Keys to Choosing the Right Dance Studio for your Child

If your child loves to move to music, enrolling them in a dance class seems like a great idea. However, with so many studios to choose from, it can be daunting to decide which studio is the best fit. Below are a few things to help you narrow your search.


Obviously, choosing a studio close to your home is helpful, especially if your child would like to take more than one dance class per week. If there is more than one dance studio in your neighborhood, how do you know which would be the best fit for your child?

A few questions to ask are:

  • Do you see your child pursuing dance professionally or recreationally?
  • Is the studio competitive or promote competition teams?
  • Are the instructors professional and educated?
  • Are there performance opportunities?
  • Does the studio offer drop-in classes or full semester packages?

Professional versus Recreational track

Children who are interested in pursuing dance professionally will need to dance several days per week. This requires a financial and time commitment from parents. To give you an idea, as a former professional dancer, by the time I was in high school, I took 13+ classes per week.

However, if your child wants to learn to dance for fun and fitness, once a week is fine. As I mentioned in other articles, dance has many benefits including physical/mental well-being, creative/self-expression, body positivity, and helps develop healthy lifestyle choices.

Competitive versus Non-competitive Environment

Dance competitions are very popular and I do believe there is a healthy way for children to participate in competitive dance. I competed as a child and have also judged dance competitions. I have also seen the best and the worst of the dance competition world. Stay tuned for my blog on Dance Competitions.

Here is my advice for competitive dance parents:

  • Choose a studio that’s focused on professional training, meaning the children are taking quality dance lessons, not just running competition routines.
  • The atmosphere at the studio should be upbeat and supportive. No exceptions! If there is a lot of drama amongst the instructors, students or parents, leave!
  • Save your money and choose one or two competitions to participate in. Also, limit the number of dance routines your child performs in.
  • If your child is considering a professional career, go to the competitions and conventions where they could perform for industry professionals.
  • Lastly, you do not have to compete in dance competitions to become a professional dancer!

Most studios offer a non-competitive, recreational dance track. The key here is to find the right class and teacher for your child. Sometimes studios put inexperienced teachers on these classes. My advice is to make sure the studio has a professionally trained teacher on all classes, regardless of the track. A non-competitive environment suits many sensitive, young artists and creates a space where all children can thrive.


When looking for a dance instructor, education, experience, and training are essential ingredients. Things to look for are certifications from accredited dance programs, college degrees, and professional dance experience. Theatrical unions, such as Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA demonstrate that the instructor has performed in professional venues.

Performance Opportunities

Most studios offer performance opportunities such as dance recitals, competition teams as mentioned above, and showcases. Two things to consider are time and money. Performances require additional rehearsals for the children as well as costume fees and new dance shoes. I know some parents do not want to participate in performances, so for many reasons, it’s optional at my studio.


Recently, I received a YouTube question regarding how to correct the injuries associated with arabesque. I am posting my response here as well.

I think, unfortunately, the problems associated with arabesque are not so much a correction issue, but rather an overuse injury. The movements needed to execute arabesque are not therapeutic in nature. Therefore, we need to cross train to alleviate some of the negative impact of the movement. The same problems occur with the Yoga pose called “Dancer/Natarajasana.”

What I would suggest to counteract the repetitive wear and tear of performing an arabesque would be to stretch and strengthen the opposing muscle groups.

To execute the arabesque we must extend the trunk at the spinal joints, anteriorly tilt the pelvis, externally rotate the thigh at the hip joint, and rotate the trunk at the spinal joints.

Rotation of the trunk, especially combined with posterior or anterior tilt can cause irritation to spinal discs. Therefore, if you are in acute pain avoid rotation of the spine.

Here are some exercises you may try to stretch and strengthen these areas. 

• My first suggestion is to take a break from turn out and work in parallel sometimes. For instance, practice arabesque in a parallel position with a long back. This position elongates and strengthens the muscles of the trunk. Warrior Three Pose 

• Lie on your back and bring the knees to the chest. This puts the spine in a posterior tilt and stretches the lower back. Apanasana Pose

• To stretch the external rotators of the thigh/hip, in the same back lying position place your right foot on your left knee, grab the back of your left thigh, and gently pull the left leg back toward your chest. Eye of The Needle Pose

• Strengthening the back extensor muscles can help. Simply lie in a prone position and gently lift the chest off the ground. Cobra Pose

• Strengthening and stabilizing the abdominal muscles will also help. The Dying Bug and Sunbird exercises work well for abdominal strengthening and spinal stabilization.

For more therapeutic stretches see my book Yoga Practice Essentials

I hope that helps!

Reiki Energy Cleansing Techniques

Joshin Kokyu-Ho: Reiki Cleansing Breath:

The translation in English is “the breathing method for cleansing the spirit.”

  • Sit in a comfortable seated position with your spine erect
  • Slowly, inhale through your nose.
  • Imagine that you are breathing in Reiki energy along with the air.
  • Visualize and feel the Reiki energy entering your Crown Chakra and moving throughout your body.
  • Let your breath flow down below your navel and into your Second Chakra.
  • It is common to experience a warm, energetic sensation as the Reiki enters your energy field.

The Reiki Shower Technique:

  • You may use this technique anytime to cleanse your energy and connect to Reiki.
  • To begin, sit or stand in a comfortable position.
  • Place your hands in the Gassho position.
  • Breathe calmly and deeply.
  • Set the intention to cleanse your energetic field, body, mind, and soul with Reiki energy.
  • Raise your arms over your head with the palms of your hands facing each other about 12 inches apart.
  • Connect to Reiki and let the energy flow and intensify between your hands.
  • Turn your palms downward to face the top of your head.
  • Visualize Reiki radiating out of your hands and set the intention to receive a shower of Reiki.
  • Let the Reiki shower flow over and cleanse your entire body and energetic field.
  • After a few moments of letting the Reiki energy flow through your body from above, move your hands downward with your palms facing your body.
  • Keep your hands approximately 12 inches from your body.
  • Slowly, move your hands downwards in front of your face and continue all the way down your body to your feet.
  • You may bend your knees to either touch the floor to ground the energy or gently shake your hands to release any negative energy.
  • You may repeat this exercise a few times as needed.
  • Finish the exercise by placing your hands in the Gassho position and express gratitude for the Reiki healing energy.

Kenyoku-ho: Dry Bathing

  1. Bring your right hand to your left shoulder. Breathe in calmly and draw your right hand down to your right hip making a diagonal line. Perform this movement with energy and vocalize a “Haah sound” as you breathe out.
  2. Repeat this exercise on the other side, with your left hand on your right shoulder and draw it down toward your left hip exhaling with energy.
  3. Once again, bring your right hand to your left shoulder and draw your right hand down to your right hip making a diagonal line.
  4. Lift your left arm out in front of you, parallel to the floor.
  5. Breathing in, place your right hand on your left shoulder.
  6. Breathing out, draw your right hand down your left arm and fingertips, while exhaling with energy.
  7. Lift your right arm out in front of you, parallel to the floor.
  8. Breathing in, place your left hand on your right shoulder.
  9. Breathing out, draw your left hand down your right arm and fingertips, while exhaling with energy.
  10. Complete the exercise by once again lifting your left arm.
  11. Breathing in, draw your right hand down your left arm and fingertips, while exhaling with energy.

*(In Japan the there is a superstition regarding the number four, which is the same word for death. Based on this reason, the exercise is performed 3 times.)

Hatsurei-ho Technique

This technique combines three separate practices called kenyoku-ho (dry bathing), joshin kokyu-ho, and seishin toitsu.

  • Kihon Shisei: Standard Posture or Basic position

Sit comfortably in a seated position with your spine erect and palms facing downwards on your thighs. Close your eyes and focus on the tanden point below your navel.  Breathe deeply. Affirm you are beginning Hatsurei-ho.

  • Kenyoku -ho: Dry Bathing
  • Connect to Reiki
  • Joshin Kokyu-Ho: Spiritual Cleansing breath
  • Gassho: Place your hands in the prayer position in front of your heart chakra.
  • Seishin Toitsu: Concentration

With your hands in the Gassho position, breathe calmly through your nose, breathe in the Reiki energy, and let Reiki heal your whole being. You may keep your eyes open or closed.

Next, focus your breath and energy on your hands and visualize Reiki flowing into your heart chakra. Let the Reiki circulate throughout your body and energetic field. You may visualize Reiki as white light energy. As you exhale, visualize Reiki energy healing all living beings, the planet, and the universe.


  • Gokai Sansho: Chant

Traditionally, Miko Usui would have students recite the five Reiki principles.

  • Mokunen: Silent prayer

To finish, place your hands on your thighs and affirm that Hatsurei-ho is complete.

History of Reiki

Mikao Usui

The founder of Reiki is Mikao Usui. He was born on August 15, 1865, in Taniai, a village in the district of Gifu prefecture. Most of the information written about him is on the memorial stone erected by his students in 1927. The authors of the Usui Memorial are Juzaburo Ushida and Masayuki Okada.

A summary of his biography:

  • He was married and had a son and daughter.
  • His interests included medicine, psychology, fortune-telling, and religion.
  • He had many changes in his career. At a certain point, he encountered obstacles.
  • One day, he embarked on a 21-day retreat to fast and meditate on Mount Kurama near Kyoto.
  • During this time, he experienced a sense of inner awakening, or great Reiki sensation above his head, which led to the development of the Reiki spiritual healing method.
  • Usui tried Reiki on himself and his family and found it helped heal ailments.
  • In April 1922, he opened a clinic in Harajuku, Aoyama, Tokyo.
  • Usui later created the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, an organization of Reiki practitioners, to provide Reiki treatments. 
  • He passed away in 1926.
  • He encouraged his student, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, to continue the practice of Reiki.

Dr. Chujiro Hayashi

Dr. Chujiro Hayashi was born in Tokyo on September 15, 1880. He was a medical doctor and a Japanese Navy officer. He developed Reiki techniques utilizing his knowledge of medicine and further developed hands-on healing techniques. Later, he opened a school and clinic. In time, he trained a Japanese American woman named Hawayo Takata, awarding her a certificate in Reiki Mastership. He helped her start a Reiki practice in Hawaii.

Hawayo Takata

Hawayo Takata was born on December 24, 1900, in Hawaii. She discovered Dr. Hayashi’s clinic while visiting her family in Japan. During her visit, she became ill and received treatment at Dr. Hayashi’s Reiki clinic to avoid surgery. The Reiki treatments provided healing for her illness. She subsequently convinced Dr. Hayashi to train her in Reiki. After receiving her Reiki Master training from Dr. Hayashi, she established a Reiki practice in Hawaii. Hawayo Takata trained 22 Reiki masters before she passed away in 1980. She and Dr. Hayashi had a significant impact on the practice of Reiki in the West.