for the costume, in order to minimize your expense. Parents purchase tickets through Ticketmaster in May, and if your child is in more than one show, you are entitled to 2 complimentary tickets for each additional show. Every student gets an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the stage at a Dress Rehearsal on Thursday, Friday or Saturday prior to the recital. All students are seated in the balconies with their chaperones when they are not dancing in the show, so that they may enjoy the performances of the other students. It is the most exciting week of the year for everyone, filled with memories you will cherish for years to come.
Every spring our staff meets to individually place each student in the school. We create levels and classes based on the needs of our students for the upcoming year. Great time and care is taken to consider each student’s progress and proficiency. We know that self esteem can only grow when a student is able to succeed in their course of study. One of the benefits of dancing at our school is that we have many classes to accommodate any skill level and age. Our goal is to ensure that your child will have a positive, exciting and challenging dance experience.
Most of the students in the school dance recreationally in one or more of the dance disciplines offered. Our instructors ensure that each student receives the challenge they require within each class and are free to make class placement changes up until January. At any time in a student’s training, from as young as 7 to their teenage years, they may be invited by the Director to participate in our Invitational program in ballet, jazz, lyrical, tap, hip hop or musical theatre. The Director and the teachers select those students, who have demonstrated exceptional proficiency, talent, work ethic and attendance in their classes. The invitational program prepares students to perform and compete in the Manitoba Dance Festival, Competitions and Conventions locally, nationally and internationally. It is a much more intensive training program with prerequisites for each specific dance discipline. For example, Invitational Jazz students must have solid ballet background and continue to study Ballet as long as they are in the program. The more advanced levels of Jazz dancing require strong Ballet technique, so it this is of interest to your child, you should make sure they are taking ballet classes. Invitational Musical Theatre requires dance training such as jazz or ballet. Invitational tap also requires proficiency in another dance style such as ballet or jazz to execute the more challenging elements. Invitational Hip Hop dancers benefit from other dance training as well, especially as they advance. We have a very high standard of excellence in our Invitational classes and expect a high standard of commitment and dedication from the students. Attendance is mandatory at all classes and performances. Many of our Invitational students go on to perform or teach professionally.
We have a one month notice policy for cancelling classes up until December 31. This means that any fees after your notice period (except the registration fee), will be refunded. So you only pay for the classes up until you give notice plus the one month. Your child may continue to take classes during the notice period if you like. This gives you and your child ample time and opportunity to try the classes and feel comfortable that you are not locked in to the program fees beyond December 31.
Our school enters selected students into the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) Ballet examinations. This is an internationally recognized ballet syllabus with headquarters in London, England. They send an International examiner to us each year in March, to examine those students we invite as candidates for this endeavor. The purpose of the exams is to offer the students some standard and objective evaluation of their work each year.
We have been running this program for over 20 years with wonderful success for all who have participated. The standards are very high and we do not enter a student unless we feel they will have a positive experience. Therefore, only a small percentage of ballet students in the school are entered in these ballet exams. Please know that your child will continue to progress through our ballet grades regardless of whether or not they take a ballet exam. The exam program is designed to give selected students who exhibit the appropriate level of ability and interest, a special opportunity to develop their ballet beyond their regular classes. In addition to offering the students a greater challenge, the ballet exam prepares the student to present a solo dance along with the rest of the ballet steps that they work on each week in their classes. The exam itself is quite formal. The examiner sees 2 or 3 students at a time in the studio, and asks them to perform a variety of the expected dance steps. There are no teachers in the exam room with them.
You may have realized by now, that not every student in the school would benefit from the exam situation. Therefore, we select the exam candidates very carefully and ask parents to consider their own child’s personality as well. Our selection criteria are based on natural talent and aptitude, technical proficiency, focus and work ethic, along with our insight into whether the exam will be a positive experience for the student. A student may become eligible for an exam at any stage in their dance training and conversely students selected one year may not be eligible in future years. Primary ballet is the first level examined and they progress up to grade 6, for most students who participate in exams. Following that, we offer professional vocational exams up to Advanced 2, which culminates in a student preparing for a professional career. There are teaching exams as well, which qualify those interested in teaching as a profession. Each level of examination may require more than one year of preparation. For example, we normally take 2 years to complete the grade 2 ISTD syllabus. Students in Grades 2 or higher must take a minimum of 2 ballet classes per week at their level to be considered eligible for exams.