As the owner of my own dance studio, I’m obviously very invested in the success of our facility. But before I was a studio owner, I was a dancer. And while other studios in town may technically be my competition, I’m always saddened when I see one close down.
The reason? Because when a studio shuts its doors like one did recently in our area, about half of those dancers will actually stop dancing. They’ll move on to another recreational activity and may never slip on their dance shoes again.
I get it. It’s hard to shop studios, find a teacher that jives with your style, get on a lesson routine that works with your schedule. But while a studio closing is certainly inconvenient for its students – and definitely a loss for our community – it’s most certainly NOT the time to stop dancing!
Expect (and embrace) different
So, your favorite studio just closed, but let’s pretend I’ve convinced you that you still have lots of tango left in your toes. What now? Remember a few basic truths as you shop around for a new dance home:
- Beginner, intermediate and advanced are subjective terms. There’s no quantitative measurement for dance ability and understanding, so while you may have been the most skilled at your last studio, you could be considered in the middle of the pack at a new facility. But that’s OK!
- Teaching styles are as individual as the teachers teaching them. Every dance instructor has a unique method to his or her madness, and each studio has its own way of working with students. While it’s always jarring to learn a new teaching style, try to stay adaptive and open to a new method. Sometimes a different approach is the most effective way of advancing your dance education.
- Change is hard, even when it’s fun. No one likes their routine disrupted, but just as you got used to your last studio, you’ll adjust to a new one. Embrace the opportunity to meet new people, explore a new neighborhood or learn new steps in a completely different way.
A few more search tips: Does the new studio provide what you need for a good lesson experience? Pay attention to the floor quality, the sound system, the amount of space you have to work with. Meet the teachers and the staff; are they professional? Do they seem prepared and on time for your lessons? Is there a manager involved in the students’ development? There’s a lot to take in, but think of it like buying a new car: You have to get beyond just your favorite paint color if you want to find a reliable vehicle that will stand the test of time.
Stay on the floor
Of course, sometimes you can take all the right steps (no pun intended) while choosing a new school and still end up with a bad partner. Don’t give up! You got into dance for a reason, and this is not a time to throw in the towel.
In the words of Dr. Amy Johnson, “Most decisions in life are reversible. If you don’t like the choice you made, choose again.” We’re blessed with many fantastic dance studios in the Kansas City area, and our communities support and encourage social dance. Take advantage of our local resources and explore a different facility or a new teacher. Plus, after learning what you don’t want in a studio, you’ll be able to find what you do want that much more quickly.
The most important point to remember: Just keep dancing. I mean, nothing against tennis or badminton or jogging in the park, but the dance floor is a lot more fun.
As a professional dance instructor and owner of Overland Park Ballroom, Amy Castro has been teaching ballroom dance for more than 25 years. While she’s an experienced dancer, she’s also a studio owner, and if you’re looking, she’s love to have you join her! Let her know your thoughts by tweeting @OP_Ballroom or by commenting on the Facebook page.