Dance is a rewarding after-school activity, offering children the opportunity to learn new skills, interact with peers, develop confidence and stay physically active. With many types of dance styles to offer, from ballet, tap and jazz to hip hop, ballroom, and musical theatre, it is an activity that has mass appeal for boys and girls of all ages.
Across Canada there are thousands of dance studios, community centres, schools and companies, each offering a multitude of dance programs. If you live in a larger town or city, youíre probably fortunate enough to have 5, 10 or even 20 studios within a comfortable driving distance of your home. But while the choice is nice, for those not familiar with the world of dance, it can make the task of choosing a dance studio confusing.
This Guide has been put together to help parents and guardians make an informed decision regarding their childís dance education.
BEGINNING THE SELECTION PROCESS
Before beginning the process of choosing a dance studio for a child, there are some factors parents should consider. Thinking about the questions below is a great starting point and will eliminate potential studios even before you begin contacting studios.
Community Centre Programs vs. Dance Studio
Most recreational-type classes, offered at community parks and recreation facilities, are introductory classes at best. Often the teachers at the community centre facilities are less experienced and there tends to be a higher staff turnover as many of the instructors are still students and teaching dance is just a part-time job, not a career. The facility itself is also not designed specifically for dance meaning there are no sprung floors, perhaps no mirrors and no dance barres.
How far are you willing to travel to a dance studio?
The location of a studio, especially for new clients, is an important factor to consider. Most people are comfortable with up to a 20-minute drive for their childrenís activities. Some people may be willing to drive a bit longer if there are added benefits, such as a higher level of instruction and more program options. Once you decide how far youíre willing to commute you can make a list of studios that are possible candidates. Once you have narrowed down your selection based on location you will want to ask yourself the following:
What is the monthly amount budgeted for extra-curricular activities?
Although the monthly fees of most dance schools within a given area are usually pretty similar, youíll want to determine what your budget is so that you can determine how many classes a week you can afford within your budget. Youíll also have to consider additional expenses such as dance shoes, tights, and any other dance wear. Most studios also hold a year-end recital for which youíll be required to purchase a costume and tickets.
Are you looking for recreational or competitive dance programs?
Most dance studios offer clients recreational and/or competitive dance programs. A child who is just starting out will register for one or more recreational classes in the dance discipline(s) of their choice, ie: tap, jazz, hip hop, ballet or acro. If he/she shows an interest and an aptitude for a more intense dance program, you may want to consider a competitive program after they have some experience. If that is the case you want to make sure the school you choose offers a complete range of programs, including a strong competitive program so that if the need arises you won't have to switch schools.
How much time are you willing to commit to your childís dance program?
Dance is an activity that can be done one hour a week or 10+ hours a week. Typically younger dancers in the 3-5- year-old age group who are just starting out would take one class a week. The following year they can add another type of dance to their schedule. An older dancer in the 10-13-year-old group is usually able to handle four or five classes a week. If a child enters a competitive program, they can expect to dance at least eight hours a week, depending on the age and level.
WHERE TO FIND INFORMATION ON DANCE STUDIOS
Once you have decided what you are looking for in a dance studio when it comes to programs, cost and level of commitment required, you are ready to begin the task of looking for potential studios.
Flyers and Advertisements
Information about your area dance studios will often come right to your mailbox in the form of a brochure, flyer or advertisement in your local paper. Use this as your starting point. Most brochures or advertisements should include a summary of what programs the school offers. So, for example, if your child is interested in Musical Theatre and a particular school doesn't offer that program, then you can cross that school off your list.
Studio Web Sites
Another source of information can come from a studio's web site, if they have one. Having a professional, regularly updated web site is an indication that a studio is concerned with its image and strives to keep its clients informed using the most current and efficient technology. A good studio website will offer program information, biographies of its staff, a calendar of events, class schedules, photos of its dancers, overview of the school's philosophy and a summary of its policies.
Keep an eye out for news stories in your local paper about studios in your area, or watch your local television station for additional coverage. Often the media reports new studio openings, open houses, competition results, new staff announcements etc.
Speaking with other parents/guardians can also be a good source of information about dance studios. Find out where your child's friends are dancing or where the neighbour's kids are dancing. Ask parents/guardians about their overall satisfaction with the studio they are attending.
QUESTIONS TO ASK AT THE STUDIO
Once you have narrowed your search for a dance studio down to a few it's time to make an appointment to see the studio. When visiting the studio you may want to ask the following questions:
What is the philosophy of the studio and its owners?
Knowing the philosophy of the studio will be helpful in determining if they offer a good fit for your and your child.
What level of training/accomplishments have the owners and/or teachers attained?
There are many unqualified teachers claiming to be dance teachers. Having attended a few classes when they were a child does not automatically make them qualified to teach your child. Find out how long the staff has been teaching, where they trained, and what organizations they belong to. Finally, when entrusting your childís welfare to studio, choose one that inspires the children, conducts orderly classes as well as has a strong emphasis on learning proper technique.
What is the atmosphere/environment of the studio?
Ask them if they are strict about attendance, uniforms etc. and to find out if their policies work for you and your child. Try and visit during an actual dance day to see the studio in action.
What are the fees?
Inquire about the cost of tuition. Many people look for the least expensive classes, without comparing the quality of the programs.
FITNESS TAX CREDIT
Rugcutterz Danz Artz has been approved by the Canadian government as a provider of acceptable fitness programs under the new children's fitness tax credit law.
Parents are now able to claim a non-refundable tax credit of up to $500 in eligible fees for the enrollment of a child under the age of 16 year in an eligible program of physical activity beginning in the 2007 tax year and all subsequent taxation years. The credit will be calculated by reference to the lowest personal income tax rate for the taxation year and can be claimed by either parent for the eligible fees incurred during the calendar year.
For more information, visit http://www.fin.gc.ca/n07/07-002-eng.asp
At Rugcutterz Danz Artz we take great pride in our recreational program, designed to instill a love of dance in an environment that promotes fun, fitness and learning. Our instructors have been specially chosen not only for their dance qualifications, but also for their caring and patient approach to teaching.
Rugcutterz Danz Artz offers a variety of recreational and competitive dance programs in tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, musical theatre, acro, and ballet for children ages 3+, as well as adult and teen dance programs. The recreational dance program begins with our Kinder, pre-dance, pre-primary and primary programs and is followed by a well-rounded recreational program offering four levels of instruction in the various dance disciplines.
Kinder Dance Programs Rugcutterz Kinder Dance Programs are designed for children 3 years old and serve as an introduction to the world of dance. Students will learn basic footwork and will work on a routine for the year-end dance recital. Dancers may choose between Ballet, Jazz or Tap and are welcome to take more than one class per week. Classes are 30 minutes in length.
Pre-Dance Programs Pre-Dance Programs are designed for children 4 years old who have little or no dance experience. Dancers in this level will focus on increasing their dance vocabulary and will learn a routine for the year-end recital. Classes available at this level include Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Acro and are 45 minutes in length. Dancers are encouraged to take more than one discipline per week for optimal development.
Pre-Primary (PP) Dance Programs Pre-Primary Dance Programs are open to children 5 years old who have little or no dance experience. In the Pre-Primary program there is an increased focus on memorizing and learning more intricate dance movements. Students may choose from classes in tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, and acro. Classes run 45 - 60 minutes each and dancers at this level are encouraged to take more than one discipline to maximize their dance repertoire.
Primary Dance Programs Primary Dance Programs are open to children 6-7 years old. Dancers at this level should have previous dance experience. Class time is focused on learning more advanced technique and learning a routine to be performed at the year-end dance recital. Classes are 60 minutes in length and dancers at this level are encouraged to take more than one discipline to maximize their dance repertoire.
Ballet is the foundation of all dance. It is a classical style of expressive dancing based on precise conventional steps with gestures and movements of grace and fluidity. This style involves a great deal of technique and discipline. As dancers become more skilled in their ballet technique they have the option of expanding their training to include Pointe work which is defined as dancing on the tips on toes, in specially-designed Pointe shoes.
Jazz is one of the most popular and energetic forms of dance. Jazz dance combines the technique learned in Ballet and translates it into faster more stylized movements. There are many ways in which Jazz can be portrayed depending on preference, for example there is the Fosse style, modern Jazz, funky Jazz and the traditional 80ís style Jazz.
Lyrical is the combination of Jazz and Ballet put together in a very expressive style that is usually danced to slower paced music. Lyrical dance is often referred to as contemporary dance. It requires excellent technique to perform, as the moves are often difficult and precise. Moreover, the dancer uses facial expressions, essentially acting, to properly perform a lyrical dance piece. The form is most often seen in live shows of contemporary music artists, like Celine Dion.
Tap is a fun and lively way to exercise and you use your feet as the main instrument to show rhythm and co-ordination through various combinations of intricate steps. Originating in the United States during the 19th century tap dancing was made famous by the likes of Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson, Fred Astaire and Savion Glover. The name comes from the tapping sound made when the small metal plates on the dancer's shoes touch a hard floor. This lively, rhythmic tapping makes the performer not just a dancer, but also a musician.
Acrobatics, or 'acro', is a dance style that focuses on balances, tumbling and movements that show off flexibility. Performed to many types of music, acro often resembles gymnastics, however unlike gymnastics there is greater emphasis on creating a 'dance' as opposed to creating a competitive gymnastic floor routine. Acro has enjoyed renewed popularity thanks in part to shows such as Cirque du Soleil.
This popular style of dance is seen in many of today's music videos. Old school hip hop evolved in the 70's and was primarily dance to funk and old school hip hop music. Breakdancing is the best known of all hip hop dance styles and is considered a corner stone of hip hop culture. In the 80's many dance styles started to be incorporated into the hip hop culture such as popping and locking.
Musical theatre programs are gaining in popularity across the country. Enjoyed by dancers of all ages, musical theatre exposes participants to movement and acting. Routines are inspired by musicals and movies, such as Chicago, Hairspray, Lion King and Annie.
Here's what people are saying about Rugcutterz
"First and foremost, dance has enabled my child to make great friendships that will last a lifetime. That is the greatest benefit for him along with the fitness aspect. People don't realize how much intensity is involved in dance and how much it can improve a child's overall fitness level as well as their flexibility. Another great advantage to dance is the confidence the kids develop. My child is developing into a confident, self-assured young adult."
-Lee Z., parent
"Since my children have started dancing I've noticed that they have learnt what the word commitment means and how to use time management. They were able to attend practices and get homework and other activities done as well."
Alexandria D., parent
"I feel that dancing has greatly impacted my children. They are confident and driven to succeed. I was once told by a grade eight teacher that some of her best students were dancers because they have great time management skills and self-esteem. I find that my daughters make sure to complete all school tasks, so that they can enjoy all their extra curricular activities. They are in great shape and have created wonderful friendships. The commitment to dance has kept them from loitering in the neighbourhood. They have set their goals and are working towards them. As a parent, I also have met many amazing other families, and have spent many memorable moments together."
-Anna P., parent
"Dance has given me many memorable moments and I am proud of the fact that after 15 years of dancing I am able to say I love it as much as the first day I started. I have been blessed with many awards and accomplishments throughout these wonderful years of my life. I'll always remember all the traveling and experiencing different workshops and being exposed to different choreographers."
-Angela C., dancer
"I have accomplished many things throughout my years of dancing that I am very proud of. I have improved tremendously in many disciplines of dance and have been rewarded for my hard work and determination. I will never forget is going to New York for a dance workshop. We saw Mary Poppins on Broadway, walked around New York City and had the opportunity to learn from some of the top choreographers from all over the world. It was an experience I will never forget."
-Shawna M., dancer
"Rugcutterz is a place where my family feels welcomed. My daughter loves her teachers and looks forward to every class."
-Jennifer S., parent
"Our son loves to dance. Music is his life; however we never dreamed we would find a studio that would actually encourage us to have him attend as he has special needs. Stephanie was so positive about it that it convinced us to give it a try. Nathan just loves his hip hop class, his teacher, Jason, and his helpers. Rugcutterz has opened a new world of opportunity for our son to grow and learn in an inclusive setting and in a positive, nurturing environment. Thank you!"
"The staff makes you feel at home! Great atmosphere!"
"Rugcutterz ROCKS with spunk and moxy.,"
-Tia C., dancer
"I appreciate this family-run business, with a friendly, familial atmosphere. Sandra, Stephanie and Nicole are always smiling. You can tell they truly enjoy their work."
-Dee Dee C., parent
"Everytime I come to the studio, I learn to accomplish something that I didn't already know. I like the challenge and dance has also helped me in other parts of my life like school because it helps me be more disciplined."
-Victoria S., dancer
"I like taking jazz at Rugcutterz and learning new dance moves. It's fun listening to all kinds of music and trying new steps."
-Chloe C., 6-year-old dancer
"I take acro at Rugcutterz and I like learning new moves and how to do flips and stuff. The teachers are really nice and they always help you with new moves until you get it."
-Stefanie D., 10-year-old dancer
"All the teacher are nice at Rugcutterz and they make it fun and I really like dancing."
-Annamaria R., dancer
"I take acro, jazz and tap at Rugcutterz, but acro is my favourite because I get to do cartwheels. I also like coming to dance because I get to see my friends and have fun."
-Athena Z., 6-year-old dancer
Choosing a dance studio can be a difficult decision, especially when there are so many studios to choose from. Some parents may wonder if it really matters where they send their child, believing that all studios are created the same. The fact of the matter is that not all studios are the same and there are some key facts that all parents should consider before enrolling their child at any dance studio. Some of the items to look for in a well-rounded studio include:
State-of-the-art Facility - Our studios are designed specifically for dance, complete with professional-quality sound systems, full mirrored walls and proper ballet barres. Plus there are separate male and female changerooms, and a large lunchroom.
Proper Flooring - Because dance is a strenuous physical activity it's important that a dance studio make a proper investment in its flooring in order to prevent injuries for the dancers. Rugcutterz Danz Artz studios feature a professional 'floating floor' that helps absorb some of the shock of jumping.
Experienced, Dedicated Staff - Rugcutterz staff is carefully chosen for their experience, as well as their caring approach to teaching dance to every level of dancer. All our teachers are specially qualified for their specific dance discipline and everyone one of our staff carries a valid first aid certificate.
Knowledgeable Front Desk Staff - Rugcutterz strives to be at the forefront of customer service. That's why there's always professional staff at the front desk during all dance hours so parents and dancers have access to the help and information they need. Everyone of our staff carries a valid first aid certificate.
Affordable, Quality Programs - Rugcutterz offers a complete line-up of quality recreational, competitive and adult programs, including tap, jazz, hip hop, ballet, acro, musical theatre, lyrical and ballroom dancing. Best of all, Rugcutterz handles all dancers' costumes so parents never have to worry about the hassle of sewing or altering costumes.
Award-winning Competitive Team - Rugcutterz participates in a number of local and national competitions and consistently earns top marks its routines.
Exciting Year-end Recital - All our dancers are given a chance to perform under the bright lights of a professional stage during the studio's year-end recital.
The Extra Mile - Rugcutterz Danz Artz strives to make every dancer feel special. That's why we go the extra step offering all our dancers little extras, like the free yearbook at the end of the season highlighting the year of dance.
Community Participation - Rugcutterz is a proud member of the community and honors the many requests it receives for dancers to perform at various fundraising functions.
Make Rugcutterz part of your kids childhood from toddler to young adult
Rugcutterz Danz Artz is where dance dreams begin. It's not just our tagline, it's our philosophy.
From the moment a young dancer enters the Rugcutterz studio, we realize the importance of our responsibility to each and every child who has visions of being a dancer.
Our knowledgeable and award-winning instructors provide professional dance training in a caring and motivational atmosphere that helps each dancer reach their potential from their first baby ballet class right up to our most advanced senior classes. We believe each dancer is a precious gift and itís our responsibility to nuture that gift.
Featuring five state-of-the-art dance studios, Rugcutterz Danz Artz is the largest dance complex in York Region and offers one of the most comprehensive dance programs for children 3 years+ in Vaughan, Woodbridge, Thornhill, Maple, Richmond Hill, Aurora and King City.
Our extensive dance program offering includes competitive and recreational classes in Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Ballet, Lyrical, Musical Theatre and Acro. Plus Rugcutterz offers Royal Academy of Ballet (RAD) training, as well as special Boys-only dance programs.
But Rugcutterz is more than just about teaching the latest dance techniques. Our studio strives to encourage fun, fitness, and above all, lasting friendships. We want Rugcutterz to be a place where childhood memories are made.
We have been fortunate to watch many of our dancers grow up before our eyes from little toddlers to accomplished young adults. In fact some of our teaching staff are graduates of our dance programs.
So whether your child has visions of Broadway or they just want to learn some cool moves and have fun, Rugcutterz Danz Artz can provide the right environment whatever their dance dreams!
Click to view and print
Entering the world of dance can be a new and unfamiliar experience for children and parents. We have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help you better understand dance as well as the recreational and competitive programs offered at Rugcutterz Danz Artz.
Q. How old must your child be to sign up for dance?
A. Rugcutterz Danz Artz will accept children as young as 2 Ĺ provided they are toilet-trained and they are comfortable with being in a studio without a parent or guardian. It is up to parents to determine their childís readiness for enrolment in any formal program.
Q. How old is too old for dance?
A. Youíre never too old to dance! Some dancers come to Rugcutterz in their early teens. We have many recreational classes for different dance styles, different ages and different abilities. Adult classes are also available for those courageous parents who want to get their groove on!
Q. How many classes does my child need to take?
A. The number of dance classes your child takes will vary according to the type of program they are in. Dancers in our recreational program may choose one or several classes. The choice is theirs. For dancers in any of our competitive program, there are mandatory classes each dancer must take. Please refer to the latest dance schedule for a complete list of requirements for competitive dancers.
Q. Do you have any boys who take dance classes?
A. Dance is gaining popularity with boys thanks to the recent explosion of reality dance shows on television which depict dance as not only an art form, but an activity that requires incredible athletic ability. Many of our male dancers are interested in our hip hop programs, however, if they are interested in traveling with the competitive team, they are required to take a variety of dance forms.
Q. My child isnít going to be a prima ballerina, why does he/she have to take ballet?
A. At Rugcutterz our goal isnít to turn dancers in ballerinas, but rather well-rounded dancers capable of performing many types of dance. Ballet is the foundation of all dance forms and contributes to a dancerís overall posture and positioning. For members of the competitive teams, ballet is mandatory. Failure to regularly attend your companyís mandatory ballet classes will result in the removal of that dancer from their particular company. It should be noted that the Artistic Director consults with the Ballet Mistress to determine competitive company placement.
Q. My child has been asked to join the competitive team, now what?
A. If your child has been asked to join the competitive team you should be aware that the level of commitment from recreational to competitive increases significantly. Most competitive programs require a commitment of three days a week. Failure to regularly attend class without a medical note will result in the removal of that dancer from the competitive program. Competitive teams usually participate in four competitions a year. Some require local travel or short trips across the border. You are responsible for making travel/hotel arrangements. Every other year, Rugcutterz Danz Artz participates in a National Competition, usually held in such locations as Orlando, Las Vegas, New York. Competitive team members will be notified whether participation in Nationals is mandatory.
Q. How much will I have to spend on costumes?
A. Every dancer at Rugcutterz is invited to participate in our year-end recital. All dancers must purchase costume for their dancerís number(s). The costumes for recreational dancers are less expensive than those for competitive team members. You can expect to pay about $50-$150 for a recreational costume and $150-$300 for a competitive costume.
Click here to find out more
TOP 10 REASONS TO DANCE
1. Dance is FUN.
2. Dance is a GREAT workout and improves flexibility.
3. Dance enhances children's physical, mental and emotional development.
4. Dance is endorsed by the Canadian government as part of a healthy active childhood and qualifies for the new Activity Tax Credit.
5. Dance improves balance, posture and co-ordination which can lead to improvements in other sports or activities.
6. The variety of dance forms available ensure children won't get bored. There's a class for everyone.
7. Dance helps increase confidence. By giving children a chance to perform on stage, they learn how to be comfortable in front of an audience.
8. Dance is appreciated by all cultures and is something that can be shared between generations.
9. Dance class offers children an opportunity to make new friends.
10. Dancing makes people happy and raises endorphin levels.
Call the location of your choice
Vaughan - 905.660.4169
Sault Ste Marie - 705. 942.3415
Fill out the Registration Form with one of our friendly, knowledgeable staff
Register Here - Vaughan
Register Here - Sault Ste Marie
Print out a copy of the Registration Form, fill it
out and fax it to head office at 905.660.3136
Click here for PDF - Vaughan.
Click here for PDF - Sault Ste Marie.
We will contact you to finalize class selection
Refer a friend and take advantage of our Referral Program
Click to find out more