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BalletMom62567

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Reply with quote  #1 
I'm so angry right now, and I just need to vent in a place where someone might understand. We are in the process of leaving our current studio (for too many reasons to list here), but have to get through Nationals before we can cut this place out of our lives. I'm curious to know if anyone else has had heard of this Dance Studio Business Model. If this is a normal practice or not...

"Promote 3-4 girls while holding other girls back, especially those whose parents pay on time. So, the girls take longer to progress and this way their parents spend more money trying to help them get better over time."

At our current studio, I just learned that the SO's husband (not a dancer) chooses all the songs for all solos and influences choreography by having meetings with teachers before they begin learning their solos. It never fails, the favorite kids always seem to get extraordinary choreography with more difficulty than other kids. And while some of the favorites are stronger dancers, some are very clearly not, but manage to get a great deal more attention.

So, I'm curious if anyone else has heard of this shady practice happening at other studios. I know there's nothing I can really do about it, but I appreciate having the chance to vent!
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1tinydancer

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Reply with quote  #2 
I don't know about the one you listed but I wouldn't doubt it. I could also see it happening at our old studio but not so much the new one. The new one has their own shady practices.

Where did you get that quote?
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #3 
I understand the need to vent, and I hope you have found a better studio. Dance training costs everyone enough. You might as well get the best training and environment you can access for the money.

As for moving some up and not others, it happens all the time. Sometimes because of skill, but sometimes because of physical development, height, age, grade etc. But I have not heard of this business model as a reason before. Is that your interpretation of your old studio's plan?

That model you described does not make sense to me. Happy dancers mighty stay at a studio until graduation, and they should be able to advance the entire time. It's not like you leave training at 14 because you have maxed out at the top level. Perhaps the studio could sell a few private lessons to very motivated parents hoping to advance, but I would assume clients would leave rather quickly if that was the norm.
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BalletMom62567

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1tinydancer
I don't know about the one you listed but I wouldn't doubt it. I could also see it happening at our old studio but not so much the new one. The new one has their own shady practices.

Where did you get that quote?


The quote came from someone who is familiar with our SO's business practice. I've learned about this SO's non-dancer husband actually manipulating which kids get which choreographer bc they have in mind who they want succeeding each year. They also complain of rigged comps every time their chosen teams do not do well. The list of shadiness is LONG, and I'm glad we are getting out. But I can't help but think it is fraud to string parents along.

For example, my DD is a solid reliable team dancer and they know that so they use her for that but not features. Any time there is a reset in choreo, she's the one who gets the new part bc they can count on her. Promises to us were huge..."she has so much talent; she'll be so amazing in two years; she just needs more ballet". But when we added more training she didn't show much improvement, and when I asked for feedback I wouldn't get anything. Just "she needs more time". 


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Angel2228

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Reply with quote  #5 
Be careful of the info you get from other parents. It's easy to get sucked into the drama. Be confident and knowledgeable in what your dancer needs. If she's not reaching a goal, ask why? What can she do, what can you do. If she's not getting what she needs where she is, then you can find a new place. When dd's studio seemed to put her in a box. DD went and took workshops and conventions. It was great for her to take classes with kids she didn't know in a room with teachers she didn't know. She took risks and grew as a dancer from the experiences. It helped her to be more confident in class. Watch the classes, is she going through a growth spurt? Could this be the reason she's not doing as well as expected?
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #6 
Good schools should be able to provide specific feedback, so that is discouraging, but she really might need more classes and more time. Given what you wrote, I'm not sure what you thought you were promised. I read what you wrote as we see great potential but she is lacking in technique. Maybe the studio could not supply her with what she needed or maybe she didn't blossom when she was given quality ballet training.

Regardless you seem done with that studio, I hope the new studio is a better match for your aspirations.

I am impressed that your dd learns choreo changes well and is a great group dancer. These skills will serve her well. Most professional dancers dance in groups and have to pick up choreo quickly.
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #7 
The "she needs more ballet" is true of EVERY dancer.  You can never have too much ballet. (JMO)
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ballerinamom13
The "she needs more ballet" is true of EVERY dancer.  You can never have too much ballet. (JMO)


So true!!!
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EJIDance

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Reply with quote  #9 
I don't really understand either the business model or the husband being so involved. Why would holding kids back be good for business? I've heard of the opposite where kids are moved through levels and there are a lot of artificial ones created to move through to stroke the parents' and the dancers' ego and keep them happy. I don't get why a non-dance husband would even have studio favorites whom he specifically wants to succeed... Sounds creepy...
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BalletMom62567

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Reply with quote  #10 
The Dance Business Model thing is just the latest in a litany of grievances and that info didn't come from a parent. It came from a colleague of theirs. While I know the same can be said for competitors saying things dance parents want to hear, looking back at their decisions regarding dancers under their care it makes sense now. Why certain kids are held back and others aren't. I think if the Director (wife) made the decisions it would not be that way. But he has become way too involved in the business. So much so that other SOs in the area won't even work with them. They lose teachers and choreographers each year only to out more responsibility on the wife. He acts as an agent for certain kids too. When we approached them about her taking summer intensives locally, they got very protective and discouraged it. Demanded that we get any Intensive approved by them first. Banned certain programs that they hate (programs that walk away with school awards from YAGP). The excuse is always "She'll get better training here. Or they school will ignore her and leave her at the barre". But other kids, they will work tirelessly to get them into intensives.
I am under no illusions regarding DD's talent and skill level, but I know she has potential. She takes nearly 15 hours of ballet per week without significant improvement (other than the first couple of months in this program she started this year). When we ask her about any attention she gets during class, she rarely gets any corrections.
I think a big part of is this...they can't keep staff so the SO only has a limited amount of time which is then invested in the kids her husband thinks will perform well. In essence, it feels as though we are financing an operation that only focuses on a handful of kids.
And yeah...his involvement is confusing and creepy to anyone outside the studio. We were there two years before I found out he has no dance background. That should have been my red flag to run away, but I trusted her qualifications and instruction. Plus, at the time my DD's teachers were fantastic (none of them are there anymore either).
So, it sounds like this is just their practice...this weird business model.
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #11 
Just curious-how old is your dd?  If she is taking 15 hours of ballet and not improving, that's insane.
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #12 
I find it interesting that a lot of what you say is exactly what we experienced, and yet we absolutely are not in the same studio. Different owner, different staff, same treatment of dancers, no rationale for the decisions apparent. Just chiming in to tell you that your situation, while unique and no doubt frustrating, is not a one off and I suppose I want to encourage you to be very careful. I'm afraid there are more charlatans in dance training than I ever imagined.

As for myself I have learned that when you find a quality studio with quality instruction, hang on to it because they are few and far between.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #13 
How old is your dd? Is she at a ballet school? I am very surprised to hear she is not improving with 15 hours of ballet per week. What kind of studio are you moving to? Does she take other genres as well?
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jazzminesun81

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Reply with quote  #14 
It's pretty typical to promote some but not others every year at our studio, but they say it's based on progress, which could make sense. In fact, it has been remarked upon that DD9's group of girls has competed together for 4 years with no one getting ahead or left behind, which is kind of remarkable for our studio.

I don't see how what you describe would be a good business model, and the husband's involvement definitely seems a bit creepy to me. Our SO's husband tries as hard as he can to stay out of the fray lol!

But dancers and parents like to see progress, so I cannot imagine holding kids back being good for business. In fact, we're in the midst of a giant shuffle in class levels right now because too many kids were advanced that probably should not have been, partly due to SO giving into parent demands, and partly because SO and DT's are just too darned nice. DD9's class has to do everything from 3rd instead of 5th position this year at recital because 1 girl can't do 5th position. This is the same girl that prevented them from being able to do 5th position at recital last year. IMO, they should have held that kid back and let the rest of the girls showcase their progress. Or let the girls do fifth and hide the girl in the back. We even have kids in advanced acro that cannot do a front walkover, and the theory is that parents are the ones forking over the tuition, so SO has a hard time telling them no when they argue about placement.

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nyklane

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Reply with quote  #15 
Wow, reading all of this as a new dance mom makes me feel fortunate for our local studio (chosen basically due to location and lack of knowledge [wink])  We have our issues for sure, but some of these practices seem so manipulative. [frown]  Our SO and DT's for the most part don't promote due to parents wishes - and they really feel the brunt of it.  One parent that I know has approached SO no less than 14 times just this year to promote her daughters in one way of the other. Thinks nothing of it.  I feel bad for the SO, because who likes so much confrontation?  Sticking to her guns I'm sure is tough with constant pressure.  Our SO although conscious of her business, doesn't discourage SI's at other places or even skills at other places that are complementary.    Again, we are not without problems but I can see why those things would want to make you leave.
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BalletMom62567

"Promote 3-4 girls while holding other girls back, especially those whose parents pay on time. So, the girls take longer to progress and this way their parents spend more money trying to help them get better over time."


This doesn't even make sense.

Being promoted to higher levels means more tuition $$, at least at our studio.  That's true even if you're promoted on a sort of "half" basis (stay in your current level, but add one class with higher level dancers). 

If increased revenue is the goal, then "false promotions" works a lot better.  So tuition goes up, and the teachers don't have to do anything different - free, easy money!!!!  Much easier than frustrating someone to the point where they schedule meetings, tie up staff with privates, etc.  Not to mention the possibility of leaving out of frustration, whether it's a complete flight from the studio, or simply a flight for private lessons on the outside.

Sounds like a dance mom just fuming and making up crap to fit their narrative.  We have some of those!


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Noel

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Reply with quote  #17 
Gotta say, Dave, I see this exact type behavior. Well, I saw it, at prior 'studio'.

While they don't have a standards and procedures manual to quote from and the technique is a little different let me give you an example.

SO has a hard and fast rule, no one may compete up a level unless they participate in every team available at their own age group. No matter if they are bored and clearly stifled in that age group. Why? Because then in order to participate at the appropriate skills level you must first pay the piper for every available age level dance first. When too many simply give up and sign their dancers up for what would be a ridiculous number of dances she simply creates new age level teams to make age group dancers even busier.

She's quite open about this policy and even fielded a team of 34, yes 34 dancers, not a big company production number, just a jazz and a pom routine, rather than allow those who were skilled above this age group's average move on. This year, when parents complained she simply created an "A" youth team and a "B" youth team... and you guessed it, no one may move up unless they compete on every age group team still.

Additionally she will hold back dancers who are hard working, loyal, well behaved and competent; not placing them on the coveted "A" teams and tell them that they need to be the leaders on her "preparatory" teams, promising them a spot on the "A" teams the following year. When those dancers inevitably improve skills wise and an opening on the "A" team comes available mid season due to injury or illness she fills that gap with a younger dancer who she sees as a star, ignoring the hard working prep team dancers.

I could go on endlessly, but she does this because she can. Parents will continue to pay and continue to lap up whatever nonsense she spoons out out of a desire not to rock the boat and to get their kids on the "A" teams until one of two things happens; they give up and leave or they resign themselves to "B" team status and complain to whomever will listen, in confidence, never to get back to SO because they still believe they'll make the A team. And if / when they ever do (typically the last year they are eligible for an age group) you can bet their kid (literally at times) is the bottom, with a star younger dancer standing on their backs or stepping over them in choreography.

I get it that you think some parents might make this stuff up, but not all. There are some seriously predatory SOs out there. I know there are some ridiculous parents too.
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1tinydancer
I don't know about the one you listed but I wouldn't doubt it. I could also see it happening at our old studio but not so much the new one. The new one has their own shady practices.

Where did you get that quote?


LOL, don't they all?!!!
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