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shameless favoritism or is this how it works?

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MamatoMary

DD's part changed, and someone else is dancing in DD's former part. The complainers kept their parts - they were three dancing together - and they flat out told DD they didn't want to dance with her. Not sure how far the trickle goes. The piece is still undergoing choreography, so maybe something else will come up later for DD but it isn't looking good.

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Momof3darlings

I also believe that if there is no other reason than a complaining parent/dancer that your child is removed from a role, that this is definitely a time to go in and discuss this with your Director. I would definitely go and ask if I truly believed her casting was taken away by no fault or limitation of her own, but simply because others complained. In this case though, I think a bit of cautious and careful planning would gain a more positive outcome than going in with the calvary on ready.

 

Prior to going though, I would practice over and over the use of a bit of throwback psychology so that you are calm and the point is made such as: My daughter was cast and her part now taken away, she is very upset and as a parent I know I am not to question casting that is posted. But as a parent, I also need to help her understand why she was cast and that then taken away. (wait for answer) If there is any answer other than something that makes logical sense to you or that shows that complaining did cause this. Then I would continue with, so what you are explaining to me is that the reason her part has been taken away is because someone else complained that they didn't get the part? So what you are saying to me, to help us prepare for her future dancing, is that if she is not happy with her part, that the louder we complain, the more likely we will be recognized and cast well? (wait for answer) I just want to be very clear that this is not how we are raising our child, however, we also want to understand the rules both posted and unwritten so that we, as a family, can help guide her on how to handle things next time if she doesn't like her casting. Sometimes, it's the calm voice and calm head that can paint a picture they didn't see.

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Victoria Leigh

That is such excellent advice, Momof3! Really great way to handle this kind of situation. :clapping:

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Danza2

MamatoMary - I just can't concieve of the idea of this happening. Like the topic of this thread...we all agree we have seen shameless favoritism. But I can't see where a school is trying to give opportunity to others and do the right thing and then allow complainers who always see the spotlight get their way. I would defienitly consult the staff and ask why your daughters part was taken from her.

 

As I'm feeling right now, we may be leaving our school soon. My daughter's dance development has more or less been restricted and she needs to move on. she is not being groomed for a professional path in dance. This is what she wants and she has talent. Sadly, she loves her school and doesn't want to leave. The truth of the matter is, if the staff does not beleive in her as much as she beleives in herself, she needs to move on. This is a hard decision we are making as parents. My daughter doesn't understand it.

 

It's not about parts anymore. In fact, she was casted quite well for the latest holiday production. It's about receiving the training she deserves. She is moving along, but not at a pace equal to her skill set and abilities.

 

It seems your daughter may be in a similar place. Only my daughter has never had a piece taken from her. But it seems your daughter has been overlooked for some featured roles or advancement,Then they decided to give her opprtunity, but they took it back. They either allow influence from other dancers and their parents get in the way of their decision process, or they may be on the fence regarding your daughter's skill set, or ability to captivate the audience with her artistic expression. I say this, because the one or two girls that now stand out in my daughters age group have so much confidence and stage presence because of the opportunities given them, that other girls of equal talent have now settled and become content with being a part of the core (sp?).

 

A dance school should be interested in grooming and giving opportunites to all dancers of equal skill set and talent, rather than pick or choose one or two girls to advance. A company can be more selective and choose thier favorites based on their artistic impressions. I know it won't be fair in the real professional dance world. I guess our daughters are learning this valuable lesson early on.

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NikkisMamma

MamatoMary, I'm so sorry for your DDs sake. That really stinks, and I can only imagine (as another mom of an 11yo dancer) how devastated she must be and how hard it is to console her in a meaningful, understanding way. We know it truly isn't the end of the world, but right now (if she's anything like my DD) it *is* to her. I hope your chat with the AD (if you choose to have one) goes well!

Mamaof3darlings, if this situation ever happens to my DD, I will commit your post to memory. So well written!

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Momof3darlings
Sadly, she loves her school and doesn't want to leave. The truth of the matter is, if the staff does not beleive in her as much as she beleives in herself, she needs to move on. This is a hard decision we are making as parents. My daughter doesn't understand it.

 

Danza--I am so sorry that you're in this quandry. I can't open up a full can of worms by taking this favortism thread into the realm of when it's time to leave, however, I will caution you that if your daughter doesn't want to leave, and you force her, you may find that it backfires into a lack of desire to dance anymore at all. If you truly feel it's time for her to move on because the instruction is not up to par, then you might want to simply and slowy immerse her into small steps at a new school. As an example, try out a week of the school's SI, go for an evaluation class and then a return class in the level they recommended for her. Small steps that will allow her to make a decision if what is offered at a new school is the path she wants to take. Leaving behind friends is always difficult, but an individual dancer with goals of dancing professionally will always hold fast to home, but know in their hearts that this is the move to make. One who is happy where they are, may simply be happy with the level they are getting to dance and in a few years find that something else is their true passion. Make sure this is her decision also.

 

In order to not go further into this topic on this thread, please do read some of the older threads on changing studios, knowing when it's time to change and what sometimes happens when you do and possibly interact with some of those members who have been there and done that.

 

Now back to the topic of this thread, favortism within a school.

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cakers

Interesting that this thread popped back up just now (must be Spring production time) as this just happened to us. DD has certainly been disappointed with her roles before, but this was the first time that she was truly devastated. Usually I will be able to give her some explanation or rationalization for the casting (which doesn't make dd happy when she is just looking for sympathy) but this time I was just as shocked as she and completely unable to come up with any explanation. My impression was that she was being punished for something and asked for a meeting with the AD and assistant AD.

The first thing I said at the outset was that I knew the meeting was not going to change anything, that the casting was set, but I wanted DD to have an opportunity to explain why she was so upset and hear their response.

The only thing I really took issue with during the meeting was when, in an attempt to mollify DD I think, the AD pointed out that the outside choreographer they had brought in to set an RDA piece had selected DD for the lead role, to which I responded that it was because she came in with no knowledge of the girls and therefore no preconceived bias of who *should* be the lead. The AD then tried to insist they they had no preconceived bias either, to which I replied that "OF COURSE you do". Every studio, every studio has some level of political undercurrent going on. Overall the meeting was cordial if unsatisfactory, and I thanked them for listening to us.

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Danza2

Momof3darlings - thank you so much for the feedback. I really apreciate it and you have hit close to what I'm feeling. We are carefully exposing our daughter to dance outside of her current school. Winter Intensive and a few weeks at a Company SI that won't conflict with the dates of her current school's SI. We've been exposing her to the world of dance outside her own studio and she will be a big part of the decision process. We will not just pull her. I'll viiew the thread regarding switching schools to get more info. thanks for leading me in the right direction.

 

- Danza

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Momof3darlings

Just curious about the outcome of the original situation. Was it resolved in a positive manner?

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DanceMumNYC

If there was favoritism in your child's school, would you speak up if it affected the other children/your child? Please note that this is a dance studio that offers ballet (they're not very good), but mostly focuses on other dance genres (they excel in this area). There are some policies in writing that some students are exempt from following. For example, to take classes like contemporary, lyrical, and jumps & turns, etc. a child would also need ballet AND jazz as co-requisites. Some kids, including my dd, take ballet at pre-prof ballet schools that prohibit them from taking ballet elsewhere. I told the director that my dd takes ballet elsewhere and she said my dd can't enroll in classes like lyrical, contemporary, etc. because she'd have to take ballet there too. I just dealt with it because I thought that was fair. But this year I found out that some students who don't take ballet at this school are in fact enrolled in those classes. Their parents basically said "they're exempt from that rule. The director knows they dance somewhere else too." There aren't hundreds of kids doing this, but it's still a considerable amount. 

Another child (age 6, turning 7) has been in my dd's 8-12 yr. old tap class (not for beginners) although she doesn't have rhythm (not exaggerating) because her mother has been an adult student at the school for a long time (and possibly even danced there in her youth). She can't keep up with the other kids, and the teacher sometimes has to work with her individually instead of moving on for the rest of the class. 

The following issues don't necessarily affect my dd, but I witnessed them and think it's worth mentioning: Some kids arrive to class very late (there's only 15-30 mins. left), although they're supposed to sit out and take notes. The school also has an advanced/performance company that you have to audition for, and they didn't accept 2 decent dancers we know, but accepted 7 yr. old child mentioned above due to her mother's connection to the school.

It's all very frustrating. I'm not too fond of the school for reasons like this, but my dd still enjoys it and I have to admit that she's learned a lot there. It is one of the top training programs in NYC, and there aren't many other places to go. (The schedules and/or locations of 2 other great schools never work for us). Should I just deal with it because she is still learning in the few classes she takes, we don't have many options, plus she has ballet at the pre-prof school? 

 

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learningdance

This is my take. . . .

If it doesn't directly affect your child's training stay out of it.  You will appear catty. 

If the culture is sloppy and unprofessional then plan an escape. 

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DanceMumNYC

She's only affected by having limited class choices, and every so often when her tap teacher has to slow down. I didn't want to file a complaint. I just wanted to ask the director to re-consider if dd can get into other classes (she really just wants contemporary). I keep looking at 2 other schools, but this is the only 1 that offers a reliable weekend schedule, as she has pre-prof ballet during the week. 

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gabby's mom

I'm having trouble understanding why there are no other places to go in New York City?

The advice is really always the same:

Evaluate the situation.  If this isn't the best training situation for your child and your family at this time, seek out alternatives.  How a particular studio owner or artistic director chooses to run their program is up to that particular studio owner or director.  You can ask the director to reconsider her decision, but bringing up the behavior of other children or complaining that other children are getting better treatment is unlikely to influence the decision and will make you look bad.  It is always best to focus on your own child and their needs and goals.  If you can make this situation work and ignore the annoying aspects, you are in the right place.  Otherwise, it is time to move on, to another dance school, or another activity all together.

 

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Polar
On 1/19/2013 at 3:14 PM, Danza2 said:

As I'm feeling right now, we may be leaving our school soon. My daughter's dance development has more or less been restricted and she needs to move on. she is not being groomed for a professional path in dance. This is what she wants and she has talent. Sadly, she loves her school and doesn't want to leave. The truth of the matter is, if the staff does not beleive in her as much as she beleives in herself, she needs to move on. This is a hard decision we are making as parents. My daughter doesn't understand it.

 

It's not about parts anymore. In fact, she was casted quite well for the latest holiday production. It's about receiving the training she deserves. She is moving along, but not at a pace equal to her skill set and abilities.

Goodness, this was written 5 years ago, but it rings true in a lot of ways. I wonder how things are for you now Danza2? 

My personal learning curve affects this response, but in all things, it would seem to me, if the artistic director has pegged your dancer in a spot where their progress is stunted, and that does not necessarily mean their ability to keep training and learning just their ability to progress in any way be that casting or otherwise, if you can look elsewhere you should at least do so. This thread has incredibly valuable input, I'm glad this popped back up. 

Favoritism and smiling favorably upon benefactors children or grandchildren is a part of life that dancers must reconcile, and the earlier the better. But I do see these less than "fair" circumstances as excellent opportunities, especially for younger dancers, to teach them to trust their gut. If the casting seems slanted, if the decisions seem biased, trust your gut. Then evaluate your options and remember that you always can do nothing. It's a boundary a dancer has got to be comfortable with establishing and maintaining. Some dancers will be able to brush it off without a second thought, some will need to make a drastic change. Neither is wrong as long as they are true to their own values and their own needs. Honor your commitments and then do what is necessary.

I would be curious to know how valuable others think it is to talk to an AD when situations like this arise. As a parent I've been increasingly feeling as though discussions like this, about children, not when done by pre professional or professional dancers for themselves, are a waste of time. The AD has spoken and if they truly had corrections and areas of improvement that they identify they are probably discussing that with the dancers at some point. For myself I will just let their decisions speak for themselves first as I've found trying to get meaningful data from these discussions turned out to be an exercise in futility and invited far more stress than whatever prompted it in the first place.

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DanceMumNYC

Thanks for your response, Gabby’s mom. There are few places to go that offer good/professional training in various genres (yes even in NY). I know of 3 well-known schools. There are probably hidden gems here or there, but I’ve yet to find them or hear about them. Moving to another activity isn’t an option as dancing is my dd’s current goal and she is in a pre-prof school for ballet in addition to this one. 

Polar, thank you so much for the wisdom and advice you just shared. I didn’t look at it as stunting her growth because she is still in multiple classes at this school, and she’s learning a lot. But it is stunting her growth if I consider it the way you’ve described. The other 2 schools I’m considering have the same classes she takes now, but unfortunately they don’t offer the ones she’s been limited from taking. It’s hard to find a non-competition school that offers contemporary, lyrical, etc. Those schools’ schedules also change year to year and may conflict with her ballet schedule. This one has weekend-only options. 

I also didn’t consider having dd speak up for herself. She’s very shy and still young (turn 10). This isn’t like a pre-prof ballet school where the AD teaches/watches the classes and gives each dancer comments and corrections. I’m not sure if she’s ever spoken to my dd at all besides the hi’s and bye’s in the halls. :huh:

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