"Family Friendly" is a nice term for a hard question: "How do I find a dance studio that will not hyper sexualize my young child?"
No one wants to see their six year old little girl wearing a costume that belongs in a strip club while grinding to music with lyrics about content she is WAY TOO YOUNG to hear. Yet, at a some dance studios around the nation and world, it happens. Because of this, many parents have shied away from all dance studios. Many parents don't know how to search for a studio that will protect their child from growing up too fast and putting their self worth in their sexuality?
I wrote this because of the number of parents asking me how they can find a dance studio that will support their child's healthy development? Here's what I recommend:
Look for the word "Family Friendly" it usually is code for "We won't sexualize children."
Look on their website and Facebook pages. Look at all of their different levels, not just their youngest classes. If their pre-teens and teens are dressed in inappropriate costumes with inappropriate song titles, steer clear.
Take a tour. Take a look at the pictures and the dress class code. Get s sense of their studio culture and if it fits with your family's values.
- Just because a dance studio has competition dance teams, it does not mean they will look like the ones on "Dance Moms." There are a lot of studios out there that use dance competitions for education purposes, as they are intended. Find out how many hours they practice on weekly basis to make sure they are a good fit. I usually recommend studios whose students practice 2-10 hours per week. Practicing 15-20 hours per week on top of a full school schedule can hinder education, increases their chance of injury, and lead to an early burn out rate. Look for a studio that uses competition dance as an educational opportunity and practices healthy limits on practice schedules.
Dance studios can be wonderful places for building confidence, community, and skills if you choose one that you can grow with over time. The "Best" Studio is the one that is best for that child and your family. Look for a studio that will put your child's health, well being, development, and education as priorities.