Top 6 Questions to Ask a Ballet Instructor Before Your Very First Lesson
Every year, tens of thousands of girls who have been learning ballet for years make the decision to move on rather than pursue a career as a professional ballerina. There are a number of reasons why they may make this decision. Failing to find the right ballet instructor is one of them. While this may not seem as important in the formative years, those first impressions of ballet--shown through the eyes of a good instructor--are crucial.
Read on to find out what questions you should ask a ballet instructor before jumping into their classes for the first time.
No.1 Is Ballet Your Speciality?
Some dance instructors teach entry-level classes in a variety of styles because, at these early stages, a depth of knowledge and expertise is not required. Before enrolling, you may want to know what your dance instructor is bringing to the table.
Some students don't mind working with new teachers as they progress through their lessons. However, some feel much more comfortable working with a familiar, trusted ballet teacher when they graduate from beginner classes to intermediate classes. If the teacher doesn't specialize in ballet, it is unlikely that they will continue to work with the ballerinas as they advance.
No.2 How Much Do You Encourage At-Home Practice?
Practice, as they say, makes perfect. It should be expected that a ballet instructor will expect her students to practice at home. However, you may want to enquire about how much time an instructor wants her students to spend on at-home practice.
Make sure you have enough spare time to meet the instructor's demands. For example, if the school enters into competitions on a regular basis, the instructor will probably expect that ballet is a priority for all of her students. Those who don't have time to practice at home may get fewer opportunities to compete than those who do.
When asking this question, it is important that you are honest with yourself, too. Is ballet a hobby or are you planning on pursuing it at a more rigorous level? When you know the answer, you are better equipped to find the best ballet instructor for your needs.
No.3 How Do You Ensure the Safety of Your Students?
There are tons of benefits to doing ballet. However, injuries to the feet, ankles, and hips are common for dancers. Ballet is physically demanding and, when moves are not executed the right way, dancers may be at risk.
However, a good instructor knows how to prevent these injuries from occurring. They require their students to warm up before practicing their routines. They also monitor each dancer closely to correct any missteps that might cause stress injuries.
If a ballet instructor can answer this question well, you are probably in good hands. However, if it appears that they've never thought about issues of safety, you may want to keep looking.
No.4 How Do You Measure Progress?
Chances are, your objective in signing up for ballet is to get better at it over time! That means that you will need feedback and the opportunity to improve on skills and techniques that aren't coming easily to you.
Many ballet instructors rely on an accredited syllabus to structure their classes. This is an ideal method to use as it gives ballet instructors a way to set a bar and measure each dancer's progress. This should include individual, constructive criticism and, depending on the dancer's preferences, private lessons.
Ballet instructors that only teach routines, rather than specific techniques that go into routines, may not be progress-focused. Once again, if you are pursuing ballet as a hobby, this may not be an issue. However, if you hope to continue ballet into and after high school, you should find an instructor who is progress-oriented.
No.5 What Is Your Cancellation Policy?
Many dance schools offer a clearcut cancellation policy that allows their students to drop their classes, penalty-free, at any time. It is important to know that this is an option before enrolling in classes for the first time. Not only are you figuring out if the ballet instructor is the right fit but you're also learning whether or not ballet is the right fit.
The cancellation policy isn't only designed to protect dancers who change their minds. On occasion, studios lose their funding or key instructors move on to a new location, which can cause the entire studio to fold.
In the rare event that this happens, you want to be guaranteed that you'll receive a refund for anything you've paid for in advance.
No.6 How Much Do Your Classes Cost?
Let's say you've received answers to your liking for all of the questions we've already discussed. The question of cost is the final make-or-break question.
You need to know both your personal budget and the types of classes you're hoping to take. Do you want to take both group and private lessons? Find out if both are built into the payment plan or if you'll be paying substantially more than you expected to take private lessons.
Ultimately, you want to know that everything you want is in your price range. At the same time, you don't want to find yourself paying for things you aren't interested in.
Beyond the Ballet Instructor: Where to Get Ballet Shoes
Once you've found the ballet instructor of your dreams, it's time to start preparing for your lessons. Find out what kind of shoes, tights, and other accessories your instructor prefers. Once you know what you need, head to our online shop to find great ballet shoes, tights, and more!