Flat River Dance Company believe that our success comes as a result of providing solid training and quality service, along with an underlying belief in the strength of our organization. We have created this handbook to offer our dancers and their parents a clear understanding of their commitments and responsibility to the FRDC.
For the Parents
“We’re in this together”
We believe that children’s success depends on the support of their parents or guardians. Because your commitment to the process makes an enormous difference, we encourage you to be a part of your child’s dance education.
Our program relies on a positive atmosphere for our faculty, our students, and their parents; it promotes a positive learning experience for all involved. Cooperation between all parents is expected. Showing respect for the other parents, along with the students and faculty, makes an important impression on the children. You are a role model for your child in how to interact with others in a professional setting.
Your child’s presence at all classes, rehearsals, and performances is imperative. The spirit of teamwork and the lesson of dedication are a big part of the dance process.
Parents and teachers may look at a child’s learning from different perspectives. However, they share a common goal: to assure that every child receives the best possible training, both physically and mentally. Mutual respect between our faculty and our dancers’ parents provides the children with the ultimate care and education.
Understanding Dance Education
As a parent, the financial support of your student is important, but of equal—perhaps even greater—value is your emotional support. Encourage your child to be the best that he or she can be without regard to what others may achieve. Dance is an individual art form; each child needs to achieve at a pace that’s comfortable for him or her. No two students will progress at the same rate, even if they experience the exact same training. It’s important to encourage the children to focus on themselves, give their all, and be satisfied with their own accomplishments.
Dance education encompasses far more than technique or the steps your children will learn. We believe the discipline of dance training gives young people a better understanding of commitment by offering them the chance to learn, experience the spirit of teamwork, and understand what hard work can accomplish. Our goal is to
educate the minds, bodies, and souls of our students, to teach them the skills needed for a successful life, whether or not they stay involved in dance.
Dos and Don’ts
Some parents may compare their child’s progress or class or choreography placement to that of others in the program. Watch for this behavior in your children as well, and encourage them to focus on their own accomplishments. Looking to others for inspiration is a good thing; however, a negative focus or comparison distracts from the energy that could be focused on becoming a stronger dancer. In addition, speaking negatively about your child’s teachers, fellow dancers, or other parents in front of your child––or other students––could result in problems far beyond your original concerns. Often children will react to their parents in a way that imitates the parent’s behavior with other adults or authority figures.
Children learn important lessons from their teachers and parents, acquiring important behavior patterns through their example. Our FRDC faculty takes that responsibility seriously. It’s our philosophy to encourage our students to feel, think, and act respectfully to their peers, the adults in their lives, and themselves.
If you have questions or concerns about your child’s dance education, don’t panic––and please don’t talk only with other parents when questions arise.
Make an appointment to speak the one of the owners of the school. Please conduct all communication through the school office rather than approaching your child’s teacher or the director between or during classes or calling them at home.
There are comment and concern cards available in the office. Fill one out. Place it in the office mail box. We will set up a meeting with you within 24 hours.
If you do request a conference, please listen carefully to what your child’s teachers have to say. They spend a significant amount of time with your child and can offer expertise in the field of dance education.
Guidelines for Parents
Parents of younger students please attend to your child's bathroom
needs before class.
Please make sure child is dressed and hair is up before class.
Any snacks should be eaten before arriving to the school.
Due to the open design of the studio and foyer, we ask if you are waiting for your child at the school to wait quietly as to not distract the students. No one is permitted in the studio at any time unless invited by the teacher or staff.
Please make sure your child is properly attired for class. They will not be permitted to participate otherwise. This includes their hair.
Please drop off and pick up your child promptly before and after class. Remind your child to always wait inside studio to be picked up.
Teachers may have several consecutive classes to teach each day. If you have a question please ask the office manager on duty in the office.
If someone other than the parent/guardian is to pick up your child please inform FRDC staff ahead of time.
Parents are expected to read the policies and procedures which are posted on our website www.frdc.us
Students who are consistently late to class or misses more than three classes in a semester may run the risk of not being allowed to perform in our productions. Please make class attendance a priority in your child’s dance education
Class placement of students is highly individual and the factors that go into the decision are complex.
For Our Dancers
Welcome! You are a Flat RiverDance Company Dancer. The first step to becoming a successful dancer is making a solid commitment to your classes, rehearsals, and performances. Strong technique is a key ingredient and class is where you develop that technique. Come to each class prepared to learn and without personal distractions. Class time is your chance to focus on yourself, so try to leave your concerns or worries at the studio door. True progress is made when you look at each class, rehearsal, or performance as an opportunity to become better at what you love to do. Dance full out, stretch a little further, become more aware of your technique, and make the most of every class.
Respect for the teachers and choreographers you work with is essential. Listen to each correction given, whether it’s directed to you or another dancer. A correction is an honor; it shows you how much a teacher cares about your progress as a dancer. Always say thank you when a teacher or choreographer offers you constructive criticism. Nothing can stop those students who apply themselves in every class and appreciate their teachers’ knowledge and experience.
A portion of class time is dedicated to choreography or “cleaning” the choreography. A dancer who misses a class holds back the progress of the entire group. Repeating the choreography from a previous class for those who were absent takes up valuable rehearsal time, which could result in a performance that is not up to par. When we clean choreography, we may also change it. Dancers who miss class may not be properly prepared for the upcoming performance and could end up letting themselves, their classmates, or the school down.
Performances are your opportunity to show the world the results of your dedication and hard work. To make the most of this opportunity:
Arrive at performances at least one hour prior to the scheduled time, unless otherwise advised by your teachers.
Be sure you are properly warmed up.
Present yourself in a professional manner, with costumes pressed, shoes cleaned, and all accessories accounted for.
Go out there and show the audience how much you love to dance
Dancer’s World: There are things that dancers do that might not make sense at first, but there is good reason for the strange things we do.
1. Why don’t dancers wear underwear with their costume or leotard? If you are wearing underwear with your costume or leotard, it will show. Our leotards and costumes are modestly cut, however, all of the moving your dancers do causes them to shift. Underwear poking out, draws much more unwanted attention than not wearing underwear at all. This is why there is a gusset in the dancers’ tights.
2. Why do we have to do our hair & make-up for dress rehearsal? This is your teacher’s chance to get one last look at everyone and make sure that the class looks polished and that there are no surprises on the performance day. Also, we take photos on Dress Rehearsal Day that will be posted on our shutterfly account.
3. Why do dancers wear leotards? A dancer’s wardrobe is so because it allows the teacher (and dancer) to view the placement and alignment of the body. If the dancer’s body is covered in T-shirts and anything covering the knees, it makes it much more challenging to make corrections. The body is a dancer’s instrument and teachers are looking at the alignment of the body from head to toe and everything in between.
4. Why do dancers wear buns? With the hair pulled away from the face and off of the neck, the teacher and student have a better view of the alignment of the neck. Keeping the hair in a bun also keeps long hair out of the eyes when turning.
There are dressing rooms on the student lobby side of the building for your convenience. Please be aware that the lockers are for level 4 and 5 students only. There are additional cubby’s for temporary storage. You can also utilize the space below the benches for storage as well.
We prefer that you observe classes from the student lobby side of the building. Please use the office side only for bathroom needs, overflow observation and to drop off payments to our office manager.
Class or Choreography Placement
The FRDC faculty meets regularly to discuss the students’ progress and/or placement. It is our policy to offer appropriate opportunities to every child.
Placement decisions are derived from many years of teaching experience. Often a child is placed in a particular group or class where he or she will feel confident, in order to promote the development of self-esteem.
Some dancers who are placed in a higher level become discouraged, only to lose their passion for dance. Others respond to the challenge of being in a class with dancers who are more proficient by pushing themselves to work harder.
Placement is highly individual and the factors that go into the decision are complex.
Please see the school’s director if you have questions or concerns about your child’s placement.
All Pre Ballet classes consist of ballet, tap and creative movement.
The following are short descriptions of each level and class. For a full page description of any level, please contact the business office.
Students enrolling in, Pre-Ballet, Ballet I, Ballet II and III usually take one class per week; however, the option exists to enroll your child in additional classes.
Pre-Ballet I (age 3-4) Class Length: 30 minutes
This class develops natural movement instincts through activities appropriate to the students' innate creativity and physical skills. Children express themselves primarily through movement, but also through music and dramatic activities. This gentle class begins to develop awareness of musicality, body parts, space and pathways, and class etiquette.
Pre-Ballet II (age 4-5) Class Length: 45 minutes
This fun class further develops natural movement instincts through activities that combine innate creativity and physical skills. The gentle class continues to widen awareness of musicality, body parts, space and pathways, and class etiquette with other dancers. Children express themselves primarily through movement, but also through music and dramatic activities.
Pre-Ballet III (age 5-7) Class Length: 45 minutes
This class extends the range of understanding and ability that a student acquires in the In Pre-ballet program. Concepts continue to be combined in greater complexity with the challenge to clarify movement and expression. The Pre-Ballet III class includes introductory barre work and ballet terminology while it also continues to develop listening skills, musicality, and spatial awareness.
Ballet I (age 6-9) Class Length: 60 minutes
This class introduces the fundamental principles of ballet technique. A Ballet I student extends the range of understanding and ability to refine technical skills and begins developing proper alignment. An introduction of basic anatomy, physiology, and nutrition supports the blossoming dancer's knowledge. Each class includes barre and center floor work as well as exercises used to develop musicality and creativity.
Ballet II (Ages 7-9) Class Length: 60 minutes
This class continues the formal study of classical ballet and encourages the development of self-discipline. Particular emphasis is placed on exercises designed to strengthen legs, ankles, and feet as well as to continue developing postural and technical skills. A continuation of basic anatomy, physiology, and supports the dancer's knowledge. Appropriate for younger students who have progressed from Ballet I, as well as older students with little or no previous training.
Ballet III (Ages 9-14) Class Length: 90 minutes
Technique classes emphasize proper placement and alignment, turnout of the hips and legs, coordination of the arms and legs, and a clear knowledge of beginning ballet terminology. Appropriate for younger students who have progressed from Ballet II, as well as older students with little or no previous training. This level also begins to prepare students for pointe work. Ballet III students are encouraged to take this class two to three times per week.
Ballet IV & V (Ages 13-19) Class Length: 90 minutes
Training builds on previously learned skills while developing increased strength, kinetic awareness, and intellectual understanding. Ballet IV students are encouraged to take this class two to three times per week.
Beginner Pointe & Intermediate Pointe Class Length: 30-60 minutes (Ages 10 and up recommended by School Owners)
Technique continues to build and increase in difficulty. Pointe work is introduced by permission of the instructor only after the student has completed at least three years consecutive ballet training, demonstrated precision in technique, and acquired sufficient strength in legs, ankles, and feet. Intermediate Ballet students are expected to take a minimum of two technique classes a week. Students with aspirations for a professional career are encouraged to enroll in four to six classes a week.
Advanced Pointe (recommended by School Owners)
Class Length: 60 minutes
Technique continues to build and increase in difficulty. Performance quality and artistic presentation are elements of focus in this level. Advanced Ballet is for students who exhibit a profound understanding of classical technique and are dedicated to a rigorous course of study. Advanced Ballet students are expected to take a minimum of three technique classes a week. Students with aspirations for a professional career are encouraged to enroll in four to six classes a week.
Ballet V & Variations (ages: 13-18) Class Length: 60 minutes
This class is available to students currently enrolled in a Ballet IV and Ballet V. This is a class designed for our advanced students to learn classical and neo-classical variations (solos, duets, trios and/or group piece) that will be performed at the end of each semester.
Jazz (age 6-19) Class Length: 60 minutes to 75 minutes
Jazz levels I and II focus on all areas of dance technique. All Jazz classes incorporate technical positions, body placement, flexibility, balance, turns and jumps. Jazz I focuses more on the basics and fundamentals. In order to advance to the next level one must accomplish a dance combination by oneself with approval of the dance instructor along with knowing the positions, steps, dance terminology and applying them.
Contemporary IV & V (ages 11-19) Class length: 90 minutes
(age 10 and up recommended by School Owners)
This class combines ballet technique with grounded movements of modern dance. It Incorporating off-center turns and improvisation. Recommended to mature students who have acquired a strong understanding of the dance aesthetic. This class is tailored to students who may want to continue their dance training through college.
Hip Hop (Ages 8-16) Class length: 60 minutes
Hip hop is a high-energy class that infuses the latest styles of street dancing, breaking, popping, and locking. Classes will encourage students to step outside of the box by bringing their own individual style and personality to the movements.
As part of a student's training, it is important for the student to learn and respect the rules, traditions, and class etiquette followed by the dance and theatre world.
Please arrive promptly.
Be sure to leave time to be dressed for class.
If student is late to class, it is the teacher's decision whether the student may take class or watch and take notes.
Regular attendance is very important. The majority of the class performance choreography is taught during the class.
If student needs to leave class early, please let the teacher know before class starts. At the appointed time, the student should thank teacher and then leave the studio quietly.
If a student is absent from three or more classes they may be at risk of being taken out of the upcoming performance.
Respect for the teacher, other students, the studio, the theatre, and guest artists will be expected of all students.
Students may not enter the studio area until invited by the teacher. Students may wait quietly in the foyer or dressing room.
The dress code is expected to be followed. If a student is not in the proper attire the teacher will ask the student to correct the problem before continuing the class. If a student is repeatedly not properly dressed, FRDC will sent the parent/guardian a letter by e-mail to address the issue.
(THIS INCLUDES ALL HAIR REQUIREMENTS)
Please do not wear warm-ups, leg warmers, skirts, shorts, t-shirts, sweat shirts or headbands of any kind (aka JUNK) into the studio. The teacher may give the students permission to wear junk from time to time. Consider this the exception not the rule.
Hanging on barres is not allowed.
Cell phones should be turned off during class. No devices permitted in the studio.
Bathroom needs should be taken care of before class time.
No street shoes allowed on studio floor
Gum, food or drinks are never allowed in studio area.
For Ballet: The dress code is based on classical standards of ballet. Dress codes help students focus better in class because they are not distracted by loose or cumbersome clothing. Proper dress code also allows the teacher to correct alignment and placement. Additionally, dress code prepares students for performance, and they feel pride in themselves when appearance is neat and clean.
The following are the dress code requirements:
Leotard - Any solid colored leotard
Skirts - Are allowed at the discretion of the teacher.
Tights - Pink footed tights/convertible tights
Undergarments - no undergarments should be worn under leotards and tights. Tights serve as underwear beneath their leotards.
Ballet shoes - Pink ballet slippers with soft, pliable sole; elastic sewn on shoe prior to class (not tied and wrapped underneath); drawstrings cut and tucked into shoe (no bows on top of shoes).
Pointe shoes - all pointe shoes must be reviewed and approved by School Owners prior to sewing them or wearing them for class. Although pointe shoes are exciting for younger dancers, they can cause serious injury if one's ankles and feet are not ready for them.
Please do not allow younger dancers to try on pointe shoes. Pointe work begins in the Intermediate level with permission and advisement of the School Owners and a minimum age of nine.
Hair - secured off face; a bun is required for all ballet levels and up for safety of eyes. Please have plenty of hairnets, hair pins, clips, and hair bands available to neatly put up hair; hairspray and hair gel should be used. A separate smaller bag kept in your dance bag is recommended to store hair supplies.
Gentlemen - black ballet shoes, black tights, dance belt, black shorts for young boys, solid white t-shirt (no writing or designs), hair neat and secured off face if long.
Warm-ups - Form-fitting warm-ups (tight solid-colored ballet sweaters, leg warmers, ballet skirts) are permitted only at the discretion of each teacher
Jazz & Contemporary
Leotard - Any solid colored leotard
Tights - Any solid color worn full footed or Capri length
Shoes - Tan jazz shoes for Jazz I, Dance paws or bare feet for Jazz II, Contemporary IV Contemporary V- Apolla shocks
Hair - secured off face, in a high ponytail.
Tops and Bottoms: Any color sweatpants or jazz pants with a t-shirt or tank top.
Shoes: Black converse shoe or NEW sneakers used for dance only
No street shoes permitted on the dance floor
Hair: MUST be pulled back in ponytail, braid or bun.
Accessories - Absolutely NO watches, bracelets, or necklaces. Small stud earrings are okay, no large earrings. Absolutely NO sweatshirts, sweatpants, oversized shirts, or loose fitting clothing.
At the Theater
Gather all costumes, accessories, shoes, tights and makeup several days
in advance so you'll know if something is missing or isn't right. Also,
it's always a good idea to have these items on hand:
* One extra pair of tights
Hair spray and Hair gel
* Safety Pins
* Baby Powder (great for itchy costumes)
* Baby Wipes/Shout Wipes (for makeup mishaps)
Theater rehearsals always take time. Lighting, music cues, set changes,
floor cues are organized and rehearsed for a professional performance.
We run a timely dress rehearsal; your help with the process is greatly
appreciated. Please arrive dressed and on time to ensure that your
child will be able to rehearse. We will not run dances over for late
On rehearsal and performance days, parents will sign their child in at
the backstage entrance and from then on they will be under the care of
FRDC staff and the backstage volunteers.
If your child is in *Pre-ballet I, II, III or Ballet I, and Jazz I, please drop off your child in full hair/makeup*.
Dancers are to be picked up from the stage entrance at the end of rehearsal and performance.
No one is permitted back stage except for FRDC staff Production staff , and volunteers.
If you need to speak with your child please ask one of the back stage volunteers to relay the message and/or escort your child to you.
All students are required to be back stage 45 minutes before the rehearsal and performance unless otherwise directed by the FRDC staff.
Our dress rehearsal will be closed to the public. Only FRDC Staff, Production Staff, designated Parent Guild members, and volunteers will permitted in the theater at this time.
Dressing Room Etiquette
*Parents please be sure your child has had adequate nutrients before
coming to the theater*
Only snacks such as animal crackers, goldfish crackers, bottled water etc. are permitted in the dressing room.
No one is permitted to eat in costume!
Students are to remain in their designated dressing room during the dress rehearsal and performance unless other wise directed by FRDC staff or backstage volunteer. No one is permitted back stage except for performers, Parent Guild members, FRDC staff and Production staff.
Students please respect each other's space and property in the dressing rooms.
No eating, drinking in the theater at any time. (Bottled water is permitted).
Please make sure that children in the audience during performances stay with a parent at all times.
There is no running or playing in the auditorium and children must be attended to at all times.
Everyone is expected to follow the rules of FRDC as well as be respectful and courteous to all teachers, staff, volunteers and fellow dancers.
Video and Photography
Parents/Guardians may NOT videotape during the performance. A professional DVD of the performance will be made available. A detailed order form can be found in the lobby. All DVD's of the full show will be $25.
No Flash photography will be allowed in the theater during the
performance. Flash photography is a distraction to the audience and is dangerous to the performers.
If you wish to take pictures of your children in costume you may do so up to 45 minutes before the performance begins and 30 minutes after the performance in designated areas only.