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Sunnydance

Bad dance training - my definition

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Sunnydance

For months now I have been educating myself about dance. I suspected last fall that maybe my daugher was not getting the best training in ballet.

I have made a list of reasons why our local studio is a dolly dinkle (see numerous other post for the definition)

1. When the 'star student' of the school goes to college then returns to become a teacher. AND the college training was for a non-dance degree.

2. When the high school 'advanced' students are assisting in almost all of the lower level classes.

3. When the Director was a previous student, years ago, she was considered the best of the best and had such potential. YET she never 'made it' and has returned to the school to teach and be the director.

4. The school does not post any flyers about summer intensives. Nor do any of the teachers talk about SI's.

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DanceDaddy

I know this is old but relevant to some of my recent posts...

I don't think that having a high school 'advanced' student assist is always bad. Frankly, I would like to have 1 of the Sr. Company girls in my daughter's class to demonstrate as SO cannot.

That said, there is a difference between demonstration and teaching. I would recommend leaving a place that has Sr. Company girls teach.

Edited by DanceDaddy
grammer

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balletmom676

I know this is an old post, but I have to say that I agree. I also want to add the following:

5. Studio/school has very few or no older kids (Over 13 or 14) but has been in business for more than just a few years.

6. Has zero "placements" in companies or highly respected pre-pro programs. 

7. Brags that only they offer proper technique and no other studio in the area is as adept at teaching technique. Bad mouths every other studio and director in the area.

8. Director has no VERIFIABLE professional resume, but again is the BEST in the area.

9. Suffers large losses of students each year...typically in the 10-14 age group. And explains those losses by blaming the "dramatic" and "difficult" parents.

10. Claims to be "exclusive" but allows anyone in the program.

And so many more. Experienced all of these at our last studio. Finally saw the light, did extensive research to find a new studio, and left.

 

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DanceDaddy
3 hours ago, balletmom676 said:

9. Suffers large losses of students each year...typically in the 10-14 age group. And explains those losses by blaming the "dramatic" and "difficult" parents.

Can I ask how common is this? And how to quantify large? Is it a certain percent?

There was a recent article that 70 percent of kids quit sports by age 13. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2016/06/01/why-70-percent-of-kids-quit-sports-by-age-13/

I guess my benchmark... do they go to another studio? Or downright quit?
If a large percent (> 10%) go to another studio then I think something could be wrong.

And unfortunately, I have seen this happen and have my concerns!

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Ballerinamom2girls

I'll add one: when "advanced" classes are attended by kids as young as 8, and everyone goes en pointe around 8-9.  

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balletmom676

I don't have any percentage. Just my personal observation after five years of witnessing it happen and hearing excuses as to why. Most of those kids that left our old studio went to other studios, but a few quit because they were so discouraged by their treatment that they quit. When every other studio in the area (even newer ones) have teens, and yours doesn't, I consider it a red flag.

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Polar

I know based on the date of the original post that the likelihood of that poster's studio actually being the studio we previously attended is almost zero, but I have to say that the scenario is identical, every last detail. It's eerily similar. So I'm posting to second all of those qualities as red flags.

I'll add that one unique quality I've noticed is the "kool aid" principle. If the studio has all the hallmarks of other organizations that have a cult like following in my opinion it is likely because the personality and charisma are the real items for sale and not the quality of the education. 

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AB'sMom

I would add:

The majority of class time, beginning in January, being used to learn a dance for a recital in June. 

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Polar

ABs Mom, that is an excellent point. Are they allowing a measured amount of time still dedicated to learning skills and advancing technique or are they rehearsing endlessly. Are they teaching skills and helping the dancers to grown within the confines of class or are they pushing private lessons for skills acquisition. 

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DanceDaddy

the spring recital can get interesting...

last year I saw the dance starting to be prepared in March. However, SO did have choreography in mind. So we had changes up to a week beforehand. This is for younger girls (8-10). So we ended up having last minute rehearsals added.

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GTLS Designs

**Side Note**
If your studio has a 'performance' styled recital (not a 'class demonstration' styled recital), then the teacher will spend part of class preparing for that recital.  It is the only way to teach, learn, and rehearse the dance for the performance.  The teacher should still be able to fit in barre and bits of center before the recital work begins.

Please, let's not make this a thread of black & white issues without also considering the grey area nuance realities of running a dance school.

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AB'sMom

That’s why I said “the majority of class time.” My DD was at a studio where classes were only 60 minutes. Every class had a recital dance, not just every level. Beginning in January at least half of every class was spent on learning the dance, so less than 30 minutes of barre and center work. As the recital got closer there were classes where the dance was the only thing being worked on. To me this is a sign that the school is really more recreational. Not only is technique suffering, but it shouldn’t take that long to learn a three minute dance. 

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MoDance

Maybe it’s just me, but it may be a red flag when the owner or teachers are dancing a lot in recital and if props are used in ballet pieces in the recital. I tend to think good dancing doesn’t need props. 

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DanceMumNYC

There's a school in NY that's supposed to be very good, but I honestly question if it's a "dolly-dinkle." They offer all styles of dance for all ages, but I'm ONLY talking about the kids' program. The ballet isn't very good. Only the highest level ballet class goes en pointe (late teens). Some pre-teens take classes with teens, usually the ones who are favored and in the "company." A lot of the kids are great jazz & hip-hop dancers, but I know they also go to other schools to train and use this school to have performances and attend conventions/competitions. Some of the staff attended the school as students during their teen and young-adult years before becoming teachers. Their bios on the website aren't very impressive--The director was a competition dancer and didn't major in dance in college. The coordinator was a jazz dancer and became a prof back-up hip-hop dancer. Somehow she's the co-AD of a contemporary ballet company in addition to coordinating this school?! I know some staff were in movies like Step Up, and others are good choreographers. They give the school a good name (as well as its adult program) because they choreograph award-winning pieces for the company kids' conventions/competitions. The school is also well known for its location. But looking at this school as a whole and being exposed to the pre-prof ballet world makes me think it's not as great as it's made out to be. Thoughts?!  

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learningdance

It is looks like a duck, acts like a duck and quacks like a duck. . 

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