Top 4 SAQ's for Parents Picking a Studio
Here is my list of SAQs (Should Ask Questions) for parents looking at prospective studios for their children, and why these questions are crucial during your studio search!
1. What you ask: What is your policy on class makeups?
What you mean: What level of commitment do you expect?
You're not asking because you need to miss a class -- this question will help you gauge not only a studio's flexibility for its customers, but will help you see the level of serious commitment a studio expects of its dancers.
If you hear, "We require make-ups for all missed classes in order to participate in the spring show," you're looking at studios that range from the more serious to pre-professional level.
If you hear, "We encourage makeups, just see a teacher to help you schedule one," you might learn that a studio is accommodating and understanding.
Use this question as a way to open dialogue about commitment.
2.What you ask: At what age do you allow students to start pointe?
What you mean: How seriously do you take the health of your dancers?
Even if you have no intention of taking ballet or eventually pointe, this question will tell you a lot about the philosophy of the studio regarding a dancer's health. It should give you an insight into what the studio prioritizes in terms of safety and difficulty level.
Ultimately when it comes to pointe dancing, most experts recommend waiting until the growth of the foot is complete -- check out this article from Washington University Orthopedics for a concise checklist.
3. What you ask: What does a typical class look like?
What you mean: How will I fit in here?
You are going to want to know this one to help you and your child visualize how they will fit into a class. Ask for a breakdown of what will happen in a normal class, and see if you can even schedule an observation. Some good follow-up questions include: What are warm ups like? What sorts of exercises do you focus on? Do you do mostly individual-focused exercises or group exercises? What learning benchmarks are you working toward?
4. What you ask: What is your studio culture like?
What you mean: Is it nice to spend my time here?
This one is not just important for your child, but for you, too! You'll likely be spending some time with the other families at the studio. Is it a welcoming environment? Do the parents get together outside of class? Does everyone pitch in and volunteer for performances and events? Do you offer any social events for children and their families?
The answer each person is hoping to hear may be different -- you might want a hands-off studio culture, or you might want to dig right in and make lifelong friends. But it's important that the question is asked.
What do you think of this list? Is anything missing? Tell me the questions you asked before joining your studio down below!