The girls are about to begin their seventh year of dance. Crazy, I know. I wanted to share what I've learned over the years because there are always frequently asked questions generated by new dance parents. Be sure to check your dance studio's website as they should have some of this information available to you online. If not, call (or email) and ask away.
So, obviously, you'll need to buy dance shoes but dance shoes aren't just simply dance shoes. For example, did you know there are different types of ballet shoes? Do you need a split sole? Always check with your studio first. Better safe than sorry. Some studios may even require a certain brand, such as Capezio or Bloch. The girls used to wear lace-up jazz shoes but last year, our studio transitioned over to slip-on.
I would recommend visiting a dance store for a shoe fitting as regular shoe size does not always correspond with dance shoe size. Emily wears a size 1 now in sneakers but here are her dance shoe sizes: 1 for tap, 2 for ballet and 4 1/2 for jazz.
A few years ago, our studio came out with a formal dress code, mainly because kids were showing up to class in jeans and other street clothes. Kids still show up in jeans and other street clothes. If there's a dress code, follow it. You may need to purchase a specific color leotard. The girls need to wear a black leotard and pink tights to ballet. For jazz and tap, tan tights are required.
I highly recommend Capezio transition tights. They are extremely sturdy and my girls can wear a pair for more than a year without any rips or tears. The hole at the bottom allows them to wear the tights as footless, which is so very helpful when they want to throw on a pair of flip flops to get to and from dance class.
For ballet class, hair may be required to be worn in a bun. We just need to have hair pulled back but the girls do like to wear buns to ballet. If I can get a kid to cooperate, I plan to post a simple ballet bun tutorial.
Keep shoes in a dance bag! I also suggest marking shoes with names or initials. You wouldn't believe how many shoes go missing at our studio. Imagine a crowded waiting area and a whole bunch of kids changing shoes. It's so easy to leave one under a bench or for another kid to grab the wrong shoes. I've been obsessive with the "shoes go right in the bag" rule.
How and when do you need to make payments? What happens if you're late? Is there a penalty? If you are able to prepay for a discount, be sure to check the rules and understand what happens if your child drops out of dance. Or what if she/he breaks a leg. You'll want to receive a partial refund. Also, I'd check to see what happens when classes are canceled for snow/bad weather days.
Make friends with the other dance moms (and dads)! I've met so many nice moms and a couple of dads at the studio. It's great having a support system, in addition to someone to chat with while you wait. We pass along information and hand-me-down shoes and leotards. Having the attitude that your kid is no better than anyone else's goes a long way. There was a super obnoxious clique at the place where the girls took gymnastics and it was such a turnoff.
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