Student Handbook

St. Mary's Dance Academy

Student  Handbook 2018-19



Phone: 301-994-1011


 LATE FEES:  I have been very lenient with late fees in the past, but unfortunately I cannot afford to be any longer.   If the payment is received after the 8th of the month, a $10.00 late fee will be charged. Any payments received after the 14th are automatically charged the late fee.  If payment is not received by the 30th an additional $10.00 dollar late fee will be charged ($20.00 total).  Each addition month is an additional $20.00.   If you have an emergency situation, please contact Ms. Joanie directly by email at


You can change and/or add classes anytime until costumes are ordered.  If you change and your costume is already ordered you will not be reimbursed for the cost of the costume.  If you add and it is possible to order a costume, you can do so and pay the additional shipping charge.

Welcome to St. Mary’s Dance Academy, Inc.  Our primary goal is to try to provide students the opportunity to learn in a positive, fun, family oriented environment.  We offer classes for ages 2 – Adult.  Our classes include:  ballet, modern, tap, jazz, musical theatre, creative movement, hip hop, mommy and me, and cheer with a focus on dance.  

Dance is a commitment and can be costly.  We offer fundraising opportunities for those interested.  The profits from fundraisers goes directly to the participants, the studio does not take any percentage.
If you have a group of students, for example:  homeschoolers, or a group of middle school age students wanting to do hip hop, we will try to accommodate you and make a class/time convenient for you.  

There will be a recital sometime in June.  Two year old creative movement classes and mommy and me classes do not participate in the recital.  

It is the parent’s responsibility to check the website monthly for updated newsletters.  We try to send newsletters home with students but sometimes they get misplaced before the student leaves and never make it out the door.  We have an information wall in the lobby, so if in doubt, check it often.  The biggest complaint we get is “I drop my child off so I don’t know what is going on.” It is your responsibility to check the wall.
How to Contact Us
Joanie  Farrar – Director
Phone:  301-994-1011


Studio Website

Studio Phone  301-994-1011

Visit us on facebook

There is an information wall in the lobby – this is your main form of communication.  You cannot miss it – it is the huge white wall behind the chairs.  It is the parent’s responsibility to check the wall.  It will contain costume, recital, picture info and more.  

Newsletters will be sent out periodically, they can also be found on the information wall.

Each class will be asking for a class parent(s).  If you are interested in being a class parent, please inform the instructor.  The main purpose of the class parent is to get communication to other parents/students.  The instructor will relay info to the class parent, who will then email their class with the information. This is most important when a class needs to be cancelled. It is everyone’s responsibility to be sure they have the correct email(s) on file, and they check their email.  We ask that parents do not ask instructors questions between classes, as it holds up the next class.  If you have a question please email the studio and we will try to get an answer to you as soon as possible.  

WAIVER AND RELEASE OF CLAIMS (signed on registration for).   This is signed on the registration form when registering at St. Mary’s Dance Academy:Parent/Guardian and dancer recognize there is a risk of injury in any type of dance/sport program.  Parent/Guardian acknowledges that the student is participating upon his/her express agreement that injury may occur and agrees to release St. Mary’s Dance Academy Inc., its employees, directors, volunteers from any and all liability relating to any accident.  St. Mary’s Dance Academy Inc. does not carry medical insurance for students.  All students are required to be covered by their own family health insurance in the event of sickness or an injury.  As the parent/guardian/student, I accept the financial responsibility for treatment of the student should the need arise during any and all St. Mary’s Dance Academy Inc. programs.  I agree not to hold St. Mary’s Dance Academy Inc., and any assigned representative financially responsible for the care or treatment that may be needed.  I hereby waive and absolve St. Mary’s Dance Academy, Inc. of any liability and responsibility for injuries, damages, or losses incurred during participation of any and all programs, activities, events associated with St. Mary’s Dance Academy, Inc. by myself and/or child.


Students may try any class for free.

There will be a $10.00 late fee for any tuition that is more than 7 days late.  No exceptions.  In the past I have let this slide.  If you cannot attend class you can mail the payment.  See tuition (page 4).

Please use restroom before class – especially pre-school.

No Gum is permitted in the studio.

No jeans or jean shorts.

No loose jewelry.

Only water is allowed in dance rooms.

Students should not enter a dance room until the instructor has called them in.

No hanging on ballet barres.  No touching mirrors or curtains.

No banging on doors.

Hair should be pulled back when possible – examples:  half up half down, ponytail, braid or bun.  

Parents must come inside lobby area to pick up students under 16.

*** We suggest you take advantage of fundraising opportunities to offset these costs (see FUNDRAISERS pg.  7).  


We are accepting credit cards this year beginning Oct 1st.  There will be a 3.50 processing fee added onto tuition for credit card payment.

It is preferred that payments be mailed to St. Mary’s Dance Academy, P.O. Box 314, Valley Lee MD 20692.  Online banking and automatic billpay, allows users the option to mail their monthly payments on a specific day directly from their bank account. All banks offer this service and this way you don’t have to worry about late fees, as your payment is mailed directly to the studio every month on the designated day selected by you.  

Please be sure when paying by check that the students name is on the check somewhere, especially if student has a different last name than the signature on check.  
For those paying at the studio, if paying by check please put student’s name on memo line.

When paying with cash – Be sure to get a receipt!
                                                                                                                                                                                  Page 4
Tuition is due by the 7th of each month.  There will be a $10.00 late fee on payments that are more than 7 days late.  Any payments after the 14th are automatically charged the late fee.  If payment is not received by the 30th an additional $10.00 dollar late fee will be charged ($20.00 total).  Each additional month is an additional $20.00.   If you have an emergency situation, please contact Ms. Joanie directly by email at   If the student is absent, the payment can be dropped off at the studio before the 7th or mailed to St. Mary’s Dance Academy, P.O. Box 314, Valley Lee MD 20692.  If tuition is due on a holiday or when the studio is closed, it may be paid at the next scheduled class time.  Each month the tuition is late another 10.00 late fee will apply.  After two months, the payment must be paid in full with the 40.00 late fee, or the student will not be allowed to attend class or participate in the recital.  

**All fees paid including; costumes, recital fees, etc. are non-refundable.   


There is a registration fee due for the 2018-19 year.  Registration fees expire in August, no matter what month you register.  There is no registration fee for summer classes.  The registration fee for 2018-19 is 25.00 for returning students/35.00 family, and 30.00 for new students/40.00 family.  
** Registration fees are non-refundable.                                             


Returned checks will be issued a 30.00 fee.

Each class will need to buy a costume for the recital.  The appropriate shoes must also be worn/purchased for recital.   Costume fees are non-refundable.  The studio tries to keep costs down and does not add additional costs to costumes.  Costumes usually range between 75.00 – 120.00 per class, but some may be more. Instructors will measure students for costumes, and then the parents will verify measurements and make final decision on size.  Remember – too big can be taken in, too small can’t.   A 25.00 non-refundable costume deposit will be required by October 31st. Costume fees will be due in full by January 15th. This is mainly to ensure they arrive in time for pictures.  I know this is hard with the holidays, but last year we tried paying later, and ordering after January and many costumes arrived just in time for the recital.  Costume fees must be written to Joanie Farrar, as they go on my personal credit card when purchasing.   Fundraiser money can be used to pay for costumes (see Fundraisers pg. 7).  If a costume is ordered late, it is your responsibility to pay the shipping and handling charge.  Once a costume is ordered it cannot be cancelled and is non-refundable.


There is a particular color/brand of tights students wear for recital.  Most classes will have the same color/brand, as it looks better in pictures and helps the videographer when focusing his camera.  Tights will be decided after costumes are selected.  Tights should be purchased through the studio, so that everyone has the same color.  We usually get a discount when ordering in bulk.  


There will be a recital fee due by April 1st.  The amount of the recital fee is still to be determined, as it depends on several factors:  cost of school rental, DJ, programs, trophies, t-shirts, lighting technician,  maintenance crew, etc.  Each student will receive a trophy and t-shirt and an allocated number of tickets, yet to be determined.  Additional tickets can be purchased.  


Anyone interested in participating in fundraisers may sign up on the sheet on the information wall at the beginning of the year, or anytime throughout the year.  The studio does not participate in fundraisers, and
takes no money/percentage from the fundraiser.  Fundraisers are allowed to use the studio name.  For example, Joe Corbi’s Pizza pays each participant approximately 5.00 for each item sold.  This money goes directly to the parent.  Parents may use this money to offset any costs; tuition, costumes, recital fees, pictures etc.   Anyone interested in chairing a fundraiser please let Joanie know, and she will do whatever is necessary from the studio’s end.  


PICTURES of each class will be taken sometime in May.  Classic photography will be taking the pictures. This is done as a courtesy to our students/parents who wish to purchase pictures.  You do not have to purchase pictures, but it is hoped students will attend the photo shoot to at least have their photograph taken for the group photo.  Pictures are usually taken during or close to regular class time.  We try to pick a month that has five weeks in it, so students are still dancing four weeks out of the month.  

VIDEOS During the recital there will be no videotaping, cellphone use, or cameras with flash allowed in the auditorium.  During dress rehearsal you may videotape and/or take pictures.  Please remember the videographer not only films the recital,
but also must edit the video.  This takes time.  We try to find quality videographers that are reasonably priced.



We carry a limited supply of pink ballet and black tap shoes.

It is suggested combo classes get a dance bag.  This makes it easier to ensure the right shoes go home. When possible put name inside dance shoes.


Ballet/Jazz/Modern/Musical Theatre/Creative Movement:  
Girls:  Leotards, tights, tutus, leggings, anything that the student can move freely in – any color.

Cheer/Hip Hop/Tap:
Girls:  Any clothing that allows the student to move freely.  Be sure pants are not too long.  

Boys: All dance styles – boys can wear any clothing that allows them to move freely.  


Ballet Slippers required for recital:
Girls:  Pink  leather  Boys:  Black leather
*** No fabric shoes/slippers – the heels come off when dancing and the soles are slippery.   Any color ballet shoes may be worn to practice in class, pink is needed for recital for girls and black for boys.                                                                                                              


Barefoot – instructor may want foot paws

Musical theatre/jazz:
Check with instructor

Cheer/Hip Hop:
Tennis shoes – any color to practice – specific shoes may be needed for recital.

Tap – preschool – black is required for recital.
Any color may be worn to practice in class.
Tap – all other groups
check with instructor – depends on class level/age.


When possible please have hair away from face.  Bun, half up/half down, braid, or ponytail is acceptable.  


We hope everyone will try to attend class regularly.  If classes are missed it can affect the performance and hold the rest of the class behind.  It can be embarrassing for the student when they get on stage and the other students know the dance routine and they have no idea what they are supposed to be doing.   

We understand sometimes there are circumstances that warrant an absence.  If the student has an injury, or is ill, has a fever, pink-eye, lice or anything contagious, please keep them home.  

If the student needs to leave early during class, please inform the instructor, or tap on door and explain they need to leave.  

VERY IMPORTANT - There is no tuition reimbursement for missed classes.  

When a class is missed, most (not all) classes have another class that can be used as a make-up on another day/time.  Check with the instructor.  This must be done within a month of the absence.   All pre-school classes have classes available for a make-up on another day/time.  


Two weeks notice must be given when withdrawing from a class.  Not showing up for class is not the same as withdrawing from class.  You will be charged tuition and late fees until you withdraw in writing.  Withdraws should be emailed to or mailed to St. Mary’s Dance Academy, P.O. Box 314, Valley Lee MD 20692.  It is your responsibility to put the withdrawal in writing and get acknowledgement that your withdrawal was received.  If a student withdraws in the beginning of a month the full tuition is still due for the month.  Withdraws have to be received by the 15th of the month in order for the student not to be responsible for the tuition for the following month.  All fees paid to date, example recital fee, costumes, etc. are non-refundable.  


The studio will follow the St. Mary’s County public school system for inclement weather.  If schools are closed the studio will be closed.  If the weather was bad in the morning and then becomes clear, the instructor will make the call if there is to be class or not.  If you don’t hear anything there is no class.  The best way to know is to stay in touch with your room mom and check emails.  Also, we will keep the facebook page updated.  We can’t always get the web page updated in time.  Classes cancelled for inclement weather will be given the opportunity to make-up by attending a different class or by extending class time.  


We do not close for every holiday or when schools are closed.  If we are closed for a holiday it will be on the web page, facebook and posted in the lobby.  We will be closed for Halloween, Thanksgiving Day, the day after Thanksgiving, the week of Christmas Eve – New Year’s Day, and Memorial Day.
If you know you will not be in class when the studio is open on a holiday, please let the instructor know, as the instructor may want to cancel class and do a make-up on another day or extend the class time.  


A lost and found box is kept in the office.  If you have lost anything please ask the office worker to check the box for you.  


Private lessons are available at an extra charge.  Arrangements can be made by contacting the studio for those who have missed classes, need extra-help, or want to learn something extra.  

If you are interested in having the student perform in a solo, duo, trio or small group for the recital, special event (wedding, talent show, etc.) please contact the studio for pricing and to arrange scheduling.  The earlier the better, since the student will have more time to practice.  Prices are different depending on instructor and the number of students. There is a $50 sign on fee per student (per routine) for solos/duos/trios that goes to the studio to help pay the electric. Remember the earlier you start, the more practices you can arrange.  

A great gift idea for a student is to pay for a solo, duo, trio or small group. The more students in the group the cheaper the cost per person.  


We have several styles of sweatshirts at different prices, and jackets are also available.   We will have one or two opportunities  for students/parents to place an order before the holidays, as they make great gifts.   

Jackets can be ordered anytime by simply going to the website and placing your own order.  Printed Items cannot be returned.


The bulletin board in the lobby can be used to post any ads, business cards etc. that you have.  For example if you are having a yard sale you may post a flyer on the board.  If you need a sitter you can post it on the board, etc.  

Anyone interested in selling old items such as shoes, tutus etc., items do not have to be dance related – feel free to post ads on the bulletin board.

If you are looking for a particular item, you can post that on the board.


Several classes will have a student assistant.  Student assistants must be in middle or high school.  Student assistants get community service hours for helping during the class. There is a form available in the office for those wishing to assist.  Unfortunately, we cannot use everyone who submits a form, usually due to scheduling conflicts.   Student assistants get 10.00 off their monthly tuition.