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Ballet Talk for Dancers

frustrated with dance studio


Guest happycc

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Guest happycc

I have in general been pleased with our dance studio but something has been bothering me as of late and that is their (the 3 of the 4 owners) treatment of boys.

They don't say much to my son as he is generally quiet and passive. He is very serious.

However I have seen the owners yell at other children in the school whether they be vistors or not over virtually nothing. My husband calls them little Natzi's.

Today I brought in two adolescent boys who might be potential lesson takers in the fall. They are friends of my son. The owners pretty much flipped out and claimed they were too loud-they have baritone voices. But in general I have seen it much louder there and they don't say anything about it -especially if they are the dance company teens.

This really set me off as this happen right after we (the two boys and I) just took one of the dance teacher's three young boys (her babysitter flaked on her) on a long walk during one of her classes. She had asked me to and I figured the two boys would be of great help. Well gee for the thanks I get...Instead I get asked rudely how much longer are those boys staying and she comes out and yells at them and tells them that this is a business. Then another owner comes out and shakes her head rudely to me.

In fact the first things they said to me about them was he seems awfully big. Doesn't he seem to be too old to be playing with your kids.

The studio is always complaining that they don't have enough boys....how on earth do they expect to get more boys if they don't lighten up a bit. They don;t like it when parents leave their kids unattended but yet they get upset when siblings are there waiting.

Another thing I am suspecting is that the two youths that I brought in were dark skinned. I was told by one of the teachers there that 3 of owners have always had issues with dark skinned people.

 

So I am at wits end. The place has been rather like a family to us and they have played an important part in my son's development but this kind of threw me off and I am not sure how to approach this....

 

Are all dance schools like this? kind of Stuff?

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Mel Johnson

Good God, no. This is 'way overboard. In fact, it may even be actionable as sex discrimination (hostile environment) under various state and federal laws.

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Guest PAmom

Noise levels at studios can be a problem but having owners rant and yell at clients is unacceptable even when they are having a "bad day." At our studio there are times when I, as a member of the staff, have to remind groups of excited students that we share the building with other businesses. I follow the faculty's lead by showing firmness with decorum, "flipping out" would not be helpful to anyone.

 

I can understand faculty and staff noticing a new baritone voice in the school. It might cause a head to briefly pop into or out of a classroom or office to see who it was but, unless they were causing a ruckus, I can't imagine that the presence of a new gentleman would be an occasion for anything other than a welcoming smile.

 

Unfortunately, racial prejudice is alive and well and I would hope that the mention of it by the instructor at your school was just gossip. If a school chooses to treat their clients with such disrespect, I cannot see how it would thrive if there are other schools to choose from in the area.

 

t

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Yuck, yuck, yuck.

 

Our ballet company and school shares space with a church in historic building with original Tiffany stained glass, among other things. The ballet leases most of the building 6.5 days/week, and the church uses it on Sundays. The basement is filled with a lot of social service programs, including a food pantry and a homeless newspaper.

 

Needless to say, we get all kinds of people wandering in all the time:

* Homeless people looking for something in the basment

* Tourists who think that because it's a historic church, they can just walk right in like they own the building and look at the stained glass, no matter whta kind of dance activity is going on. Once they discover a ballet rehearsal is going on, they think they can just walk right into the studio and watch it too.

* Members of the church on various business

* And of course, zillions of dancers and parents and siblings and friends

 

Most of the time, things are fine. Now and then, a lost soul wanders in who looks like he doesn't belong and he doesn't have business there. The one cardinal rule seems to be to NEVER lose one's temper and yell at the person. The random lost homeless people are treated with respect. The pushy tourists are probably the hardest: sometimes they need to be told firmly, multiple times, that they need to leave.

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Guest mic31

The owners of that school should come to one of my son's tap classes. There are 50 boys. The whole place just shakes when they are practicing or taking class.

As for the racial discrimination problems, I'd pull junior, you don't really want him learning any of that garbage. :shrug:

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Speaking as a parent of a danicng son, find another studio, fast. If they don't want to deal with boys, other studios will.

 

Just my two cents, but racism is alive and well. Fight it with every breath

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Mel Johnson

And don't stop with just racism! Fight bigotry wherever you find it!!!

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  • 8 years later...

I've not experienced this specific type of problem at our studio, but many others. Here is my philosophy of dealing with them ... as long as my son is happy there, is progressing in his skill level, is safe (from physical and emotional abuse), and can stay focused on learning and performing... we will stay. I refuse to let the behavior of others steal his joy or opportunity to pursue his passion. We take each of these negative experiences as a learning experience for him. In reality, the dance world is brutal and it he truly wants to do this as a profession, he needs to learn to deal appropriately with all of the problems - nasty ballerinas, rude dance moms, dance teachers who make him do the same "girly" moves in their class because they won't take the time to give him something more masculine to do, teasing by others, dancers and parents spreading false rumors, other parents saying he only gets roles because he is a boy (not because of his talent), being excluded from parties, derogatory comments about his size, etc. He is learning to be respectful, honest, and compassionate regardless of how someone treats him. He is learning that it doesn't matter what others say - only taking the corrections his ballet master gives him and improving. He believes he is in this for the "long haul" and is willing to work very hard for it. He will be an honest man of character with a strong work ethic who doesn't need anyone else's approval to define his worth... because he is surviving as a boy in the dance world by taking responsibility and defending his passion. We do not expose him to the grief we endure as his parents, but help him deal with the negative that directly impacts him.

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