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LGsMom

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Reply with quote  #1 
It's our first year on our studio's competition team, and I'm not sure about proper etiquette with regard to taking outside classes. 

I am planning to enroll my 7 yo daughter in a ballet school's summer program (90 minute classes, 3 days per week from late June through early August). She has asked for more ballet classes, and I want to give her the experience of a ballet school so that she can decide where/if she wants to dance as she gets older. There's not a conflict with her regular dance classes, which will continue on the same schedule until the start of the 2016-2017 school year.

Do I need to inform our SO? I want to be respectful of our current commitment and don't want to put DD in an awkward position if her teachers don't know. I don't feel the need to coordinate any of her other activities, but this is a whole new world for me. Thanks!
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Suzit42

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Reply with quote  #2 
Well you certainly do not need to ask SOs permission. But I would let SO know. I don't know your SO but I'm guessing most would like to know what other things their students are doing. It might ruffle her feathers if she finds out indirectly. There are plenty of great additional classes out there but some may not be so great. Before I register DD for an outside class, I run it by SO or her tap teacher. But I do it for a quality check. I trust their judgement on the knowledge of the faculty and the value for the price. Most of the time, they recommend it. When they don't, it's due to questionable faculty.
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Bonbonmama

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Reply with quote  #3 
ITA. I would mention it, and listen to what your SO has to say about it. At our previous studio, the dancers were not allowed to take outside classes without the SOs permission and it was grounds for dismissal from the company if you went against that. This only pertained to older dancers as the kids couldn't even start doing the in-house SI until age 8. The SO was very protective of her dancers and was very thoughtful in what recommendations she would give to what dancers and after many, many years in the dance world she knew which SIs she wanted her students to attend and which ones she didn't. [smile]
At our current studio the SO is a bit more relaxed BUT I truly value her opinion as she knows my dancer and her needs so I would always run it by her before doing anything outside the studio.

Now, you are suggesting in your post that you might switch your DD to the ballet studio if she likes that better..? Just mention it casually that your Dd wants to try to add more ballet for the summer and you should be fine.
Doing summer classes is really not necessary for several more years but it can be a great time to try something new. Be protective of her not doing too much at this age though..! [smile]
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Ktyyyyyyy

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Reply with quote  #4 
Whether or not you need to notify the SO completely depends on the "rules" of your studio. At our studio, team members may not take class at any other studio, unless it's just a master class from an outside instructor. They can attend a summer intensive at a professional company (ABT, SAB, etc), but they would not be allowed to attend a summer intensive at another local studio. This only applies to the dancers at our studio that are on teams. Our studio does have a really strong ballet program though, so there's no need to go elsewhere for additional ballet.
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Jacaranda

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Reply with quote  #5 
Many studios (ours included) have a requirement that students, a specially those on the competition team ask permission before attending classes, workshops, auditions and so on outside the studio. The dance world is small, the odds are that if you don't tell your studio they will find out somehow. This could cost your DD a spot on the competition team.

This isn't just so your DD doesn't decide she likes the other studio better and quit (although in some cases it probabaly is). But not every program and studio are created equal. Some studios run programs that are actually quite dangerous and the things they are asking dancers to do can result in serious injuries.

Examples - placing children on pointe too early, extreme stretching and often trying to get the body to go into positions that it isn't going to go into, acro programs where kids are encouraged to try skills like back handsprings and back tucks without the proper technique, training, spotting and safety equipment. And many more. Your SO will have a better idea of the standard and reputation of each studio.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #6 
While I respect the advice you've received so far, given my dd's experience at her old studio, I have to chime in from the other side. Your dd is very young & if you're like most, you don't know enough about what you're into at this stage of the game.  Who's to say your SO isn't like my dd's old SO & would put her best interests ahead of that of her students? That your current SO doesn't make questionable training decisions herself?  That the other studio isn't a better fit for your dd?  Do you know for a fact that your current SO is the most qualified in the area... the only one who could possibly know what is right for your dd? My advice would be to start to educate yourself now so that you can feel confident in your ability to make good decisions for your own child.... can know when & what to trust.... & don't have to rely on others whose expertise you are not in a position to assess.  And an important part of that education will come from seeing what else is out there.  Above all, I urge you not to make the mistake of putting your dd in a single studio's box. 

All that said... back to the question... is there a written policy that forbids what you are considering?  If there is you have to ask yourself if that makes sense to you & if you're willing to follow the rule to the letter. For whatever it's worth, for me it'd be a bit of a red flag.  I'd be wondering what they were afraid of.. concerned that they might be more interested in their business than my child's personal growth & happiness.  And to be honest, I'd probably do it anyway & just accept whatever the consequences would be should we be outed. And if we were to fly under the radar & decided to return next year?  I'd keep a very very watchful eye on on the goings on, at all levels, from that point forward.    

On the other hand, if there wasn't a written policy then I would just sign my dd up & not ask for trouble.  Because, in my opinion, asking for permission or even just notifying them of my intent is setting up this relationship where I am more like the subordinate. And that can prove to be a slippery slope in this strange world of dance. Probably hard for those who've been happy w/their studio/SOs to understand the danger but those who've been there (& many here have stories to tell) will tell you that it is always in your best interest to establish yourself as the one w/the control.

Your kid.  Your money.  Your decisions.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

Best of luck.



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4boysmom

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Reply with quote  #7 
I agree with Heidi459 in this instance. I think the very best thing that you can do as a dance parent is to educate yourself. We are fortunate that our SO has been very open to DS trying different things. I have sometimes asked for an opinion, never permission. I spend a fortune on dance, and I feel that it is my responsibility to get the best possible training for that money. I respect the fact that our SO has been supportive of DS dancing in a pre-pro tap ensemble, and taking ballet with some male ballet dancers in our city. I would not attend a studio that would not allow other dance experiences as long as it does not interfere with studio commitments. Thankfully, we have found a balance.
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stpierremom

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Reply with quote  #8 
It really does depend on what your commitment is to your current studio.  Did you have to sign a contract/agreement of some sort for her to participate on the competition team?  Does it forbid taking classes at other studios?  If there is such a contract, what are the effective dates of it?  Maybe summer is exempt.

Our former studio had a clause in their team contract that forbade dancers from taking classes elsewhere.  Our current studio's agreement says that team dancers are forbidden from representing another studio at competition/convention.  I find that much more palatable and respectful.
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Angel2228

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Reply with quote  #9 
I don't think I would ask. I just sign her up for classes and workshops. If it doesn't interfere with her comp team, then it doesn't concern them.
Only one time did I get any sort of feed back, and that was from the other studio, they 'didn't want to train the competition' lol.
But that was sort of a sign right there, not to go to them. Most of the really good places, had no problem taking her in. If it makes the competition better, then it makes their kids better.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #10 
Adding a different view. Your dd is young, and 3 ballet classes a week is likely to improve her technique. I'm sure that's the goal, and I'm sure her teachers will notice. Consider that the ballet school may train slightly different hand positions etc. that would indicate your dd was training with them. I would rather be direct and upfront than have an accusatory teacher ask my young dd where she learned to do X. If the ballet school is worth your time and money her teachers will notice she has been doing extra training. I would not want my dd to be put in an uncomfortable position of trying to hide her ballet from her teachers.
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emmymom

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Reply with quote  #11 
I wish I could like Heidi's post multiple times! [thumb] 
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Dance_Dad

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Reply with quote  #12 
What she said.. I couldn't agree any more..

Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459
While I respect the advice you've received so far, given my dd's experience at her old studio, I have to chime in from the other side. Your dd is very young & if you're like most, you don't know enough about what you're into at this stage of the game.  Who's to say your SO isn't like my dd's old SO & would put her best interests ahead of that of her students? That your current SO doesn't make questionable training decisions herself?  That the other studio isn't a better fit for your dd?  Do you know for a fact that your current SO is the most qualified in the area... the only one who could possibly know what is right for your dd? My advice would be to start to educate yourself now so that you can feel confident in your ability to make good decisions for your own child.... can know when & what to trust.... & don't have to rely on others whose expertise you are not in a position to assess.  And an important part of that education will come from seeing what else is out there.  Above all, I urge you not to make the mistake of putting your dd in a single studio's box. 

All that said... back to the question... is there a written policy that forbids what you are considering?  If there is you have to ask yourself if that makes sense to you & if you're willing to follow the rule to the letter. For whatever it's worth, for me it'd be a bit of a red flag.  I'd be wondering what they were afraid of.. concerned that they might be more interested in their business than my child's personal growth & happiness.  And to be honest, I'd probably do it anyway & just accept whatever the consequences would be should we be outed. And if we were to fly under the radar & decided to return next year?  I'd keep a very very watchful eye on on the goings on, at all levels, from that point forward.    

On the other hand, if there wasn't a written policy then I would just sign my dd up & not ask for trouble.  Because, in my opinion, asking for permission or even just notifying them of my intent is setting up this relationship where I am more like the subordinate. And that can prove to be a slippery slope in this strange world of dance. Probably hard for those who've been happy w/their studio/SOs to understand the danger but those who've been there (& many here have stories to tell) will tell you that it is always in your best interest to establish yourself as the one w/the control.

Your kid.  Your money.  Your decisions.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

Best of luck.



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kmpmom

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Reply with quote  #13 
Heidi's advice is fantastic and I agree completely.  I'd add a few thoughts - one, for those who mentioned a "contract" with their studio that "forbids" them from doing certain things, how much thought have you put into that?  It's simply a way to bind you (and your money) to them, and giving them all the power. Any studio that would put something like that into it's contract negates the value that outside training can bring.  Some of the strongest studios in our area have an open door policy - not only can their dancers go elsewhere, they're encouraged to do so.  And the studio itself brings in many top notch people for their dancers to work with, and often make them drop ins so other dancers in the area can take advantage of it.  We all grow when the doors are open.

Two, when it comes to ballet, I agree with the poster who said that they'll be able to tell when she gets back, so be prepared for that.  And yes, different teachers will teach different positions but don't worry about that - your DD will be able to move between the various methods more easily than you think.

We had some rather negative interactions with our studio after DD did some extra training one summer and that friction continued in the years that followed.  But then the parents of the superstars just started doing it anyway, and now the studio has an almost TOO open policy.  But I'd rather it be that than thinking you have to 'break rules' to spend your own money on your own kid.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #14 
On the subject of them being able to tell: for whatever it's worth, if they were to decide to confront you &/or your dd (which, personally, I don't think they would... & if they did should make that red flag wave a little higher), my suggestion would be to own your decision. And instruct your dd to do the same.  Again, this comes back to not playing like you are somehow the subordinate; as if they are the ones 'in charge'.  They are not. You're an adult & this is your child.  You don't need to apologize for doing what you believe is right.  Just be polite & respectful, explain why you made the decision you did, & let the cards fall where they may.  And, really, that's the key. This isn't about sneaking around & crossing your fingers that you don't get caught.  This about doing what you believe is in your child's best interest... & being willing to accept whatever consequences come your way.

Sorry... I have this unwritten rule that I don't phrase my advice in such a way that it sounds like I'm telling someone what to do.  And I'm probably straddling the hairy edge here.  But this topic hits a little too close home for me.    

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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #15 

[like] what Heidi says.

Completely agree with Heidi.  At the time my dd switched to ballet only (12), she basically was kicked out of her comp studio.  She had the opportunity to be Clara on pointe in MBA's Nutcracker or she could be a "tree" in the lame comp studio Christmas program.  Really??  Not a hard choice.   It made the decision easy and I never, ever did anything I didn't want to do again. I sent my child to the SI's I wanted to send her to, any master class, etc.  Never, ever asked permission.  And it turned out pretty well, I think.  

I will say though, her training was awesome and we really didn't need outside classes often, but her teacher was not happy when she went to SAB for two summers.  I still don't understand it because she did the studio's SI too.  I think he has changed over the years and now feels it's important for his kids to get out there because it's excellent marketing and they all come back.  We didn't see eye to eye on a few things, but we are still good friends and dd spent lots of hours at the old studio when she was home.  He is like her second dad. 

My point is, like Heidi said, your kid, your money, your decision.  But always be willing to listen. 

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Leela

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Reply with quote  #16 
I could have written this post verbatim last year about my 7 year old dd!   

I cannot offer advice, but will share our experience as it is kind of weird and shows the difference in SO's in a single experience and how while your actions may be in your daughters best interest, but that if you choose to pursue both ballet and comp separately it ultimately comes down to your SO.  

My dd had been yearning for more technical ballet training and she had expressed interest in becoming more serious about ballet.  We enrolled her in summer classes in 2014 at a local ballet school with the blessing of our SO when she was 6.  She loved it and asked to transfer to the pre pro school.  It was a huge commitment for us time wise that we were not ready to make as the studio was almost an hour away and youth classes were scheduled very early in the day.  We decided to stay with her current studio and on the competition team and told the SO she would love the challenge of taking additional ballet classes, which she arranged.  Her studio's strength was tap and the ballet technique was not.

Half way through last dance year, I started looking for summer programs to try and found one at a different pre pro ballet school that did not interfere with any competition team requirements. We were open with both our SO and current manager before signing her up for and during the summer program, both were highly supportive at that time.  My daughter fell in love with the ballet school, the style of teaching and more importantly being challenged to improve and learn in a more technical way.  Classes were hard, 8-3 each day for 2 weeks with an hour of travel each way and she leapt out of bed every morning so excited to go.  She begged to sign up for fall classes.  After a lot of discussion about the possible outcomes, we chose to sign her up for the ballet school with the pre pro program in addition to her competition dance, knowing it may not work out and she would have to make a decision.  To her the decision was easy, she wanted to go to the ballet school.  

Now, during the time period of signing her up for the summer program and the start of the summer program at the ballet school, the SM left and opened her own studio and almost all of the students went with the SM to her new studio.  We were on the fence with which direction to take; stay with her team and move to the new studio or stay with her original studio where she would not be on a team due to lack of students.  I'm only adding this because the reaction from both owners (well established, seasoned and reputable studio owner and new start up) was vastly different.  The added ballet classes at the ballet school did not interfere with any classes at either studio.

Here is where it gets interesting.  Original studio owner saw and understood the desire and drive to grow in ballet and acknowledged that if that was the path she wanted then she would be best to pursue classes at the ballet school to strengthen her technique and would love to continue to teach her dance and watch her grow as a dancer, understanding that while she had produced many highly successful professional dancers under her tutelage, could not provide her the level of ballet instruction she desired.  She encouraged and supported her to become a better dancer.  She reassured us that dd could still take as many classes as she desired at her studio and could compete with studio routines while taking classes from the ballet school. (it is important to add that the ballet school does not participate in competitions, with the exception of selected YAGP participants)

New studio owner who is young, energetic, passionate, but not trained beyond her own experience dancing as a student for original studio owner and transitioning into a dance teacher, did not understand.  She did give her permission at first, but over the course of a few weeks it became increasingly uncomfortable for us and it was apparent it was not ok with her.  I could say she was forced out, but technically it was our choice.  We were given an ultimatum between the ballet school and the team; her bffs.  She chose the ballet school and we fully supported her. She could have taken other classes at the new studio, but we did not want to stay in that environment under that kind of direction. The new SO was clear in not looking out for the best interest of my daughter, but for herself personally and as a new business.  

We chose to stay with the original studio owner and walk away from the team, knowing there would not be a team due to lack of enrollment and honestly that the studio might not make it (it didn't).  It was an easy choice for us. DD now has the chance to participate in huge ballet productions like the Nutcracker and others and receive amazing training.  Sorry it was a long reply.  Best of luck!


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momcrew

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Reply with quote  #17 
I think learning from others, those you are not familiar with, is an important part of a dancers growth. I try and sign my daughter up for as many master classes as our schedule and pocket book will allow. I've never felt the need to tell anyone at my daughter's studio. 
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jeanne4379

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Reply with quote  #18 
Your dd is very young.  There should be absolutely no problem with her taking a summer of classes at another school.  It would be polite to let her home studio know of your plans for the summer.  At this stage, she's way to young for career plans and at just the right age to start learning of the different disciplines. 

My personal caveat is that you learn as much as you can about ballet.  It's complicated and an ancient art form.  (It's my personal belief that we made dance and music before we spoke.)   Get books from the library.  Watch videos (Netflix and youtube, etc). This is an intellectual and physical thing, this dance. Learn as much as you can about the studio you are considering.  You will spend your hard earned money on this experience and deserve to have the best training available.  Get the best bang for your bucks.  Your dd is also entitled, as a student, to caring teachers who will nourish her as an individual.  

If your current studio is a strong one, they will encourage you and even have good recommendations for you. Check them out. Good luck to you.
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LGsMom

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Reply with quote  #19 
Thanks for your comments and advice! As many of you mentioned, I didn't ask for permission, but I did inform the SO and her primary DT about our summer plans after we registered. Both were extremely supportive, and DD is looking forward to her summer classes!

You shared a lot of great information, and I really appreciate that you shared your experience and perspectives.
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meatball77

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Reply with quote  #20 
Great that she's supportive.  I'd be weary of any studio that insisted that a dancer only train with them (now if they had opinions on certain things or studios then fine, but if they're actively discouraging it that's a major warning sign).  

I see it as a few things, the first that they are worried that you'll see the grass is greener, that things are done differently (even basic things like costumes, tuition for privates ect, not to mention the instruction. . . ) in a way that's better.  Second and most importantly that you'll realize that they're not as good as they claim to be.  That they're not actually the be all and end all of dance.  That your child may be lacking in a few areas (possibly due to their instruction, possibly just because your child isn't as talented as they have led you to believe) and you'll either find that our or jump ship. 

The excuse always seems to be "they'll teach it wrong and I'll have to fix it" but I can't imagine that's really going to be the case because my eight year old was able to tell from taking one class at a substandard school that they weren't teaching correctly.  If a school is teaching properly (even with first or second graders) the kids would know if they're in a place where things are being taught incorrectly.
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cynmckee

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Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LGsMom
Thanks for your comments and advice! As many of you mentioned, I didn't ask for permission, but I did inform the SO and her primary DT about our summer plans after we registered. Both were extremely supportive, and DD is looking forward to her summer classes!

You shared a lot of great information, and I really appreciate that you shared your experience and perspectives.


Awesome, I'm glad it worked out for you.  I would have done exactly what you have done (but I don't have a crazy SO like a lot of people here.)
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Natashabrown

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Reply with quote  #22 
I'm in charge. I don't ask. But I'm not breaking any written rules. I do my research and find training to fill in the holes. Working out great.
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