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Changing Schools; switching programs

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imdriving

When I moved dd to a new studio I really didn't feel that I had to write a letter or give an explanation of our decision. I'm sure they knew I had dd's best interest at heart and was just trying to find the best situation for her. I really doubt that you can effect change in a studio with one conversation or a letter. They believe in what and how they are doing things. After all they feel they are the professionals and you are paying for their advice and instruction.

 

So I elected to have an in-person conversation thanking the teacher for everything she taught dd. In fact, even her bad lessons have proven to be valuable growing experiences. So dd left happy and we moved on to a much better situation. I will say we didn't inform the old studio until her last class. It is always difficult to change and I didn't want dd to feel any pressure to change her decision once it had been made. Of course, they didn't want her to leave and dangled a few reasons it would be better to stay.

 

I think more notice would only have served to make the leaving harder on both sides.

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mini cooper

One more thing I might add - being up front about leaving does not mean you need to be up front about your reasons for leaving.

 

Babasaroo went above and beyond the call of duty in trying to explain why hoping they could benefit from the information. In our case, we would not have known where to begin! We left it at moving on to a bigger school, and hoping to have more mentors for our dd, and the scheduling that a larger school affords. I did not want to get into specific points. Anyone leaving the school prior to us did it with some volatility. We chose to try to do it quietly, without stepping on toes, and with no fanfare.

 

I did write a letter as soon as we made the commitment to the new school because there was no way I would do it in person. It resulted in phone calls, nasty phone messages, nasty phone calls and emails to our new school, horrible things being said about our family in front of other students - the list goes on. As recently as December, (after we moved at the end of January '04) our new school received a nasty email - eleven months after we left. That is with 100% no contact. We have chosen to take the high road, and not dignify this person's bad behavior with bad behavior on our part. You can only imagine what an in-person meeting would have been like. We were not going to subject ourselves to that. In retrospect, I am not sure this was the right approach. However, our behavior has been beyond reproach, and I feel very good that she did not force us to stoop to her level. Hiring a lawyer at some point to stop the harassment may be an option.

 

I give you too much information to stress no matter how you slice it, this is not easy. You must discern for yourself the best move. Just remeber, don't be afraid... once you make your decision, go forth and be ready to move faster than you had anticipated. On the other hand there are success stories out there.

 

mc

:)

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chauffeur

I just wanted to say thank you to mini cooper for detailing what her family went through. Our DD and we endured some badmouthing with her switch. Nothing close to what mini cooper has obviously gone through, but still painful nonetheless. We chose the "high road" method of non-response, too. Only time and good behavior proves these people wrong and, I firmly believe, in the end they do more damage to themselves and their own reputations than to ours.

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thedriver

Mimicooper, I also want to thank you for sharing your experience. I wish I had found BTFD at the time my DD made her switch. Our experience was not nearly as traumatic as yours. DD was labeled spoiled and selfish for making her mother drive so much “just for dance” and I was labeled “a fool for driving my child so far just for dance-lessons”. We also chose not to respond and let the results speak for us. Like Siegelife’s DD the switch meant less performing opportunities but to this day we have never regret the decision to change studios.

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mini cooper

Thanks to chauffeur and thedriver for your comments. We do get our validation as more and more people figure out that we were not crazy for making the move we did. However, others on this board have had departures equally or more traumatic than ours. You'll find that I don't mind sharing the good AND the bad. Making a big change like this is never easy for all the reasons outlined in previous posts.

 

But, it is good to know that there are others out there who have been down this path, share in the difficulty it presents, and have lived to tell about it. It does take a while to heal. We have never looked back with any regret, and are perfectly willing to take what is handed out because we know we made the right decision. It gets validated every time there is another email or voice message.

 

mc

:)

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Siegelife

BW-my screen name is actually my last name-Siegel and life combined. Nothing horrible. :)

 

Anyways, I appreciate everyone's input on this. Haven't made the final decision yet until we are at the new school for a little while. If dd likes it there then we will write a letter the month before the final class. I would like to keep her in both schools as long as I can maybe. However, if she moves up to the next level it will completely interfere with the new school. Also if new teacher wants to add more classes there it will interfere with school #1. I don't believe either school would enjoy knowing that she is going to another school. New school teacher already knows the dilemma. I'll let you know what is decided towards the end of next month maybe. Thanks!!! :thumbsup:

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Siegelife

****UPDATE****

 

Ok, so it comes sooner than I thought, much sooner. It just so happens that my dd was just moved up this week by the current school. Which, of course, interferes with the second school completely. Went to the second school for classes today and was not as impressed as I was last week. Don't know if it was the weather and only the dedicated over achievers only showed up or if it was more like 'staged'. A couple of the girls on pointe were definately not strong enough-way too young. The class was three times the size it was last week. Also not sure if dd was moved up at current studio because of possible rumors of leaving or it just happend to be right before the second semester started. Probably will never know these answers. However, we will stay with the current school. There, that is now over..........thank goodness. Thanks again everyone!!! This is the best website ever.

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FairyofMine

Hello,

 

Let me say first, I am so very glad to have found this board. It is a wealth of information. As of late, it has been a great source of interest as there have been many threads pertaining to what our family is struggling with at the moment.

 

When my daughter was three we took her to see the Nutcracker. I still remember vividly how when the snowflakes started their dance my daughter stood up and started moving with the music in front of her chair mimicking the arms of the dancers and exclaiming "I want to be a ballerina!" I am sure many parents here have had that moment as well. After the performance a day did not go by without her "dancing" so the next year we enrolled her in the Performing Arts School associated with the Ballet Company which is an hour away from our home. She has now been at the school for seven years. Five years ago she was placed in a special "handpicked" class. They have taken great interest in her for which I am grateful. She has had many wonderful experiences associated with the performance opportunities as well as positive relationships with some truly amazing teachers.

 

My concern began last year when her class was preparing to go en pointe. My daughter had only turned nine a few months before. I was extremely apprehensive and voiced my concern which was answered by "she is strong, she will be fine." "You don't want her to get left behind" My daughter has always been the youngest in the class with the others between one and three years older. Against my better judgment, I allowed her to be placed en pointe. (major mother guilt here) Since then I have begun to notice other things I am concerned about in regards to "rushing" of younger and not yet strong students. Lack of "seriousness" in older students. In my own daughter I have seen a loss of technical ability because she is so focused on trying to stay balanced on her pointe shoes. Specifically, pulling up her shoulders and chest to stay balanced. We were told when her class went up en pointe that it would only be for a few minutes at the end of class but shortly it became with one of her teachers a whole class with the pointe shoes on and ending in grand jetes, pirouettes and of all things...fouettes!

 

Recently, I took my daughter to attend another Ballet School an hour in the other direction. I was astounded by the technical ability and focus of even the youngest students. Afterwards, the teacher told us dd has the ability to become a professional which of course my dd was "over the moon" about. The next weekend just happened to be an examination which is something so completely new to us. My dd was allowed to attend the examination and did remarkably well. We were given written results with the areas she must correct. (a lot of bad habits) WOW! My dd is so very excited about how focused the children are in the classes as well as adoring her new teacher. My daughter describes her as "very strict but very caring" which in my eyes is a very nice combination. I must say this school is so very different from anything I have ever seen before.

 

So here I am at the proverbial "fork in the road."

 

At the moment she is enrolled at both schools...

 

School #1 which she considers home (I think it would break her heart to leave) where she is dancing 4.5 hours a week, is offered great performance opportunities and where she could remain and dance her whole life if she liked.

 

School #2 where she is now training another 3 hours a week. I feel this environment is healthier, more focused and they would take her off pointe until they felt she was truly ready.

 

Throw into this whole mix two wonderful younger brothers who are starting to resent our lives revolving around dd's ballet which I totally understand. We spend nearly every night on the road traveling to and from Ballet. The costs have become something of an issue as well. I am a SAHM with my husband's income only modest. I wish it wasn't an issue but it is. If we moved to the same town as School #2 then it would cut our costs dramatically as well as the added benefit of the Ballet School's affiliation with a nationally recognized prep-school which the local students contractually attend. While attending High School she would have the potential to be in the pre-professional program with 10 hours of instruction a week paid for through the school!

 

Gosh, I am sorry this is so very long but there really is no one to discuss this with or would understand where I am in all this. I guess I would just like some feedback where all of this is concerned. Sometimes it is overwhelming to have a child with so much passion and worrying about doing what is right for your child.

 

Thank you,

 

FairyofMine

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Victoria Leigh

FairyofMine, I don't think there is any question here. Make the move! Now! Change schools. She will get over the "heartbreak". If the family can move and save a lot of expense, that would be great too.

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rubiraven

Our life has revolved around training for a long time. It is the fact of life for the family of dance kids. We try to minimize the impact on the "other kid" in our house and since we have two kids and two parents it is a pretty OK split.

 

 

The thing we always weighed was when we hit the point of diminishing return. Technique cannot be rushed and to be a technically strong dancer that is not at a big name school is what you really want. The pain of moving on is something we all need to learn.

 

Trust your mom instinct, you will do what is right.:yucky:

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Redstorm

If I would have known then what I know now....

Change schools and get your daughter the best possible training available to her. It will save a lot of time, money and frustration later. While we are lucky to have found a good school relatively early (dd is 13) the undoing of some bad habits and poor training could have been avoided if I had had even a third of the information I have now. We drive close to 45 minutes a day each way, 7 days a week. Sometimes it is difficult and I don't want to get into the car, but it is a commitment we have agreed to.

Don't worry about leaving the old school behind. They do get over it and once they see the improvement in themselves they will be forever grateful for the change!

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Siegelife

Fairyofmine-Going through a similar thing right now as you are it's hard for me to correctly give advice. However, you're lucky in the fact that it sounds like the first school is something, in my opinion, run from. Not only their insisting that she be put on pointe so young but the older girls not taking class so seriously. Dance is a discipline and not everyone can do it even if they have the body for it. You have to have the mind and comittment to do it as well. Class should be taken very seriously and the teacher respected. I do have to say my current school, the one I have been somewhat questioning, is very strict with dress code, hair etc. You can also here a pin drop on the floor or your asked to leave. Now, this is not done in a mean way, it's just known. And I respect that and totally agree. I'm questioning my dd who will be 10 soon and with her teachers possibly asking me about pointe. I've tried asking all the questions, even my MD. I will definately ask a lot of questions when the day comes. My dd has taken ballet for about a little over three years now. She started in pre-ballet which was one 1 hr class a week, went on to Ballet 1 at 7yrs and took two 1 hr classes a week, moved up to Ballet II just over a year ago where she has been taking two classes a week-one being 1 1/2 hrs and the other 2 hrs w/pre-pointe the last 1/2 hr of it. Now she is being moved up to Ballet III where she will take 3 classes a week, one 1 1/2 hr class, one class that is for 2 1/2 hrs which includes an hour of pointe (in flat for now) and one class of 1 hr of jazz. This is spread out in three days. Her teachers have danced with Cleveland Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Sna Jose Ballet and The National Ballet of Washington DC and is currently the Assistant Artistic Director for Central Pennsylvanis You Ballet Summer Program. So, I'm assuming their credentials pan out. However, other schools have credentials too. I still feel, as a parent, that I need to raise questions when it comes to something important such as being on pointe. However, at my current studio it is very hard for me to feel that I can approach the teachers-except for one. However, at the level my dd has been over this last year she hasn't danced much with this teacher until recently. So, after all of this it all comes down to being a hard decision. I really would like an outside set of eyes tell me if she is learning correctly, what she can do to improve and let us off the hook if she doesn't have what it takes. Maybe we'll learn something this summer at CPYB.

 

Fairyofmine-I feel for what you're going through. Never thought it would be this crazy. But even though it's crazy and I lost many nights of sleep over this.....my dd and myself still love the ballet. Good luck!!!!!! :yucky:

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LMCtech

If your daughter has any interest in being a professional, you will need to move to a school with better training as soon as possible.

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freespirit

I agree with everyone else. Move her! My daughter is 11 1/2, has trained just as long as your dd, takes way more hours a week (15hrs) and just barely started on pointe. She isn't allowed to pointe in the center yet, and has never done a foutte! Her original school seems to move way too fast. She won't be able to focus on technique if she has work on new skills all the time.

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FairyofMine

Thank you all for your words of wisdom. I have read your responses and have taken them to heart. She is still so very young. At ten years old I still think of her as my little girl so it is difficult to make choices regarding a future that seems so far away although I know it will go by in a "blink of an eye." Sometimes, I wish I could go back to her very first recital. It was all so very SIMPLE!

 

Thank you again for your insight...

 

FairyofMine

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