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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #26 
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Originally Posted by Noel
heidi459 all good points. It's hard for me to understand staying in a situation you are continually unsatisfied with, but I suppose leaving and taking that risk is hard for them to understand, too. Thank you for giving me that response, though, because it's still really helpful for me to surround myself with others who chose to move on. I have far too much "choose to stay" surrounding me and it's hard to quiet those voices that doubt our decision all alone sometimes. It's really good to hear "back up" from others who took the leap.


IMO it really is important to learn to embrace risk.  It'll take us places we've never dreamt possible.  The earlier we learn it, the better.  My dd has had so many great opportunities because of her willingness to do things a little differently than everyone else and those opportunities will continue as long as she doesn't let that fear of the unknown get in her way (she's actually making yet another studio change for next year). Please don't second guess yourself.  And remember to never look back.... you're not going that way :-)


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my2miracles

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Reply with quote  #27 
I have a few comments based on others comments:

1. First and most importantly, I am PAYING for a service they provide.  I am the customer.  I do have a right to question certain things.  When I got to the doctor, I don't take everything they say without question, so why would I do that with a dance teacher? Or any teacher for that matter.
2. The problem that I have with dance unlike sports, band, gymnastics, martial arts, etc., I have never seen a list of skills that are required at each level (not saying some studios don't have this but in 9 years of dd dancing at 3 different studios, I've never seen one).  So without feed back it's hard to see why H who sickles her feet and has a major arch in her back moves up when another child who has beautiful feet and perfect posture does not.  While there may be reasons when those aren't shared it just appears that H was moved up because she's hyper bendy and can to the tricks the SOs likes to put in dances and the other child doesn't.  I guess dd's 1st studio eliminated that problem by never moving anyone up.  You started out on 1 team and stayed with that same team until you graduated.  The problem with dd was that she started dance late and ended up on a team with kids 2-3 years younger than her.  Because she was older and more mature, she progressed much faster than they did so staying at that level wasn't enough for her.
3.  To me asking a question is not the same as demanding that little Suzie gets the top placement because I think she's the best.  The biggest issue I've seen with studios is lack of communication.  In many cases, they create their own problems.
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Rushhourmom

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Reply with quote  #28 
This is such a great validating thread to read!

I've been involved in a few studios across the country over the years and maybe I'm just unlucky but I haven't really seen one I would entirely trust the process to. They all have at least a few teachers who are partial to a few dancers for non-skill reasons. You can't trust the process when it's well established that favoritism is linked to brown noses parents or what have you.

Likewise I've never been to a studio that didn't have some pushy parents. And as others have said, they ruin it for everyone. I personally am hesitant to confront about most issues I might otherwise bring up because I don't want to be seen as one of the obnoxious ones. When I do bring things up I feel guilty for making their jobs harder knowing they ALSO have to field constant complaints from pushy parents.

Balance is key and balance is hard. At least for me. I let too much go and then sometimes fixate on the dumb thing. But articles like this don't help. They don't invite constructive conversations and opportunities to work TOGETHER because at the end of the day, our dancers' best interests should be the focus of BOTH the parents and staff. When either side insists on having full say and suggests that the other side bow out and leave the care entirely to one side, there's a big problem.
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PastrySugar

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Reply with quote  #29 
Im my eye it looks like the squeaky wheel and money bags get all the opportunites and not nessessarily the most talented or hard workers. Just my opinion
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5678StarMom

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Reply with quote  #30 
RE: the parents who are asking to move up a level or 2. Those are the studios with the most issues. They think moving up a level will fix the issues...but it won't. That's just my observation.

DD14 is the dancer she is today because of her exposure to so many different things and teachers. I realized at age 9 that I could no longer just trust the process with the comp studio. They had what they believed was her best interests at heart, but their idea of what she needed to be was a back up comp team dancer. The solid one, in the back, who could do anything with the group but wasn't the star and wasn't amazing. Ballet is technique only and takes a backseat to performing other styles at this studio. DD wants to be a ballet dancer. So we sought out more training, and turned her focus to ballet, even in the heart of her competitive years. She went to extra classes and intensives and compared herself to more kids than normally stood next to her, and got herself regularly around kids who wanted to be in ballet. She competed ballet solos at traditional comps, and was almost always the only one in the category and rarely placed. She got so much better that the team DT couldn't ignore her and started giving her more features in groups and the hardest groups in spite of what she originally pegged her to be. She hit the top at that studio last year and this year, and there is still some resentment from the main DT for not being what she thought she would be in the beginning, IMO. She outgrew the studio. So, we left. For sure they are cordial to DD but aren't happy about it. DD7 is still there and competing for the time being...she is pegged to be a "star" dancer there and has no desire to pursue ballet at this point...so it's still the right fit for her.

DD14s goal for her wasn't the same goal of the studio. If we were to have trusted the process that the DT and SO wanted us to, DD14 would have never been exposed to more ballet. I would have never known to question the amount of ballet class or the difficulty of ballet. They were not happy when I started reading online and books, and educated myself. They couldn't give us what she needed. Their mission is different. I may have thought that DD was fine and could be a professional based on the training they provided. We would have been sorely disappointed. Luckily a few people started whispering to me that we needed more about age 9 (retired dance teachers, her ballet teacher who isn't well liked or respected at the studio, several people from her intensives and master classes) and I actually decided to research. This forum and BTFD has been exponential in her getting as far as she has.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #31 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5678StarMom


DD14s goal for her wasn't the same goal of the studio. If we were to have trusted the process that the DT and SO wanted us to, DD14 would have never been exposed to more ballet. I would have never known to question the amount of ballet class or the difficulty of ballet. They were not happy when I started reading online and books, and educated myself. They couldn't give us what she needed. Their mission is different. I may have thought that DD was fine and could be a professional based on the training they provided. We would have been sorely disappointed. Luckily a few people started whispering to me that we needed more about age 9 (retired dance teachers, her ballet teacher who isn't well liked or respected at the studio, several people from her intensives and master classes) and I actually decided to research. This forum and BTFD has been exponential in her getting as far as she has.


This.  All of it.  Happens much more often than people want to believe.  We should never allow ourselves to put our/our child's future completely in someone else's hands.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #32 
I second 5678StarMom. At our last studio everyone thought if you got to the top level, that must be where the training gets good. Turns out it wasn't any better.
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #33 
On the flip side... there are the studios that peg your child to be featured, to be a "star" and do just that.... and then what. Your child may have topped out at a studio where, skills wise, they are no where near their true potential. The top at one studio wouldn't get your feet through the door of a comp. team elsewhere. Buyer beware, as hollow as it sounds, with regards to your kid, stands true.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #34 
I agree Noel. Being at the top of a given studio does not mean you are an excellent dancer. This should be apparent at comps and conventions if parents and dancers are paying attention. Attending a high quality convention is another good way to see how you compare.
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BalletMom62567

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Reply with quote  #35 
All of this!!! Our current (soon to be former) studio does the same...just trust us, we know best. Well, I did for 5 years, and looking back there were so many red flags. I will not...ever, ever, ever...just "trust" a dance instructor again. I sat back and played the good quiet dance mom for 5 years never questioning their choices for my DD, and they just took advantage of me and my checkbook. Never again. 
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #36 
Oh my BalletMom, I'm so sorry. I feel like you could literally be one of the moms I just adored at the old 'studio' based on what you've just written alone.
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #37 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noel
On the flip side... there are the studios that peg your child to be featured, to be a "star" and do just that.... and then what. Your child may have topped out at a studio where, skills wise, they are no where near their true potential. The top at one studio wouldn't get your feet through the door of a comp. team elsewhere. Buyer beware, as hollow as it sounds, with regards to your kid, stands true.


I do see what appears to be kids pegged to be "stars."  It's frustrating.  The fat that in many ways they actually have the ability to fulfill the desire (at least to the extent that the dancer is willing to work & pay), not sure if it's more or less frustrating.

On the flip side ... historically, not all of the successful dancers were "chosen ones."  Some were, yes.  But others scratched and clawed their way through.
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mochi

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Reply with quote  #38 
You can only "trust the process" when you are sure that the coaches and teachers are trustworthy. It's easy to say to find somewhere else but those who live in smaller, more isolated areas may not have many options and may not have had much exposure to what else is out there. So if your child loves to dance what do you do? I have a good friend who was shocked when she moved from a small town to a big city and suddenly her "star" dancer was told she was taught everything wrong. The mom knew nothing about dance and had completely trusted her former studio and ended up feeling betrayed. In her case, she should have done less trusting and more research and questioning. I know that there are parents who are too involved and worried about placements but I think it's perfectly reasonable to have questions for studio owners and dance teachers. 
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #39 
"So if your child loves to dance what do you do? "
You already wrote it - and I've said this over and over and over. If you are going to spend money, a lot of money, on your child, you should know what you are getting.  Educate yourself and this is less likely to happen.  
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lilkeebler1

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Reply with quote  #40 
Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459


Most likely because the devil they know is better than the devil they don't know.  Change is hard for the majority of people it seems. So it's just easier to convince themselves that the grass is probably not going to be greener anyway.  I remember the months before dd left her comp studio... the conversations I'd have with other moms.  They had many of the same complaints that we did but they had every excuse under the sun as to why they wouldn't leave (and snickered in disbelief when we insisted that we were).  So now it's 3 yrs later and from what I hear?  They're still there.  And still complaining.


VERY VERY TRUE!!
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #41 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mochi
You can only "trust the process" when you are sure that the coaches and teachers are trustworthy. ***It's easy to say to find somewhere else but those who live in smaller, more isolated areas may not have many options*** and may not have had much exposure to what else is out there. So if your child loves to dance what do you do? I have a good friend who was shocked when she moved from a small town to a big city and suddenly her "star" dancer was told she was taught everything wrong. The mom knew nothing about dance and had completely trusted her former studio and ended up feeling betrayed. In her case, she should have done less trusting and more research and questioning. I know that there are parents who are too involved and worried about placements but I think it's perfectly reasonable to have questions for studio owners and dance teachers. 


That's so true. It's fine to say "find a better studio," but that works a lot better when there are multiple choices within a 30 or 40 minute drive.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #42 

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Originally Posted by dave9988
That's so true. It's fine to say "find a better studio," but that works a lot better when there are multiple choices within a 30 or 40 minute drive.


And some have really come down on others for suggesting that a poster move on for just that reason.  But.... if the training/environment is really THAT bad... I do have to wonder what the point is of staying.  And what kind of message the decision to stay sends a child. If there really aren't any other viable options maybe it would be wise to recognize that this activity is not in our child's best interests and help them discover something that is. I understand that they would be disappointed in the short term but the most difficult decisions are generally the most important ones to make. 

 .      

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Noel

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Reply with quote  #43 
Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459



And some have really come down on others for suggesting that a poster move on for just that reason.  But.... if the training/environment is really THAT bad... I do have to wonder what the point is of staying.  And what kind of message the decision to stay sends a child.      



I could not agree with you more.

I bite through my tongue when my friends who have chosen to stay at DDs former 'studio' cite their reasons for staying. One in particular has a daughter who has such big dance dreams and at just barely 9 years old really does not demonstrate the maturity to understand just how limited her future is if she remains where she is. But mom will state, "I can't be driving all over the place, can I?" I want to say, yes. You know you are more than welcome to drive with us and share the load. Yes, you can make this work as it's really not that much more further. But I bite my tongue. I've shared my personal reasons. My personal observations. I've shared my professional opinions as a PT. I keep my observations as neutral (simply stating facts) or inwardly directed (what crosses our personal family values). Beyond that, they are the adults, the parents, the one who will no doubt what they feel is the best call, but my heart breaks.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #44 
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Originally Posted by Noel


I could not agree with you more.

I bite through my tongue when my friends who have chosen to stay at DDs former 'studio' cite their reasons for staying. One in particular has a daughter who has such big dance dreams and at just barely 9 years old really does not demonstrate the maturity to understand just how limited her future is if she remains where she is. But mom will state, "I can't be driving all over the place, can I?" I want to say, yes. You know you are more than welcome to drive with us and share the load. Yes, you can make this work as it's really not that much more further. But I bite my tongue. I've shared my personal reasons. My personal observations. I've shared my professional opinions as a PT. I keep my observations as neutral (simply stating facts) or inwardly directed (what crosses our personal family values). Beyond that, they are the adults, the parents, the one who will no doubt what they feel is the best call, but my heart breaks.


Sounds so melodramatic but it's exactly how I have felt.  It kills me to see people settling.  And yes, I've heard that very same excuse... "I can't"... but when there is a will, there is generally a way.  Be honest with yourself and admit you really don't want to.... that's legitimate. But don't lie to yourself and say it can't be done.
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DJ

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Reply with quote  #45 
Never blindly trust any studio.  Dance is expensive and if your dancer wants a future in dance, you have to make sure that you are getting quality training.  So parents have to educate themselves.  If you don't know a lot about dance yet, you might find out what former dancers from your studio are doing.  Have they made top college dance teams? Are they pursuing BFA's at strong college programs?  Any professional dancers?  If any of these are your dancer's goals you should be at a studio that has a track record of success for the goals you are pursing.
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #46 
Amen, DJ. Such quality advice. You cannot argue with using that as an indicator of what to expect from your investment in a studio (as a parent, and your child's investment in time and energy). I wish that someone had said that to me earlier; but I found this site and a thread not unlike this one and I listened and I am so glad that I did. It was a bit hard to take that honest look at the situation, honestly. So glad glad I got this advice and so grateful for those that took the time to share it. I have shared that advice liberally when asked for my opinion. I've seen the response and it really does make a parent reflect on just what they are doing.
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #47 
Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459

And some have really come down on others for suggesting that a poster move on for just that reason.  But.... if the training/environment is really THAT bad... I do have to wonder what the point is of staying.  And what kind of message the decision to stay sends a child. If there really aren't any other viable options maybe it would be wise to recognize that this activity is not in our child's best interests and help them discover something that is. I understand that they would be disappointed in the short term but the most difficult decisions are generally the most important ones to make. 

 .      



Yes, yes, in the end I suppose it all comes down to trade-offs.

Is the training "so terrible" that no halfway serious dancer should put up with it?  Or just such that anyone with pro aspirations would severely limit themselves by staying?  In which case, perhaps driving is the answer.  Perhaps moving the family is the answer. Or perhaps the dancer needs to be sent away from home, either a boarding school or to a home where they can stay.

If toxic environment is the problem, well, how much "toxicity" does one want to live with?  Probably not much.


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Noel

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Reply with quote  #48 
Agreed, Dave9988. In addition to "trade offs" I do recognize that the needs of one family and one dancer may really not resemble the needs of another, just as the values systems will not resemble each other; likewise, the definition of "toxicity" won't be the same either. After all, the source of one family's toxic environment is often another family's ideal situation.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #49 

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Originally Posted by DJ
Never blindly trust any studio.  Dance is expensive and if your dancer wants a future in dance, you have to make sure that you are getting quality training.  So parents have to educate themselves.  If you don't know a lot about dance yet, you might find out what former dancers from your studio are doing.  Have they made top college dance teams? Are they pursuing BFA's at strong college programs?  Any professional dancers?  If any of these are your dancer's goals you should be at a studio that has a track record of success for the goals you are pursing.


While I think this is generally sound advice, I do think that a school/studio can offer exceptional training and not have a list of alumni with impressive outcomes.  How?  Could be that their dancers just don't seem to be interested in pursuing dance seriously post HS... regardless of talent/skill.  Could be a newer place without a track record as of yet. Or a smaller place in an area where the most serious and promising dancers tend to be lured in a by a larger big name school/studio... because, let's face it, that's how most people think.  I see all of those scenarios here in my area. But those little hidden gems without the big reputations? Sometimes they have a lot to offer.  Sometimes it really does pay to think outside of the box.

But, yes, you do need to educate yourself to know how to identify one of those. Knowledge is power.

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NCKDAD

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Reply with quote  #50 
Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459


While I think this is generally sound advice, I do think that a studio can offer exceptional training and not have a list of alumni with impressive outcomes.  How?  Could be a studio where dancers just don't seem to be interested in pursuing dance seriously post HS... regardless of talent/skill.  Could be a newer studio without a track record as of yet. Or a smaller studio in an area where the most serious and promising dancers tend to be lured in a by a larger big name studio... because, let's face it, that's how most people think.  I see all of those scenarios here in my area. But those little hidden gems without the big reputations? Sometimes they have a lot to offer.  Sometimes it really does pay to think outside of the box. But, yes, you do need to educate yourself to know how to identify one of those. Knowledge is power.


Yes this ^ we've had some amazingly talented dancers at our small studio who simply want/wanted to be the best dancer they could be until graduation but had/have lofty professional goals in other areas. College/professional dance isn't one. Additionally many kids fizzle by HS so bc it hasn't been around forever it's just the last few years we've had seniors to move on.

I always wonder about the studios who have amazing senior age dancers but have only been open a short while.. who trained your dancers?
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