Ask the Experts: Kathy Costa, Dancing
KATHY COSTA OF DANCEWORKS STUDIOS, TAPS INTO THE LIFE OF DANCING.
Thinking about enrolling your child in a kids’ dance class? With so many dance studios for kids out there, you may be confused about where to begin. Depending on your child’s age and level of skill, there are lots of factors to consider. Maybe you want a dance class for kids that focuses on the basics. Or, maybe you have a future Ginger Rogers on your hands and want to research competitive dance programs.
Then, look no further! In this “Ask an Expert” feature, Kathy Costa of Danceworks Studios weighs in to help you find the perfect dance program for your child. With 25 years of experience teaching and choreographing routines, Kathy has the knowledge and expertise to successfully guide you on your toe-tapping journey.
What should parents consider when choosing a dance program for their child?
Kathy: Parents should first & foremost understand the importance of technique , creativity , individual growth and have a basic understanding of their child’s wants & needs. Every studio offers a different flavor & deliverance. Every child needs to have their own personal nurturing yet challenging experience.
Do you recommend a child focus on one style of dance or practice a variety of styles? Do children need a Ballet foundation?
Kathy: Ballet is the foundation for all styles of dance. We highly recommend our students study ballet prior to all other classes. In some instances our dancers are required to take multiple ballet classes weekly if they are preparing for our Dance Company & are an active member of our Company. We encourage all students from ages 7 and older to explore the many different styles of dance. We offer Ballet, Pointe, Modern , Jazz , Tap & Hip Hop. A student may discover that their versatile training will most definitely serve them better in the future. To be flexible & knowledgeable in all styles allows one more opportunities in the dance world.
How much do parents typically spend on dance related equipment and apparel? Any tips for the frugal parent on ways to save?
Kathy: Cost on apparel for dance varies , in general you need shoes for particular studies a leotard, tights, ballet skirt etc. we are affiliated with Everything Dance in Caldwell where our students get a 10 percent discount on everything with a great staff.
What is the difference between competition dance studios and non-competition dance studios?
Kathy: We are not a competitive dance studio. I make this very clear to my clientele and new students. We are a performance based studio who places a strong emphasis on technical, anatomical understanding & creative growth constantly. We believe dancers flourish in our positive approach to dance education. Our students work on technique 3/4 of our season, and the last 1/4, we focus on learning new choreography for our annual Spring Concert.
Do children need to commit to dancing year-round and at what age?
Kathy: Dance studies is most definitely an art form that requires annual training for season after season. There is always room for growth and the learning of new material. Our students generally by age 5/6 are taking classes yearly, and as they get older begin to increase their studies. It takes time to build technique.
Are there any dance scholarships for college-age dancers? Have you seen dancing help a kid get into college?
Kathy: Yes, there are dance scholarships available for college. Students need to do their part after their many years of training , auditioning and then applying for scholarships. I’ve had several dancers awarded monies toward college. Many of our students have auditioned and studied dance as their majors. Several of my current faculty all studied at DanceWorks Studios then went on to college earning their BFA/ BA in Dance and are all professional teachers & performers.
What are the biggest life-time benefits of studying dance as a child?
Kathy: The benefits of studying dance are endless. I’m certain that my students all have a healthy understanding of healthy bodies & healthy minds, as well as strong self esteem & presence. They also understand the importance of focus , dedication , commitment, loyalty , respect for all , hard work, kindness toward all, support for one another and the importance of individual growth so he/she continues to work solely on their weaknesses & builds their strengths where needed. I do honestly believe Dance Education will prepare young minds for a very successful future in any area of continued studies.
What do you recommend to protect against injury while dancing?
Kathy: Honestly injuries do happen in all dance/sport related studies. However, we strongly emphasize the importance of proper body alignment , and understanding of anatomy so one can better be prepared to avoid injury. Not to overwork or overuse the same muscle groups that causes undue stress to joints , ligaments & tendons. Self care is crucial; deep tissue massage on a regular basis is highly recommended for the serious dancer, as well as stretching in every class we offer.