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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Dance Teachers role


Siegelife

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You probably already know the situations that my dd and I have been facing here lately. Well, things have begun to change at her school now. I don't know what to quite make of it yet. Just enjoying the fact that maybe they're just making a change for the better. Since the initial thinking that we were going to change schools they have moved dd up to the next level. She has only done two classes so far but really enjoyed them. Now, suddenly on the bulletin board they had a note posted about if you wanted to know about your dd/ds's progress to write a note and leave it at the front desk and their teacher would call you. They stated like it was the perfect opportunity being the middle of the year. Now, this school hasn't done any type of evaluation and has left parents (at least myself) in the dark for two years outside of telling me she was being moved up to the next level. So, at this point it doesn't matter if the whole thing was stemmed from hearing about my dd possibly leaving, or just a student possibly leaving or whatever else they may have heard. Maybe it is only coincidence!!!! However, I am wondering what role a dance teacher should be expected to play. Should they be active in letting you know if maybe your dd/ds should be persuing their other talents and just enjoying dance as an activity? Should they let you know if they feel that your dd/ds is getting their hopes up in the wrong field or be honest and let them know they may be better in a different form of dance? Should they be the ones confronting the students about persuing SI's etc to further themselves? Should they be recommending SI's or performances that they think a student would benefit from? Honestly, I didn't know about the SI world until I found this site. My dd went to her schools' two week SI last year for the first time. However, I had no idea about even going out of state etc. for the future. So, would I expect a teacher to offer this advice or is this something we must learn on our own? :)

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Some schools do this sort of thing, even to the extent of saying, "everybody has to go someplace else this summer" to students in the teenage generation. Other places, you're on your own. Some teachers go into a snit when you express a desire to do something different for the summer, others can't help you enough, "Gotta go? What's your hurry? Here's your hat. Don't let the door hit you in the tusch on the way out!" It's not that they want to get rid of you, they want to increase their students' experiential portfolio, and maybe even learn something from it themselves! It takes a secure teacher to be able to do that.

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  • Administrators

Most schools who encourage their students to go away once they reach a certain age and level will be quite happy to discuss this with the parents. The students usually learn of the summer programs from the older dancers in the school, and also from reading Dance and/or Pointe magazines. In a small school perhaps the teacher has the ability to contact all the parents, but in a school like ours I expect the parents to come to me and ask about SI programs for their child, and also to ask about their progress and ability. I do not seek out the parents unless there is a problem of some kind with the child's progress. However, there are yearly evaluations, and there are parent observation days two or three times a year. At that time the parents are invited to talk to us. Those who ask for a meeting will always get one, but I don't set up meetings for all of my students, as that would simply not be possible. I work with at least 100 students in 4 different levels.

 

This year we did initiate a meeting for the parents of these 4 levels, which are the Int. and Adv. students, 13 and up, to inform them about SI programs and discuss those we felt were the most beneficial for our students. We told them about the shorter programs we like for first time away students, and the longer programs for the "veterans". We discussed certain programs that we don't recommend and why.

 

But in terms of progress, potential for future, and also individual SI plans, the parents need to be pro-active here and ASK for a conference. :rolleyes:

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The one thing I might recommend as you approach a meeting with a teacher, siegelife, is to not expect that any of them has a crystal ball. I think there's a temptation, especially when a student is young, to wish and hope and pray that you could find your child a mentor with a clear and accurate vision of their future -- and that just ain't gonna happen! And I think a lot of teachers have gotten burned when they do dare to make recommendations and predictions, because when things don't turn out exactly as they say, some parents can be very unforgiving. Focus on a discussion of the here and now -- what's going now in the studio, not whether a decision can be made about dancing being a future hobby or profession. As for SIs, I personally think that it's best to be with a school where you can talk about SI options and not have to hide it. If they want to talk you out of it, then hopefully they'll do so with rationalism and not emotionalism.

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Thanks so much for the info. It puts into perspective what I should expect and not to expect. I don't want miracles for my dd or any info that other dancers don't receive. I just wanted to make sure that I shouldn't be getting more than I already am. So, I am very proud of these new procedures at our dance studio. They do post some SI's as well on the bulletin board so that is encouraging. Thanks for all of the information and I appreciate all of the help. :rolleyes:

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