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Aug 08 2014

How to Enroll Your Kid in Dance Without Losing Your Mind

Over the last week I’ve been doing a bit of research for getting the kids into their extra curricular activities this fall. Abel has been wanting to play soccer since Spring of 2013 (or longer, but that’s when he started insisting) and Scarlet hasn’t really verbalized about an activity, yet she dances around the house, adores her tutu leotard from her cousin Whitney, and when I took her to a dance studio yesterday to observe, she was entranced.

So it’s been settled that Abel will begin soccer for the fall league starting in October (registration by 9/3) and Scarlet will start ballet/tap at a local studio (begins week of 9/2.) Beyond that, we have nothing really decided and it’s making me crazy. Dance registration is due next week for one studio or basically ASAP for the other studio (based on classes getting full.) It’s become highly stressful. So I’ve compiled a list of all the thing I am dealing with in the form of “what to do to avoid going crazy.” You’re welcome. Make sure you read it, or don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Step One: Pick a dance studio. This one is fun, because nearly every place costs a similar amount. While it may look to be about $5 cheaper to go one place, you’ll then find out that they don’t include the leotard when the other place did, and their monthly cost is more. Overall it’s important to find one you’re comfortable with not only for cost, but include the schedule options, the drive, if your child has friends attending at a specific studio, these are all factors to be considered. Ultimately we chose a different one than first intended because a friend tipped me off to a closer place that her daughters attend, it’s roughly the same cost over the course of the year, and did I mention it’s closer?

Step Two: Research Studio Policies. When is registration due and what are the monthly fees? Are you required to purchase a leotard from the studio? What’s the dress code and can she/he wear a tutu for class? What happens if you miss a class? Are you required to (or forbidden from) stay(ing) in the studio during class? Will there be a recital and when are the costume fees due? Make sure you have a CLEAR idea of all these things before you register and once you’re comfortable, get registered right away.

Step Three: Go crazy trying to find the least-expensive-but-still-quality uniforms. There are at least 1 million different brand/style/qualities of shoes and when you have to buy both ballet shoes and tap shoes, your cost seems endless. You need to make sure you’re getting the best for your money but not spending money you don’t have. What about leotards? How many do you need? And tights (double check what color you need!) Not to mention, will you need more than one of anything? Tights and leotards can get worn out over time, if class is ten months long and you’re going once a week, those poor tights are going to be pulled on and off at least 45 times, not including at home practicing because your 3 year old insists “I MUST dance! I simply MUST!” And what if that three year old hits a major growth spurt right before her fourth birthday in the middle of the season and grows out of that once perfectly fitted leotard. Make a plan for when you’ll buy extra uniform pieces.

Step Four: Don’t forget to be positive and enjoy yourself. Kids are only young once (heck, I’m only this young once!) and it’s important for them to be able to use this opportunity to the fullest extend possible. My little dancer couldn’t possibly have a better opportunity to express her love of movement and make friends during this new and exciting time of independence. Her brother is going to Kindergarten and she’ll be at home with me the majority of the time. One of the biggest things that matters in a child’s life is schedule and structure and making sure you provide that to your child is one of the most important things you can do.

Step Five (Literally the most important step): Make sure you budget for dance, soccer, etc expenses next year and put a reminder on your calendar to start registering at the end of July. You won’t go crazy trying to figure it out last minute. ;)

If you have a child enrolling in dance this year, make sure to check out this list we created of our favorite dance uniform pieces and accessories!



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