Last updated: May 11, 2022

Miss Betsie

To: Prospective Parents
From: Betsie Andrews, Director of ArtisTree
Re: Best starting age
      Parental Responsibilities

Dear Parents,

Having taught for over 40 years, I've had the privilege of working with many generations of budding artists and dancers. In countless conversations with parents over the years, two words are used over and over: courage and patience. It takes both to be a parent, especially in guiding your child through a successful training in the arts, and life! Below are questions, which every prospective parent has asked at some point.

What is the best age to start dance?
Formal training before a child's mind and muscles are developmentally ready may actually interrupt the training process. The optimum time to begin formal training is when a child begins third grade. Typically delicate soft bones solidify and abstract thinking skills develop around age 7. For this reason and many others, creative and expressive experiences are recommended for pre-seven year olds.

How much will I be investing in my child's training?
Dance training, much like training on a musical instrument, is typically 7 to 10 years. Both parent and child will be investing quality time, enormous patience and hard work, and money. As in any investment, there are dividends along the way including lifetime growth in self-discipline, focus, grace, dominion, joy, and freedom.

How do I go about enrolling my child or myself?
Contact us by filling out our email form. The appropriate information, based on your child’s birthdate and/or previous dance experience will be sent to you the summer before the dance season begins. Registration for the upcoming season will be sent to you in June, followed by an invitation to our annual Open House in late August. It is still possible to register as late as October, providing there is an appropriate class with openings. Once you have contacted us, you will also be sent invitations to various dance events throughout that season.

What are your rates?
Rates vary depending on age of child, level of class, number of weekly classes taken, and family need. We understand that families are sacrificing time and money to make this life skill possible for their children. For this reason, we offer family discounts for more than one child, work-study options, scholarships, and customized class package pricing. Families should be cautioned in making money the deciding factor in one’s dance experience. The adage "you get what you pay for" is particularly true in the dance world. Too often money has been spent for a training that cannot be utilized out of the home town. Time and money is precious. Your investment will pay off if you have researched the school’s product and philosophy, the background and training of its staff, and the extended services and entire education for your family.

One of the many services ArtisTree provides is an Open House in late August to meet the staff, get acquainted with the space and process the necessary paperwork. At this time, families can purchase hard to find equipment at under retail prices. There is even a used shoe bank for selling outgrown dance shoes and buying used shoes in good condition at great prices.

ArtisTree has a long record of offering the finest, most excellent and proper training at very affordable tuition rates. In addition to a year’s tuition (paid in nine monthly installments), expect to pay a nominal registration fee, the cost of one leotard, a pair of tights, appropriate dance shoes, one costume per class, and a family theatre fee.

What should I do if my child wants to quit?
Having made the investment of time, energy and money, it is always a shame not to realize the full value of an investment. It is human nature to complain or even resist growth. True growth is rarely comfortable and for this reason, the parents' courage and wisdom are needed to keep the child from quitting. A parent's privilege is to guide their child on the path of life. Only the parent has the experience and wisdom needed to judge if dance is a worthwhile activity. Understanding dance as an activity that fosters self-discipline, grace, hard work and satisfaction, the parent should make every effort to encourage the child NOT to short change his future.

What are my responsibilities as a dance parent?
At ArtisTree, there is a Plan for Dance. Parent, dancer and teacher agree success follows this plan.

What about competition?
Competition is part of life. To compete with one's self is true competition. Mixed messages are sent in spending a great amount of time preparing for dance competitions. Trophies are no substitute for pure technique. There is a huge difference between learning a dance and learning HOW to dance. At ArtisTree, emphasis is put on the latter, the learning process. However, dancers are not discouraged from entering or attending conventions and competitions, as long as class time and technique are not sacrificed.

Live artFULLy,

Miss Betsie