“Dancers are the athletes of God…” Albert Einstein
What to look for in a Dance Studio
Nowadays, parents and families have so many choices. Sometimes the simplest, flashiest or cheapest choice is not necessarily the best when selecting a dance studio. Many parents chose schools based on location, price or class-time availability. Our suggestion is that you take a bit of time to research the history and long-standing reputation of the studio, trust word-of-mouth reviews from people you know and trust with direct connection to the studio (online reviews can be rife with trolls or anonymous paid bots), and then pick a place that focuses on what style interests your child most. Is it contemporary dance, hip hop, ballet, tap, or jazz?
Studios usually focus more heavily in either Contemporary or Classical dance, although both genres may be offered. Contemporary studios focus on popular/current styles such as Contemporary, Lyrical, Hip Hop, Rhythm Tap, Jazz, Theatrical, Contemporary, etc. Classical studios concentrate in Ballet, Pointe, other classic styles and variations in these genres. Neither is “better”, they are just different. A studio with a good reputation that spans years/decades of successfully training children (in either or both genres), creating solid technical dancers, producing quality performances, even winning awards or recognition for dance excellence, etc. is a solid choice. There are no standardized regulations for performing arts studios in the United States, so take some time to find the right school that is the best fit for your child.
And What Do We Offer?
1. We at Southern Oregon Dance Centerare a solidly focused Contemporary Dance studio with a strong history of 32+ years in Grants Pass ( as All That Jazz Dance Studio before our re-branding in 2020) creating generations of young dance artists, many of whom have gone on to pursue professional dance/acting/performance careers in film, stage and video. Our youth performance companies have been featured in national Dance Magazines, toured and performed across the United States and Europe winning awards for excellence at national dance events, and have represented southern Oregon as young dance Ambassadors in performances at Disneyland, Disney World, and across Austria, Europe in their National Dance Concert series, TANZSOMMER, and more! Although we have an award-winning Contemporary program beginning with age 3, we also have a strong Ballet program and recognize that it provides the essential technical foundation that our Contemporary dancers need.
2. Our Facility– Our state of the art studio is upstairs at 405 SE 6th Street in Grants Pass. We have just over 3500 sq. ft of studio space, with 3 dance rooms to accommodate classes of all styles and age groups. Our floors are professional-grade Marley dance floors designed to give the proper amount of “cushion” that dancers need to train properly and prevent injuries. Our rooms are air-conditioned and heated, with dressing rooms, a kitchen (for in-between-class snacks), bathrooms/showers, and a dancewear/shoe boutique.
Our main room is the size of the Performing Arts Center stage and has sliding walls that open to the hallway so that parents can watch in-studio performances. We also have large observation windows outside each dance room so that parents can watch their children during class from designated viewing areas. It also has a Far UV sanitizing light installed (the same that airlines use to instantly sanitize seating between flights) which continuously sanitizes all dance room surfaces and air to keep everyone healthy, even during cold and flu season! We have invested in this advanced technology sanitizing equipment, and are proud to offer a healthier dance space for community’s children.
3. Our Experienced, Professional Staff– Our expert teaching staff is highly qualified, with years of collective and individual performing, teaching and choreographic experience, as well as skills and talents specific to the styles and age groups they instruct. Our SODC Staff utilizes their extensive teaching experience, continuing education with immersion in Contemporary styles, and well-honed instincts to make a positive difference in young dancers’ talents, abilities and self esteem in an joyous, supportive environment.
SODC also creates dancer enrichment opportunities throughout the year by hosting camps, intensives, Master Classes and Workshops with nationally and internationally-known professional guest Teachers and Choreographers … some from esteemed dance training institutions such as Broadway Dance Center, and American Ballet Theater. We believe that collaboration with other reputable studios and dance experts – in our area and beyond- that share our values of kindness and integrity, only enhances the training opportunities and experiences for our students! That’s why we seek out positive partnerships locally, as well as bring in dance professionals from outside of Grants Pass for focused workshops, etc.
4. Our Customer Service– Desk staff are available during most afternoon class times to provide assistance. Questions that are not urgent are answered within 48 hours via our website contact form/email or phone. Instructors are happy to take time after class to answer questions and give our parents and students the attention they deserve. We love to have prospective students and their parents visit us. You are always welcome to sit and watch from our designated viewing areas! We also offer one free complimentary class to any prospective student.
5. Our Annual Dance Concerts (Performance), Select Youth Performance Companies AND Professional Contemporary Dance Company– We host two dance productions each year, both held at the Grants Pass Performing Arts Center. In February, “Dance Variations” features our youth performance/competition groups – with Guest Artists – as well as our resident professional contemporary dance company, Southern Oregon Dance Collective. Regular SODC dance students are given a free admission to this show!
Then, each June we produce a 2-3 day performance (“Celebrate Dance!”) featuring all of our talented SODC students! Each dance class participates in the concert on stage and also in a professional photo shoot the Saturday prior to the show. Your child gets to be a star for the evening, complete with professional stage lighting, sound, props and backdrops! SODC does not charge an extra “RECITAL” or PERFORMANCE FEE to be included in shows, nor do we charge exorbitant flat rate costume fees per class, but rather keep costume costs to a minimum, typically $30-50 ( or less!) per class.
In addition to our annual concerts, the studio houses three Youth Performance Companies that participate in extra performance opportunities, as well as compete, across the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Kids Company (ages 8-11)… Intermediate Production (11-13) and Advanced Production (14-18) are known in the PNW for their numerous awards and High Score placement in regional and National rankings. Through the years, as mentioned earlier, our performance groups, studio and staff have been featured in numerous Dance and regional magazine articles highlighting excellence in instruction and performance. Notably, in the Rogue Valley, we have been called, “Southern Oregon’s experts in Contemporary (jazz) dance….” by SO Dance News.
Selection for each of our performance groups is by audition each June (for audition info, please email us).
6. A Little Bit More– At SODC, not only do we showcase the talent, work and progress of our dancers at two annual concerts held at the Grants Pass Performing Arts Center each year, we also offer a multitude of extra fun and enriching opportunities for our students! Some of these include: summer dance camp sessions, being in our SODC Boatnik Parade entry with us, extra community performances, in-house family presentations, performance & competition groups, dance conventions and more.
Finally, giving our students a consistent, kind, uplifting, positive dance experience has always been our first priority at Southern Oregon Dance Center. We are a local, family-owned dance studio with three decades of positive community history, experience and reputation in Grants Pass (first as All That Jazz Dance Studio, and now as SODC) – we are not a 501c3 entity. Being a family-owned small business has proven to be the best model for us because we have been able to make decisions independently -even during confusing times for our nation- that we feel are the right ones for our particular local students and families. Through the decades, and at times with the help of other benevolent local business partnerships, we have also been able to offer special programs, scholarships, work study opportunities, gifting of our time, resources and dance space to our students and community, just because that is who we are and how we choose to serve.
How Can Dance & Movement Arts Benefit My Child?
Becoming an artist, involves more than talent, desire and discipline. Quality instruction and proper technique with solid structure is needed to create a firm foundation for mastery. Arts education (specifically in Dance and Music) has shown to increase math and special skill and abilities in children.
We strongly believe that everyone’s life will be enriched by an education in dance. Dance is unique in its fusion of musicality, athleticism and performance expression. Our wish is that our family oriented, positive environment helps to build self-esteem, friendships with other dancers and an enriched appreciation for dance and the arts.
We believe that every child has a “dancer” inside of them. Expression through movement is something that we all innately recognize and resonate with, whether we study dance or not. All children – both girls and boys – begin responding to music and rhythm, and expressing themselves through movement at a very young age. Some even before they can walk or talk. Dance is as natural as breathing, eating, speaking. If you are looking for a multi-faceted Contemporary dance school for your child, Southern Oregon Dance Center is the place!