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River Ridge
1111 Village Walk Rd
105 Campbell Ave #3
2020 Dickory Ave #200
Covington, LA
Mandeville, LA
Harahan, LA

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Dance Classes - a Beginner's Guide

Brand New to Dance Classes? Here are nine questions you should ask wherever you choose to study! There are numerous choices of available teachers and schools of dance in the Mandeville and New Orleans, LA area. Students and parents should consider the following before choosing a school.

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What is the best age to start in dance classes?

Dance Classes in Mandeville, Louisiana
For dance, much like other physical activities, it is better to start as early as possible, so your child’s abilities can grow with them.Our dance classes begin as young as 18months for our parent & tot classes. Our tumbling and pre-ballet classes also begin as young as 3-4yrs old so our students can gain the necessary flexibility and body control. We encourage all of our students to begin with ballet, as ballet is the foundation for all other dance styles. Once our students reach the age of 5, the doors open up for them and they can try other styles such as tap, hip hop/jazz, and contemporary/modern. We also welcome older beginners and work with each student at their specific level making all of our classes fully inclusive and tailored to your child’s needs.

Do I need to audition to get started?

At Laapa we teach dance classes from age 18months-adult. There are no auditions required to begin in the program which is largely age based. Class placement and promotions are at the discretion of our instructors. We want to make sure each child is receiving the most out of their class experience and that their class is a perfect fit for them.

Do you offer private dance lessons as well?

Yes, however we prefer all of our youth dancers to take at least 1 group class a week. This is to help our program maintain a family atmosphere and to help our dancers with socialization, accountability, motivation and team-work. Weekly group classes increase as dancers get older to help their physical strength, technique, and repertoire grow with them. If a student finds that he/she wants to go deeper with a particular dance style, or wishes to excel at a more pre-professional level, we recommend that they add a weekly private lesson to their regular group classes.

What Performance Opportunities do you Offer?

Unlike other studios who only offer one recital a year, we offer two big performances: our recital in June and our Christmas show in December.
For the June recital, our students perform original choreography with their individual classes. Dances are taught and practiced during the normal class times, so there are no outside rehearsals until the weekend of the performance. This performance is open to all dance students.
Our Christmas show provides a unique opportunity for our dancers allowing them to audition for a variety of available soloist/character roles thus gaining valuable group audition experience. All students who audition will receive a role. This performance is outside of classes and there will be separate weekly rehearsals scheduled. Students must be at least five years old to audition.
LAAPAFEST, our annual music and dance festival, is held each Spring. For dancers who choose to participate in LAAPAFEST, they will be able to showcase their own, original choreography in front of a panel of friendly judges. The judges will then provide them constructive feedback on their performance and choreography. LAAPAFEST provides students with experience in a professional event, and will bolster their self confidence and resume for future competitive events and/or admission into additional dance programs. Additionally, the judges will select 4 of the highest rated festival dance participants to perform in a special Honors Concert. Students must be at least six years old and have at least one year of dance experience to participate.

Are Dance Recitals and/or Competitions Mandatory?

Dance Classes in Metairie, Louisiana
Stage performance is a vital part of a dancer’s training, therefore in our dance program we strongly encourage participation in our June recital and Christmas show. This not only helps the student grow as an individual, but it helps the class grow as a team. Performing on stage is a wonderful opportunity for personal growth of the student in many ways, however, if students are not able to participate in our performances due to traveling or missing the deadline, they are still able to fully participate in the class.
Many dance schools and instructors also choose to focus on heavy competition schedules requiring students and parents to regularly travel out of state several weekends of the year. Our focus within the dance program at LAAPA is exclusively on the education of students in a fun and low pressure environment. Our students are not required to participate and/or attend dance competitions, or participate in any shows they do not want to.

What Type of Dance Floor is Used in the Studio?

Floating Dance Floor at the River Ridge and Mandeville Schools of Dance
Due to the physical nature of dance, it is important to ensure that the studio you choose holds all classes on a professional floating dance floor. Floating floors, whether they be hardwood or Marley use special subflooring with foam to allow the floor to absorb much of the shock that would otherwise be absorbed by the feet, knees, and lower body of the dancer. Floating floors allow dancers to dance longer and provide a safe environment for classes. Our studios use a custom built maple hardwood floating dance floor.

How Large are the Classes?

The fewer the number of students in a class, the more individual attention each student receives. At LAAPA, our school limits each class to a maximum of 15 students. This ensures that each student receives the attention he/she deserves which in turn means they learn more and enjoy the classes more!

What are the Qualifications of the Dance Instructors?

Dance Classes in Harahan and River Ridge, Louisiana
In many dance studios throughout the cities of New Orleans, Mandeville, Metairie, Kenner, River Ridge, and Harahan, the faculty members are not necessarily required to have professional/collegiate level training. Additionally, classes for beginners may often be taught by student teachers. At Laapa, all of our classes (including beginning dance classes) are taught by our faculty. All of our dance faculty have either a University degree in Dance, Theatre, etc or equivalent professional experience working with some of the top names in the dance industry.

Who Do I Contact for Customer Service?

Many times, the studio owner wears a variety of hats by performing numerous services as a teacher, employer, staff associate, customer service representative, and the list goes on. Usually studio owners in these situations cannot effectively perform all of these jobs at once which means that the quality of one or more of these services will continually or eventually suffer. At LAAPA, our dance teachers focus 100% on teaching classes each week. We have staff members at the front desk during all classes ready to assist you with any administrative questions or concerns.

What Are Some of the Benefits of Taking Dance Classes?

Dance classes and lessons help students of all ages in a variety of ways. We encourage you to read our recent article on "Five Ways Dance Classes Impact Personal Development in Kids, Teens, and Adults."

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or take the next step and arrange your first class by calling us!
Mandeville School of Music & Dance
(985) 674-2992 (office)

River Ridge School of Music & Dance
(504) 738-3050 (office)

Learn more about our Dance Classes in other cities: Harahan, River Ridge, Mandeville, Metairie, New Orleans