Frequently Asked Questions
If you're new to the dance world then you might have many questions. We have created this page to help answer many of those frequently asked questions. Feel free to browse this page and if you still find yourself with questions please do not hesitate to contact us directly. We will be happy to help you out in any way we can.
What is CCDA's Philosophy?
At CCDA we believe the best way to reach a child to by creating a positive a nurturing environment where dancers feel safe being who they are. Where constructive feedback is given in a professional manner to help bring out the best in the dancer. No dancer is perfect, that is why they are students and even professionals are constantly working to maintain their technique. We teach dancers to strive to be the best they can be and to not compare themselves to the dancer they stand next to at the barre, but to strive to be better than they were yesterday. Their competition is within themselves, and that mentality will create a gracious, respectful, and professional student. It is important to note that constructive feedback is essential for the growth of a dancer, it is the only way they will improve. If your child is NOT being corrected at a studio they attend then you should seek other options for your child.
Why is ballet required in conjunction with any level 2 class?
Ballet is required when any dancer reaches a level 2 in any style at CCDA. The reason for this is because ballet is the foundation to all dance styles, without learning the basics dancers are already at a disadvantage. For example, you can’t build a house without a strong foundation, well, you might be able to, but it sure wouldn’t be a strong one. Dance is no different. Dancers who train in ballet alongside their other styles of dance are better dancers. They are well-rounded, can easily step into other styles, and have much better technique that will take them further in the future. Professional dancers you see in music videos, on stage dancing with your favorite singers, have all taken or still take ballet. It is the foundation and it is important.
Is My Child Ready For Pointe?
This is always a question from parents and young dancers as going en pointe is a major hallmark in a young dancers life. It is a difficult conversation to have with a younger dancer when you have to tell them they are not ready for pointe shoes. Students and parents must realize that teachers have to be firm: there is a rick of serious injury when introducing pointe work too soon. Starting pointe work is not just a question about age or physical maturity; readiness depends on strength, technique, attitude, and level of commitment from both parent and dancer.
The bones of the foot are not fully developed until sometime in the late teens or early twenties. Of course, there is a great deal of individual variation. If a young dancer attempts pointework without proper strength and technique, the significant forces created by the combination of body weight and momentum can permanently damage those not-fully-developed bones. Yet if a dancer is truly ready, if the introduction to pointework is gradual and always carefully and knowledgeably supervised, if the pointe shoes are well chosen and properly fitted, there is minimal risk of injury even if the bones are not fully formed.
Most dancers are ready to begin pointe work between the ages of ten and twelve. Occasionally a supremely strong nine-year-old can safely go on pointe, but this is unusual. This nine-year- old is one who takes private lessons and has a rigorous dance schedule. There is rarely any harm in waiting. A dancer who starts pointe work a year later than her classmates almost, always catches up. Many adult beginners are not ready for pointe either, but there is much less risk in their using pointe shoes because their feet have fully grown. In general, these are the criteria for readiness for pointe shoes:
Most dancers need at least two to four years of training in ballet technique, with a good attendance record, before going on pointe. Other forms of dance, or classes that mix ballet with other forms, don’t count.
Someone who regularly takes several classes a week can probably start at a younger age than someone who attends less frequently. For example, a dancer taking only one ballet class a week will take much longer than a dancer who takes multiple classes a week. During the first year of pointe you will probably be expected to take at least three or four ballet classes a week (a minimum of 5 hours).
Your demeanor shows that you have the maturity for pointe work. Your attitude is attentive and hardworking, and your studio etiquette is exemplary.
Pointe work requires a continual lifting up and out of the shoe. It’s the same strength and skill needed for attaining and sustaining a balance on high demi-pointe on one leg. That means that you can always hold your turnout when you dance, that your abdomen and lower back — your core — are strong, and that your legs, and especially your knees, are really pulled up.
You must be able to both relevé and piqué up to a balance. Calf and ankle strength are essential. Your relevé must be particularly strong; at least sixteen flawless ones onto a high demi-pointe center floor should be easy. You must demonstrate the correct use of plié in your dancing and know how to work your feet properly in tendu and all other exercises that require pointing the foot — no sickling.
Health and Physique
You should be in good health, not recovering from illness or injury, and of normal weight. You must possess the stamina to make it through a full ballet class several times a week. You don’t need insteps arched like bananas, but your feet must not be so flat or your ankles so stiff as to prevent you from properly “getting over” onto full pointe.
The rare dancer is not tremendously excited about going on pointe. It’s a good sign: an indifferent dancer may not have the perseverance needed for the repetitive exercises pointe-training entails. But don’t let your enthusiasm tempt you to practice at home or to wear your new pointe shoes around the house. Proper supervision is so important that is why we require that our students keep their pointe shoes at the studio. And when you are ready to go on pointe, congratulations. You have worked hard for this moment.
Why does my child need to take more classes as they advance?
As your child advances through our academy they learn new skills, they get stronger, and the time they require to maintain their skills and strength becomes more. A dancer who is just starting pointe work has to take a minimum of 3 ballet technique classes a week just to maintain strength to handle the work they will do en pointe. There for a dancer cannot be en pointe simply taking 1 class a week, if any studio allows this they risk seriously injuring and damaging the dancer. Our rules and policies regarding this topic are to protect your child and allow them the best possible future dancing.
Why CCDA does not allow viewing during classes?
CCDA does not allow viewing during regular classes because it is very distracting for the students as well as instructors. The no viewing policy allows the students to not feel like they are performing during their classes when they are suppose to be relaxed and learning. This takes the pressure off of the students to “perform” and allows them to be a student, take feedback, and not worry if they make a mistake. Believe it or not but students act differently when their parents or other students are watching them. Not watching your child dance everyday allows you to see their progress more during our yearly recital, this makes the show much more exciting for both student and parent. However, we do allow bench week twice a year where we open the blinds and allow parents to watch. Be sure to real all newsletters so you don’t miss this week!
What is competitive dance and is it right for my child?
Competitive dance is a wonderful and fun experience! Being on a competitive dance team allows dancer’s to build life long friendships with their teammates. However, it is important to know that being on a competitive team is a major commitment for both student and parent. Dancer’s are required to take various classes to fulfill their company requirements. They must train in all styles of dance that we competitive while maintaining their other requirements such as Ballet Academic requirements. Dancers also have to be able to spend extra time when necessary to perfect their competition pieces and some dancers will have the opportunity to take duets, and trios, and if they are lucky even a solo. Competitions are usually a full weekend and dancers need to be available the entire weekend to be there to support their team, as well as other teams from CCDA.
Here are some reasons why competitive dance is a great choice:
EXPERIENCE: Competitions are great for a dancer as it gives them an opportunity – several times a year – to perform on stage in a high-stakes environment. This training is absolutely priceless for young dancers. Competition dancers become stage PROS! They learn how to rehearse effectively, work efficiently in class to prepare, work through nerves, focus amidst adrenaline and they get comfortable under those stage lights. Generally speaking – competitive dancers know how to work the stage. This is simply because competitions give them the opportunity to do so again and again.
JUDGES CRITIQUES. Dancers get to hear PERSONALIZED thoughts, opinions and expertise of dozens of industry professionals each year. How valuable is that? Not only can these dancers improve and receive several ideas about their training through these critiques, but they, along with their teachers, can begin to understand how to dissect their choreography and find ways to make their performance more appealing to their audience. There is no other way that is semi-affordable to get this many trained eyes on a dancer in one season. This alone (and well above the value of any trophy) should be reason enough to consider competition dancing.
OPPORTUNITIES! Dancers can audition all the live-long-day but rarely are they going to find a weekend where they can dance and perform all weekend – learn, grow, get connections, get personalized critiques – and on top of all of that, qualify for scholarships and opportunities galore! Many intensives, audition invitations, conventions, even Broadway shows and college dance programs have begun to learn that competition dancers are talented! These organizations benefit from having more talent in their respective programs – so they have teamed up with many competitions and conventions to give (literally) millions of scholarship dollars to COMPETITION DANCERS!
Why does CCDA focus so much on flexibility?
CCDA focuses a lot of flexibility because it is a necessity for a dancer to be flexible. Dancers who are flexible are able to get higher extensions, leaps, jumps, have better turnout, among other things which makes their overall technique better. Dancer requires flexibility simply because many of the moves in dance cannot be done if one is not flexibly. We work hard to teach dancers how to stretch properly and effectively getting them the best results. Our dancers learn how to stretch certain parts of their body safely and with proper technique.
Does taking breaks from dance hinder my child's progress?
This is something parents often ask because they feel their child needs to take a break for whatever reason from time to time. The truthful answer is simple. Yes, taking breaks from dance will hinder your child’s progress. For example, if your child takes a break from dance for a month, two months, or three months and then comes back they will be 1-3 months behind their classmates and most likely will not be able to advance with their class. Dance is a very physical activity that has to be maintained; if dancer’s stop for any reason for a long period of time, even a few weeks, the muscles get weaker and tighter. Dancers lose their flexibility and strength and coming back will take sometime to get back to the shape they were before the break. CCDA does not recommend having your child take breaks during the regular year, we have breaks throughout the year, for example Spring Break, Thanksgiving Break, and Winter Break where dancers will have time to be off, but nothing longer than two weeks. If you have any other concerns about breaks for a dancer please contact the studio directly.
I heard CCDA is very strict, do dancers still have fun?
CCDA is very strict in the sense that we expect a certain behavior from our students at all times and that is one of mutual respect. We expect out students to display proper ballet etiquette in and out of the classroom. Students should always be kind and courteous to all staff members at CCDA, as well as their fellow classmates. Students should always thank their instructor after class, they should always come prepared and on time to class with their necessary items or expect to not dance. We expect students to come properly groomed and with their hair in a neat secure ballet bun for ballet classes and pulled back in a clean ponytail for jazz, tap, and hip-hop classes. Their leotards and tights should be clean and free of holes. No makeup should ever be worn to class and jewelry is not allowed other than small studs, for safety reasons. Our students always have fun in class, they are learning to dance and that alone is extremely fun!
Should I sign my child up to participate in the yearly showcase even if they are scared of performing?
Our yearly showcase is a show you will not want to miss! Some of our youngest students performed for the first time with us and it’s always been a wonderful experience. Dancers take the stage with their classmates so they are with others they know. Their teacher is there to guide the youngest ones and it is a great experience and a very fun time for all dancers. We strongly suggest you allow your dancer to perform even if they may not think they want to, once the costumes arrive and all of their friends have them they will want to be apart of the group. Give it a try, you won’t regret it!