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Robynb79

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Reply with quote  #1 
My daughter is 10 and takes approx 5 hours of ballet a week at our competitive dance studio. Until this year, she really enjoyed ballet, though she is more of a sassy jazz/hip hop kind of gal. She understands that ballet is super important. This year we have another new ballet teacher. We have always has classical ballet teachers. A gentleman from Cuba and another Russian lady who studied at Vagnova in Russia. Both were very strict and had high expectations. This new ballet teacher is also an "old school" Russian ballet teacher, but what makes her different, is that my daughter tells me that she is constantly hitting her on her legs, knees etc, and it hurts. I understand that corrections are needed, but I'm a bit troubled by the amount of hitting the teacher is using to get her point across. Is this normal and widely accepted? Do I tell my daughter to suck it up, or do I bring it to the director's attention.
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hitting so that it hurts is not normal. Hitting is different from touching or adjusting, both of which are not only normal and widely accepted but preferred and necessary. 

Is there a time when you can observe class and see what's happening yourself?
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #3 
Touching/tapping is normal.  "Hitting" though?  to the point where it hurts?  Not so much.
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Robynb79

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tendumom
Hitting so that it hurts is not normal. Hitting is different from touching or adjusting, both of which are not only normal and widely accepted but preferred and necessary. 

Is there a time when you can observe class and see what's happening yourself?


I have observed before, but she acts different when parents are there. According to the girls, when they are in class with her, she sits on the phone and will regularly take phone calls during class!! The previous teachers would rub or tap to correct, but not hit! Thank you!
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #5 
My dd (16) has a Russian teacher (trained at Vaganova, danced professionally there and then here) who is as tough as nails and is known to hit, with force, arms and legs that are not properly engaged/not in the proper position.  That said, I don't think I'd call it "normal"... we're not in Russia and it is not seen as acceptable by most here in the US.  But whether it is something that people are willing to accept will vary.  Fwiw it hasn't been a game changer for us.  But a 10 year old... coupled with the other behavior you describe?  I don't think I'd be willing to accept it if it were my child.
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oatmella

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Reply with quote  #6 
I am wondering if a teacher hitting with force is even legal?
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JojosDanceMom

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robynb79
I have observed before, but she acts different when parents are there. According to the girls, when they are in class with her, she sits on the phone and will regularly take phone calls during class!! The previous teachers would rub or tap to correct, but not hit! Thank you!


I think the fact that she acts differently when parents are in the room shows that she knows what she's doing is inappropriate.  DD had a teacher who would swat the leg, or knee, or wherever else requires corrections... but not so that it hurt.  She would do this if a parent was observing or not, because she knew there was no harm done.  No one ever complained about her tactics in that regard.  For her the comments were about how not so subtle her comments would be... but even those comments where said jokingly, because they adored her.  So, basically, if your DD's teacher is inflicting pain, but correcting that behavior when a parent is in the room, then not only is she wrong, but she knows she wrong... otherwise why change the behavior.  And taking phone calls in class is a huge no... especially if it's a regular thing.
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cynmckee

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Reply with quote  #8 
Not gonna lie, dd had been hit by Russian ballet teachers before (mostly men.)  I think she got a very hard slap to the core once that took the air out of her...but lots of slaps to the legs and arms, etc.  I think I would bring it up casually to the SO though....as in "Did you know that was happening?  I defer to your judgment as to whether that is something normal and useful, but just wanted you to know what is happening."
On the other hand, dd currently has a male Russian teacher that will come over and ask permission to put his hands on her.  She said that is way worse than just doing it.
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oatmella

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cynmckee
Not gonna lie, dd had been hit by Russian ballet teachers before (mostly men.)  I think she got a very hard slap to the core once that took the air out of her...but lots of slaps to the legs and arms, etc.  I think I would bring it up casually to the SO though....as in "Did you know that was happening?  I defer to your judgment as to whether that is something normal and useful, but just wanted you to know what is happening."
On the other hand, dd currently has a male Russian teacher that will come over and ask permission to put his hands on her.  She said that is way worse than just doing it.


A hard slap to the core that took the air out of her? That is not ok [frown]
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my2miracles

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oatmella
A hard slap to the core that took the air out of her? That is not ok [frown]


I totally agree.  Old school isn't always right.  This would NOT be acceptable to me.
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cynmckee

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oatmella
A hard slap to the core that took the air out of her? That is not ok [frown]


Ehh,  This was the director of Kirov at that time.  She didn't feel abused and she kept that core totally firm from then on...any slap would have bounced right off.

Need to say that there is no hitting at her current studio.
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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #12 
DD12 has dealt with this a little bit too.  I don't like it but she assures me not to worry about it and that her teacher isn't being mean so I let it go.  If you or DD are not comfortable maybe you need to say something.
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Beccasmom

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by my2miracles


I totally agree.  Old school isn't always right.  This would NOT be acceptable to me.


Oh, hell, no! I don't care who it was, no way they would not be hearing from me.
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tappinmom

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Reply with quote  #14 
Back in the dark ages (LOL)  when I danced I had a ballet mistress who was hard core.  When we were doing work across the floor she would follow along and if your leg wasn't high enough you cut hit with a pointer to get your leg up.  I loved her and never had a problem with it.

When DS was dancing his DT would hit them to get their legs up or force them to dance with a yardstick over their arms if they were sloppy.  Again he loved his DT and had no issue with it.
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sk8jdgca

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Reply with quote  #15 
I would sonehow have the class video taped. If she is hitting kids, spending time on the phone....she's not a good teacher.
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my2miracles

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tappinmom
Back in the dark ages (LOL)  when I danced I had a ballet mistress who was hard core.  When we were doing work across the floor she would follow along and if your leg wasn't high enough you cut hit with a pointer to get your leg up.  I loved her and never had a problem with it.

When DS was dancing his DT would hit them to get their legs up or force them to dance with a yardstick over their arms if they were sloppy.  Again he loved his DT and had no issue with it.


Very different that knocking the breath out of a child.
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tappinmom

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by my2miracles


Very different that knocking the breath out of a child.


Agreed.  Just stating my experiences.
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EJIDance

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Reply with quote  #18 
The hitting wouldn't bother me nearly as much as the other behaviors like taking phone calls or behaving differently in front of parents. DD9 used to struggle with posture in class. She got corrected with gentle pulls on the shoulders by several instructors. Then one rapped her between the shoulderblades hard enough for her to pull them back by reflex. Hasn't been a problem in class since. She will still slouch outside of the studio though.
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EJIDance
The hitting wouldn't bother me nearly as much as the other behaviors like taking phone calls or behaving differently in front of parents. DD9 used to struggle with posture in class. She got corrected with gentle pulls on the shoulders by several instructors. Then one rapped her between the shoulderblades hard enough for her to pull them back by reflex. Hasn't been a problem in class since. She will still slouch outside of the studio though.


Ha Ha, Got a kick out of that last line!
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PastrySugar

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Reply with quote  #20 
Is she very old? That is how tbey taught in Russia. I had one too in the 60's
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LeapYear0208

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Reply with quote  #21 
No hitting from our ballet teachers. My kiddo is younger but our two ballet teachers teach all of the kids, minis to srs. The do tap/touch/hold to help the dancer understand what their body needs to do or where it needs to be places, but I have never seen them use any sort of force besides grabbing a foot and turning it, etc. 
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hsealover

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Reply with quote  #22 
I know I'm kinda late to reply, but I would never allow this behavior. My DD is very mature and ever since a young age she handled this type of thing herself. If she was not comfortable she would politely tell the teacher. If it's bad enough that she would come to me, I would definitely do something about it. She doesn't mind it when a teacher adjusts her or gives her a tap, grabs her foot, etc. but she doesn't allow that type of thing to happen to her. I'm also put off by the fact that the teacher doesn't do it when class is observed. She would have to know that she's doing something wrong. I also don't like that she's answering phone calls on a regular basis. I think it's okay if it something important. Like a parent, or her employer. Most other times though, not okay. I would definitely consider telling your studio owner or director about this if you haven't already. Especially if you're able to get proof of this behavior.
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