What is a Checkout?

This week is Checkout Week here at Fred Astaire Morristown, and while some of us are very excited, many may also be wondering….what exactly is a “Checkout?”

Simply put, a Checkout is a review given to advance, or “graduate” a student from one level of a dance program to the next.

You might be surprised to learn that there are many different levels of accomplishment that a student can achieve with his or her dancing.  In order to better understand Checkouts, it is helpful to start with a solid understanding of the Fred Astaire Trophy System.

In an academic setting, students begin learning in preschool and proceed through grade school, middle school, high school and even college.

In the same way, in dancing, students at Fred Astaire begin learning to dance in an Introductory Lesson, followed by our Beginner Program.  They then proceed through Social Foundations to Bronze, Silver, and even Gold.

Every student aspires to meet benchmarks, make certain accomplishments & see results from his or her dancing endeavors. A student’s dance program contains a chart that serves as a road map to ensure the student is on track and progressing appropriately. “Progress checks” & “checkouts” are then scheduled throughout dance courses, serving as checkpoints along the way. This will ensure that each student is experiencing the fulfillment of a complete dance journey and heading in the desired direction.

In this way, the Trophy System gives the student the opportunity to learn to dance at a thoughtfully-selected level of accomplishment. This process also guarantees that the program is meeting the student’s needs and abilities while also reflecting his or her individuality and tastes.

Checkouts are conducted by our studio’s very own Gaby, our studio director, who is friendly and supportive but also a former champion and certified examiner. She is well-versed in Fred Astaire systems, familiar with the specified dance requirements for each different type of checkout, and experienced with necessary procedures.

Depending on the checkout, your instructor has planned for you, you’ll demonstrate your dancing skills in two different ways:
Solo, dancing the steps on your own,
and Freestyle, danced “full out” with your instructor.

For example, a student completing a Preliminary Bronze Standard checkout will dance step 1 in each dance solo, followed by two steps in each dance.

The objective aspects of dance include elements you may learn in your classes such as proper posture, footwork, coordination and technique.  These elements are the details your examiner is looking for during the Solo portion of your checkout.

Dance is also subjective, so the Freestyle aspect of your checkout is your opportunity to put feeling into the steps, move to the music, show your confidence, and express yourself and your personal style!

So, what are you waiting for?  Talk to your teacher now to schedule your checkout.  Perhaps soon you’ll find yourself with a diploma in hand at Fred Astaire New Jersey’s Annual Trophy Ball!