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The first question we are usually asked is where do I start my child and why and with over 100 classes running every week I can only imagine it is both confusing and daunting looking at our timetable, trust me it gets confusing sometimes but don't worry we don’t expect you to do it alone.
This really is a loaded question and one you will find has many factors, the good news is that children often just click with a style whether it be because of the tutus, the upbeat music or because they saw the older kids do it and they decided they want to do that too. Ultimately it will and should be your child's decision, the reality is it's not about becoming a dancer, it's about finding a passion in something, an outlet, a second home, role models and other trusted adults that help shape these young people into young adults. It's never really been about the steps, that just makes an already special journey more beautiful.
By allowing you into our studio for a week we hope you come along, watch some of our older dancers in class. It's very inspiring and you can always tell the caliber of a studio by its senior students. Trial as many different styles of dance that are available to your child's age group and ask as many questions as you like.
Classes start as young as 18months where the emphasis is on learning the fundamentals of movement, it is not any specific genre but probably leans towards imaginative storytelling in ballet if anything.
Between 3-5 the dance world opens up into Ballet, Jazz, Acro & Highland. Ballet is definitely the most popular as it is widely regarded as the foundation of dance and from ballet your child can move to any other genre easily (not so easy the other way round)
By 5-18 we have a range of classes in Ballet, Jazz, Acro, Highland, Hip Hop, Tap, Contemporary, Musical Theatre and Lyrical some students take one class a week while others are there 6 days a week. Everyone's dance objective is different and all are valid. For me it's not about producing hundreds of professional dancers, it's about producing 100's of dancers who leave the studio loving dance and will forever support it by going to the ballet or one day bringing their own children to enjoy the art form.
Here is a little about the studio, where to go and what to expect. You may want to save this and come back to it just before you come so you have a little bit of an idea.
We know that after school activities are hard to get to and organise especially when your are both working parents so the thought of having to drive to multiple venues for different dance styles would be a pain. When we moved to this venue in 2016 it fit us perfectly, we have 4 studios under the same roof at 54 King St, with a further 2 just one door down the road at 66 King St.
Studio 1 54 King Upstairs the first studio you see
Studio 2 54 King Upstairs through the corridor and straight down the back
Studio 3 54 King Downstairs opposite Phixx and to the left
Studio 4 54 King Downstairs opposite Phixx and to the right
Studio 5 66 King Upstairs to the right
Studio 6 66 King Upstairs to the left
Within the studios there are a total of 7 toilets. 1 wheelchair accessible toilet downstairs near Studio 3 and 4, upstairs toilets between the foyer and Studio 1’s entrance (please don’t use the toilet behind Phixx as it belongs to them) the other 2 are at 66 king. There are 2 kitchenettes one by studio 3 and the other between the foyer and studio 1’s entrance. This is where you will find the water cooler.
Common room, Waiting areas and Office
We are working on regaining the common room after it was ruined by flooding during the covid lockdown and when it is ready this is where students and families stay while waiting for classes. There is also a foyer upstairs at 54 King where our office administrators are 6 days a week to help you with any queries.
We offer every student the opportunity to participate in assessments in either the
Royal Academy of Dance [RAD] for Ballet
Asia Pacific Dance Association [APDA] for Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, Musical Theatre & Hip Hop
New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing [NZAHND] for Highland
Acro - Levels are assessed by Miss Alaina as there is not an examining body
Pre School - No Exams
This is the highlight of the year, all students get their chance to perform at the beautiful Regent on Broadway. Due to the size of the studio we have split the concerts into 3 to allow students more time on stage.
Pre School Showcase
Information for these performances can be found on the website later in the year.
The next step is to book a trial, if you are still struggling to know which class to trial, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can walk through it together. If you know what you want then please use our online registration portal to book.
When you either book a trial or enrol at DWS you will need to create an account on our Parent portal. If you choose not to continue after your trial your information will be deleted however, if you continue after your trial it will make things smoother.
Once you are in the portal it will only show classes available for your child's age making it much easier to decide what class to choose.
Online Registration Portal
After many years of watching children trial classes I thought I would share with you some reflections, observations and tips on preparing to trial a class.
Year after year we see children arrive to class for a trial, they walk in and see the studio, all the other children and their parents, the barres, the mirrors and all the wide space and suddenly freeze.
Unfortunately for some that is the end. Sadly some leave before the class has even finished so we don’t get the chance to assure them that this is a completely natural reaction. Instead they leave embarrassed, often grumpy and with a child screaming and think that dancing isn't for their child.
I’d like to share some pearls of wisdom here and tell you why it’s worth the perseverance.
Several years ago a little girl walked into class and froze. She sat up the back of the room unable to leave her mother's side. After the class I spoke to her mother and encouraged her to return next week, and with full credit to her she did. She did this 5 weeks in a row. However, on the 6th lesson I sat down in the middle of the room like I do every class to welcome the children and the first child to join me was this little girl. You see each week she had gone home and repeated the steps she had watched, she practiced her movements and watched the structure of the class so that when, in her own time she was ready and she felt confident she joined in as if she had been dancing each week.
A passive trial is a very powerful lesson and children do get a lot out of just being encouraged to sit and watch. Sometimes a child simply isn’t ready so trying again at a later stage can be very beneficial. Occasionally children will decide this isn’t for them, but it's worth asking the studio if their is another class they could do as sometimes it can be as simple as the colour of the costume. But most often they are just shy. It's worth remembering if I asked you to dance in a group in front of complete strangers ...would you? And by the way the little girl now dances 4 days a week and has performed in every concert since she started.So here are my top tips for a passive trial:
- Arrive early, in my experience shy children need 15-20 min of settling time. This was one of the best bits of advice I received with my daughter and it worked!
- If they don’t want to join in then just find a spot to sit and reassure them that it's ok to just watch. Our assistant teachers will pop over from time to time to see if they will take their hand but they won't force and neither should you.
- Stay calm … trust me I know how it feels I’m a mum too.
- Explain that the other children have a uniform, and that it is ok to look different and eventually they too will earn their tutu when they join in but it doesn't have to be today.
- If they dance at home and repeat the steps form class….you have a dancer, so please persevere!
I hope you have a wonderful trial!