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Is it OK to take Dance or Ballet Lessons at Different Studios?

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By Sorina Fant and co-written by Samantha BelleroseB.Ed, Dip.Dance(Performing Arts)

Does your child want to learn hip hop but your current dance studio doesn’t offer it? Do you have a good local ballet school but want to travel once a week for pas de deux lessons over an hour away? There are many reasons to consider dancing for multiple studios at once. However the question is, can you dance at multiple studios, and is it socially acceptable in the world of dance to do so? 

As an adult dancer, yes it is fine to take lessons at more than one dance studio, as long as you meet any commitments you make to the dance school. For younger students, taking lessons at more than one studio is generally a not ok, due to divided loyalties, schedule clashes, differing teaching philosophies, and dance studio business practices.

Dancing for multiple studios should only be considered if there are limits at your current dance studio such as not offering many types of dance styles. After evaluating the needs of your dancer, make sure that dancing for multiple studios is not only something that you can handle with your family’s schedule but that you are not restricted from enrolling at other locations. Many dancers will not be able to experience learning at multiple studios because of contractual obligations

When is it Frowned Upon or Not Ok to Do Lessons at Two Different Schools?

Dancing for two different dance studios at the same time is not ok in general for younger dancers. This is because you are not just taking classes at the other school, you become a student and a member of the dance school.

It is rare for a young dance student to enroll in classes at two schools, not only because it is not a common practice, but because most dance studios offer several classes that a dancer can enroll in. Only in unusual circumstances do dancers dance for multiple studios. 

When is it Ok to Do Lessons at Two Different Schools?

If your studio offers an additional class that your dancer is interested in, enroll them at that location. Only in the event that the studio does not offer a class you dancer would like to take, and they do not plan on adding it to their studio’s schedule, is it acceptable to take classes at multiple locations. 

For example, many dance studios specialize solely in ballet and will never offer a hip hop class. In this case, if your child has expressed interest, it is encouraged to enroll in a second studio and allow your dancer to explore another genre. 

However, it is particularly important to not enroll your dancer in two classes, at two different studios for the same genre. For instance, it is not a common practice to have your dancer enrolled in two different studios for ballet. This is also true for every genre. It is important that young dancers have the opportunity to learn a dance style from one source as many studios can teach varying styles of the same genre. 

Is it ok to take Casual Lessons or Masterclasses or intensives at another school?

When a dancer is older they may begin to outgrow their dance studio and it is at this time that taking casual lessons at other studios is generally acceptable – as long as the dancer has no commitments or contractual obligations with their current dance studio. This is how adult and professional dancers keep up their dance training and so it is a natural progression at some stage in a dancers training to do this.

Intensives and masterclasses are held over the summer at many schools and if your studio is not offering them, it is also generally acceptable for your child to attend these, especially if there is a particular guest teacher or choreographer they are wanting to learn from.

It may also be acceptable at your dance studio to attend for example a masterclass series that is in town for two weeks who have hired the use of another studios dance rooms or the classes being held for a couple of months by a professional dancer who is in your area for a short period of time.

But even in this situation, your teacher might be hesitant because they feel you are not ready for the classes, it might clash with the classes you currently take with them or because they have inside information and know that it is not being run in a professional manner and are worried for your welfare.

Can You Dance at Multiple Studios if You Are on a Competition Team? 

In general – No, you cannot dance at multiple studios if you are on a competitive dance team. If your child is dancing on a competition team, chances are you were required to sign a contract that would prevent your child from dancing for another studio. Go back and read through all the documents you were given. If you can’t find what you are after ask for the information to be pointed out to you or ask about the policy on this. For more information about contracts dance parents sign at their studio check our article out about them here.

Week to week it may seem easy to dance for more than one studio, but there will eventually be a conflict with competition days, or rehearsals leading up to a recital or performance. A dance studio needs the assurance that you will be able to accommodate special schedule changes without interference of your obligation to other dance studios.

Other issues that might come up are for example if both studios were competing at the same competition. Even if your dancer will only be doing solos, which studio signs your child up and under which school would they be entered under for any conventions and intensives? These are some of the reasons that studios don’t allow you to dance elsewhere!

We didn’t sign a contract – can we do lessons at another dance studio?

In the rare event that you are not required to sign a dance contract for one studio, and it is not in their overall general studio policy, your dancer may technically be able to take dance classes at another studio – but it is not encouraged.

There are many unspoken rules within the dance community and not juggling multiple studios is one of them. If the studio where your dancer is on a team offers a wide range of classes, such as an advanced tap class, it is frowned upon to take an advanced tap class at another location. 

However, if your dancer’s studio does not offer advanced tap classes, your teacher may agree that doing this class at another location is in their best interest. Not doing so may limit your dancer’s opportunity to strengthen their skills. 

Is it OK to Do Lessons at Two Studios to Do Dance Exams?

Many studios do not offer dancers an opportunity to take their dance exams. If this is the circumstance at your child’s studio, it may be acceptable to go to another studio solely for the exams. 

An example of where this might occur is if you chose your studio because of their focus on competitions and their strengths in this area. If you are in this situation, communication is key. It is important that your child’s studio is aware of your desire for your child to take dance exams and for the second studio to know where your child dances and that you are only interested in having them take the exams. Taking dance exams can be incredibly important to some dancers as it means they may be able to obtain a qualification over many years to teach dance. A dancer who would like to teach in the future should not miss out on this opportunity just because their studio not offering it.

If the other studio however also offers a competitive team, your teacher may be hesitant to allow you to do this and vice versa – the studio who also teach exams may not allow you to only attend those classes.  

My Favorite Dance Teacher Left, Can I Just Do One Class at Their New Studio?

Many dancers form amazing relationships with their dance teachers and show significant progress in their dance skills because of this positive relationship and healthy learning environment. When a teacher leaves, this can be devastating for a young dancer.

You may be tempted to switch studios or allow your dancer to take a few classes with this dance teacher. As long as you were not required to sign a dance parent contract, it may be beneficial for your child to continue to work under this teacher.

The added benefit of continuing this relationship is that the instructor is already aware of your dancer’s abilities, their areas of improvement, and they are familiar with the curriculum that the dancer was working on. 

The disadvantage is that you may be missing out on the new incredible teacher who replaced them at your studio, or by going to the other studio you start to fracture your friendships and commitment to your current studio.

Sometimes it is best to follow a teacher to a new studio rather than stay to avoid all the pitfalls of studying at two studios which you can read about in out articles about the pros and cons of doing so here.

What if We are Limited to Classes because of Location? 

Often dancers are limited by their location and the dance classes that are offered in their area. If you live in a less populated area and have limited options for dance classes, you may be restricted to what you have easy access to during different points in the week. 

However, if there is another studio that would require traveling to get to, but offers a wide variety of classes for your dancer, this may be an option for you to travel to on the weekends when your schedule may have more flexibility. This way your dancer can take classes during the week, possibly after the school day, at a local studio and then travel to the supplemental studio over the weekend. In this instance, it can also acceptable and understandable to take classes at multiple locations. But again communication is the key and you need to be upfront with both studios about what you are participating in with each school to ensure you do not break any commitments you made with either! 

Why do Dance schools have one studio only policy!

The following are some reasons a dance studio may not allow their students to dance elsewhere. Not everyone of these reasons apply to ALL studios and some may only refer to one or two reasons in their policy or discussions with you.

  • Conflicting schedules
  • Loyalty and team commitment
  • Social distrust between dancers and parents
  • terminology and teaching differences
  • developing bad technique and habits from the other studio
  • Choreography copyright infringements
  • Acknowledgement for dancers development
  • Logistics
  • Losing students to other studios

We go over the pros and cons of dancing at more than one school in an article on the topic here which goes over most of the above points in more detail!

The Ideal Dance Studio Situation

Finding a dance school for yourself or for your child can be a daunting task. If you live in a small town, there may only be a few options which can make the process of selecting a studio easy. If you live in a larger city, selecting a dance studio among so many options can be overwhelming. 

In an ideal situation, you will find a dance studio that fits all your needs, offers a variety of classes, and works well with your schedule. But nothing is perfect and it may take flexibility to fit your dance schedule in with your other obligations.

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