COCA provides meaningful arts experiences to people of all ages and skill levels, from enthusiastic amateurs to emerging professionals.

We offer classes in art & design, dance, early childhood, fitness, theatre, and voice. Our classes are taught by our faculty who are distinguished arts educators in their fields.

COCA is the fourth largest multidisciplinary community arts center in the U.S. and a leader in innovative arts education. COCA is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Precollegiate Arts Schools (ACCPAS)—Missouri’s only ACCPAS-accredited school.

Student Handbook

COCA’s Student Handbook outlines our policies and procedures to ensure that all students and their parents will experience a positive, healthy and educationally productive atmosphere. Explore our student handbook for dance dress code, attendance, make-up class, tardiness, etiquette, and safety and security information.

Student Handbook

Dance Dress Code

  • All dancers are responsible for dressing according to the correct dress codes for their discipline and class level.
  • Students are encouraged to arrive and leave the studio wearing their dance attire. We recommended wearing street clothes over dance clothes when entering and exiting the building.
  • Dance shoes must only be worn in the dance studios and never outside. Hip-hop students should have a separate pair of sneakers that are never worn outside.
  • If a student does not have the appropriate shoes, the front desk personnel will try to find shoes from the donated supply. These shoes must be returned at the end of class.
  • For the student’s own safety, large jewelry is not permitted in class.
  • If the dancer does not have the correct attire, they must obtain permission from the instructor to participate or observe the class that day.

Dance Dress Code

Missed/Canceled Classes

In the Event of Closure

In the event of closures, to protect public health, COCA has pre-recorded classes and created an online curriculum and infrastructure that will be immediately available to protect the continuity of your instruction. In the event that COCA experiences a closure, students will receive access to a website with content for their class within 24-hours.

Classes will continue in a virtual format as long as necessary to ensure that all students have a full semester of classes. Pointe students will receive instruction in ballet technique only, as they are not able to safely work on pointe from home.

Make-up Policy

All make-up classes will be held online using either existing live online sessions or pre-recorded options. Specific make-up assignments can be accessed by contacting COCA Patron Services at Please have the date and class title of the course that will be missed.


  • Prompt attendance is important for full warmup and curriculum. If a dance student arrives more than 15 minutes late, they are only allowed to observe their class.
  • If a student arrives more than 15 minutes late and has another dance class following, the student is allowed to warmup and join his or her next class, as some, but not all, classes use the previous class as a warmup.


  • Talking in class should be kept to a minimum.
  • Hanging on the barres is not permitted at any time.
  • Street shoes are not allowed on the marley floors.
  • Gum and candy are not allowed in class.
  • Food and beverages are not allowed in the studios, theatre, dressing rooms or bathrooms, with the exception of closed water bottles.
  • All students are expected to pick up after themselves before leaving a studio.
  • Pianos are respected at all times. They are not to be played without permission and students should never place any items upon them.
  • The faculty and accompanist must be treated with respect at all times.
  • If a student does not adhere to this general classroom etiquette, the teacher has the right to remove the student from class.

Safety and Security

The safety and health of our patrons, staff, faculty, and family members is of the utmost importance. Please view COCA’s Health & Safety Procedures.

  • All students must be picked up promptly at the end of class or rehearsal by a parent or guardian. Children are under supervision during their instruction time only; faculty and staff are not responsible for supervising children outside of teaching time. No child will be allowed to wait outside or leave the building without a parent or guardian.
  • In case of emergency, please notify the Patron Services Desk at 314.725.6555.
Educational Approach

At COCA, we place great emphasis on the student-teacher relationship and value a process-based approach in the studio. COCA’s more than 200 teaching artists are highly qualified in their fields, having professional experience in their art forms and a depth of teaching expertise. Our goal is to inspire students to develop not only skills in the arts, but also the artistic process of an artist and the new ways of thinking that quality arts experiences provide.

COCA’s educational approach is rooted in Studio Habits of Mind, a framework developed by a research team from Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. This framework helps to define quality teaching and learning across disciplines, sites and programs, and provides a common language for COCA staff, faculty, students and the community.

Studio Habits of Mind from Studio Thinking, Hetland, Winner, et al, Teachers College Press, 2007.

8 Studio Habits of Mind

Class Sponsors

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COCA holds national accreditation from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Pre-collegiate Arts Schools, making COCA only one of 17 institutions accredited nationally for non-degree instruction in the arts, and the only one in the state of Missouri.