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elace1

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Reply with quote  #1 
My DD 10 has been at her studio for 7 years. At 4 she was invited to audition for company and she started her first competition season right after her 5th birthday. In the last 2 years, she has expressed some unhappiness with her placements and has horrible anxiety around audition time. In past years, I chalked a lot of her unhappiness up to her desiring more or being impatient.

This year I stayed at the studio to watch auditions and I now understand her concern. She has been in the same level of secondary dances for 4 years with kids that have less dance experience. The auditions were eye opening. Only a small handful of kids knew what was going on. DD and one or two of her friends danced and the rest of the kids were trying to figure out what was going on.

DD now tells me she doesn’t feel challenged. She is bored a lot in class and hasn’t learned much new this year. She is incredibly loyal to her studio, teachers and her friends. She is even willing to sacrifice her dance education, thinking she will eventually get the instruction she needs. It is making me crazy spending the money I am, seeing her invest 20 hours a week...to see her hurt and frustrated. In the past when I have questioned things that concern me the advice the SO gave me was “trust the process.” I’m not sure how I can. Advice???

(I should also add we are not allowed to go to other studios for classes. And I did take her to a class over spring break that left her sweaty and challenged—I just didn’t tell anyone which I hate as well!)
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nyklane

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Reply with quote  #2 
What is your gut feel?  I get the sense that you might feel that she's not getting the instruction at the level she needs now.  But maybe you are not sure?  If you do have a relationship with the SO, perhaps ask for a private lesson and stay to understand what your DD (from their viewpoint) needs to work on to move in to the higher level of dances - or what she needs to improve on in general.  And then make your decision.   Which classes / teachers does the SO suggest to get those skills?  Almost like a interview to see if the studio is a right fit for your daughter at this age.  Perhaps it was right for her when she was younger, but the program now doesn't satisfy your needs.  Could be.

Are there other studios that may be a good fit for your DD in the area?  Why not go also interview them to see what level or types of classes she would fit into at the other studios to make sure you know what you'd be leaving for.  Some studios don't allow you to participate on the comp teams the first year you dance with them, others are very open to it.  Maybe also check out their polices and see what resonates with you.

I'd take the first step and have a more in-depth conversation with the studio owner, in the form of a lesson so that a baseline can be established with both of you - and then you can evaluate what happens there to see if you are agree or disagree.
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by elace1
The auditions were eye opening. Only a small handful of kids knew what was going on. DD and one or two of her friends danced and the rest of the kids were trying to figure out what was going on.


I've seen confusion around auditions, but usually "administrative" things like how many will be called in at once, what will call-backs look like (if they exist), how many slots are available, even what are we auditioning for exactly.

But in the room itself (generally parents are not allowed, but I've been in there)?  Straight-forward tasks, explanations, a good demo.  Some kids knew the basic moves before-hand, but generally things were simple enough that everyone was able to "keep up."

If kids were confused as to what they should be doing during the actual audition, that's a bit of a red flag to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elace1

DD now tells me she doesn’t feel challenged. She is bored a lot in class and hasn’t learned much new this year.


I could go either way here.  Dance class should be challenging ... but then again, it's not all about learning some exciting new leap or move.  If a dancer isn't giving there best at all times, even for the "boring" stuff, then yes, I can see where she might not necessarily be moved up or placed at the higher levels.  So from a distance, this is a tough nut to crack.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elace1

In the past when I have questioned things that concern me the advice the SO gave me was “trust the process.” I’m not sure how I can. Advice???


I'm a fan of "trust but verify." Does the SO have a good track record of getting dancers to where your particular dancer wants to be? Is there a reason why this process may or may not be suitable for your dancer? Dance - particularly ballet - can be an awfully slow boil.  Some trust is mandatory.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elace1

(I should also add we are not allowed to go to other studios for classes. And I did take her to a class over spring break that left her sweaty and challenged—I just didn’t tell anyone which I hate as well!)


Does your dancer not typically break a sweat in class?

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prancer

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Reply with quote  #4 
She started young, and they haven’t trained her well enough to advance. To me this is the failing of the studio. You could ask them about what she needs to do to advance, or you could just start shopping. But after 5 years on team, if they haven’t moved her up yet, I doubt they will. At our first studio (my dd started later) she was originally (and appropriately) on the second team. I assumed the dancers on the top team received Better training. When they moved my dd up to first team, I realized the training wasn’t any better. At our current studio our top and second teams can take class together. The best training is available to all. When dancers are ready, they are cast higher. Better more equal training that is worth your money is probably out there.
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elace1

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave9988


I've seen confusion around auditions, but usually "administrative" things like how many will be called in at once, what will call-backs look like (if they exist), how many slots are available, even what are we auditioning for exactly.

But in the room itself (generally parents are not allowed, but I've been in there)?  Straight-forward tasks, explanations, a good demo.  Some kids knew the basic moves before-hand, but generally things were simple enough that everyone was able to "keep up."

If kids were confused as to what they should be doing during the actual audition, that's a bit of a red flag to me.



I could go either way here.  Dance class should be challenging ... but then again, it's not all about learning some exciting new leap or move.  If a dancer isn't giving there best at all times, even for the "boring" stuff, then yes, I can see where she might not necessarily be moved up or placed at the higher levels.  So from a distance, this is a tough nut to crack.



I'm a fan of "trust but verify." Does the SO have a good track record of getting dancers to where your particular dancer wants to be? Is there a reason why this process may or may not be suitable for your dancer? Dance - particularly ballet - can be an awfully slow boil.  Some trust is mandatory.



Does your dancer not typically break a sweat in class?



She has actually expanded and added additional ballet classes this year in an attempt to become a better dancer. Typically there is no sweat. And it’s not that they neglect her...she’s often highlighted in the dances she is in with some pretty cool solo parts. She just doesn’t feel challenged. She is very determined to do her best so she can advance to more challenging things. Hence the frustration!
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elace1

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by prancer
She started young, and they haven’t trained her well enough to advance. To me this is the failing of the studio. You could ask them about what she needs to do to advance, or you could just start shopping. But after 5 years on team, if they haven’t moved her up yet, I doubt they will.

At our first studio (my dd started later) she was originally (and appropriately) on the second team. I assumed the dancers on the top team received Better training. When they moved my dd up to first team, I realized the training wasn’t any better.

At our current studio our top and second teams can take class together. The best training is available to all. When dancers are ready, they are cast higher. Better more equal training that is with your money is probably out there.


You’re right. I feel that age is the limiting factor. There’s not more advanced for her age. She does take a couple of extra classes where she dances with older kids for competition in tap and lyrical...but to do so she has to max out on the others first.
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elace1

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyklane
What is your gut feel?  I get the sense that you might feel that she's not getting the instruction at the level she needs now.  But maybe you are not sure?  If you do have a relationship with the SO, perhaps ask for a private lesson and stay to understand what your DD (from their viewpoint) needs to work on to move in to the higher level of dances - or what she needs to improve on in general.  And then make your decision.   Which classes / teachers does the SO suggest to get those skills?  Almost like a interview to see if the studio is a right fit for your daughter at this age.  Perhaps it was right for her when she was younger, but the program now doesn't satisfy your needs.  Could be.

Are there other studios that may be a good fit for your DD in the area?  Why not go also interview them to see what level or types of classes she would fit into at the other studios to make sure you know what you'd be leaving for.  Some studios don't allow you to participate on the comp teams the first year you dance with them, others are very open to it.  Maybe also check out their polices and see what resonates with you.

I'd take the first step and have a more in-depth conversation with the studio owner, in the form of a lesson so that a baseline can be established with both of you - and then you can evaluate what happens there to see if you are agree or disagree.


This is not a bad idea...to ask for an evaluation. Thanks for the advice!
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Motherhem

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Reply with quote  #8 
In my opinion if they re in dance class they should break a sweat. As Dave said maybe they shouldn’t just focus on the next trick but on technique. It sounds like your daughter is learning if she does well in her solos but not having seen her then to now it is hard to know if that is true. I think going to the SO for an evaluation is a good suggestion. Maybe they don’t realize she needs to be challenged more.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #9 
I'm missing something in your posts.  IMO, most of what kids get between about 3-8 can be quickly caught up by others who have been dancing fewer years. So I don't mind that she is dancing with others who have been dancing fewer years.  But if the others are unable to dance, I am more concerned.  I wonder if I am confused by what you meant by the secondary team?  I thought she was on the second level team for her age in your original post, but you said it she wasn't advancing because of age, so perhaps you mean a junior age team versus an older team?  Did I misunderstand? Is your dd the best 10 year old at your studio?  If that is the case, then I would pay careful attention to the older dancers at your studio and see how they fare against other studios.  Most studios don't group the very talented littles on stage with the seniors even if the skill set is similar. But I do feel strongly that the studio should constantly challenge each dancer in class to improve their technique.
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elace1

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Reply with quote  #10 
I’m so sorry. By secondaries I meant not her core classes but the optional ones like lyrical, hip hop, modern etc.
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elace1

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Reply with quote  #11 
And I don’t mind she’s not with seniors. I just want her to learn. :-)
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #12 
Are there classes available at your studio that are suited to your daughter’s skill? How do the most advanced dancers compare with dancers from other studios?
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Sprmom2679

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Reply with quote  #13 
My DD comes out of class most of the time a sweaty mess, literally dripping off of her. Look at the teens and seniors in your studio, would you consider them good and advanced? Staying would mean your daughter will eventually advance to that level, so think about is that the future she wants. We shopped around and went to every studio in town before deciding. We got lucky and found somewhere that is the perfect fit for my DD’s goals and the grass couldn’t be any more green.
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elace1

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by prancer
Are there classes available at your studio that are suited to your daughter’s skill? How do the most advanced dancers compare with dancers from other studios?


Yes there are classes that seem to introduce more skill and challenge. The most advanced dancers are amazing, probably around the same skill level as other studios...but rumor has it those kids all take classes outside of the contract for our company.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #15 
Ah. If the only way to be better is to take outside classes, I recommend moving to those studios. It took me a long time to realize that is what had happened at my old studio. There were some amazing dancers when we started. Before I left I had figured out all of the good dancers had a teacher who left the studio long ago, or had trained elsewhere or in addition. We all pay enough for Dance. Every class should have value.
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #16 
If you are unhappy, research studios and take as many classes at different places this summer.  One thing you will learn - studios do not change for one child.  Time to move on.  I wish we would have learned this earlier than we did.  It's a big world out there.... you don't know what you're missing until you go look around.  Good luck.
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