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Etiquette for parents


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I was just looking for some basic rules of etiqette that should be followed by parents of dancers.


For example, what are some general "rules" that you all follow to keep things running well with everybody involved in the studio. Am especially looking for guidelines with other parents, but need suggestions for teachers and directors as well.


What are the definite no-no's? What are the absolute musts?



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Not all of these are etiquette, but here goes.


Don't be pushy. An aggressive ballet parent is not a pretty thing. Your dancer will succeed without over involvement on your part.


Trust the school's teachers to do their thing. They know ballet, you don't. That said, always trust your gut if something doesn't seem right.


You can stay in touch without being overbearing. Call, email, or schedule an in person discussion with dance teacher(s) once or twice a year. I am sure they will be happy to speak with you about your DK's progress - especially when they are not hurrying off to the next class.


Don't hover over your DK's class in progress (if school allows you to watch). It is a little creepy. Only watch the class when you are specifically invited by the teacher. There is plenty of time to see her practice the latest combination in the kitchen or down the grocery aisle.


Do your best not to compare your DK to other dancers either in your head or out loud. Everyone progresses at their own speed. Do not feel compelled to move daughter ahead with her class if she is not ready (simply because she should dance with girls her age). It is fun to watch them progress and natural to want to see even more progress. When that happens remind yourself of how far your DK has come in the past year.


Only give positive feedback to DK. Corrections should come from the teachers.


If you want to be more involved in your DK's favorite pastime, volunteer with the school or company (if there is one). Most places are happy to have extra help around Nutcracker, recital and fundraiser time.


Enjoy the process. It takes time to make a dancer.

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Be positive about other peoples' children.


Thank teachers.


Find out what the general rules and customs are for watching class or rehearsals, entering dressing rooms, etc.


If they seek volulnteers and your schedule conflicts or you are bad at what they need, let them know of a skill or talent or time that you could donate or ask for other opportunties to help.


Assume the best about others; don't gossip or believe it.


Find out how the studido likes questions or concerns posed.


Be clear on what kind of communication the studio desires on sick absenses or vacation, etc. absenses. As well as their policy on misses for rehearsals, etc.


Oooh - big one is to always have student there early/on time.


Another big one - always have your dancer have what they need to present well - neat hair, in bun or as instructed, clean dance wear, color as instructed, no tears or holes (extra pair of tights in bag).


Be positive and encouraging, but pay attention to signs of undue stress.


Let the student have their world .... they don't need to practice at home, you don't need to tutor them - just have'm clean and ready and attired - and remember to pick up flowers in advance for recitals and performances.


Enjoy all that driving and waiting - it will end too soon. :yes:

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Don't discuss auditions, audition results and casting with other parents at the studio. Answer questions honestly if asked, but don't give any 'editorial comments'.


Find other parents who are further along in this journey and ask them to share their experiences and impressions when the situation arises. Ballet Talk is a great place for that!


Do own your research on summer programs, styles of training, etc. This is an excellent place for that too! :) If your dancer sticks with ballet, at some point you will be faced with the daunting task of SI auditions and knowledge is key!


Learn all you can about what good ballet training entails and then determine if your studio measures up well. See what happens to graduating seniors from the school, as this is often a good indicator of the effectiveness of the program.


When visiting days are scheduled, attend them! Watch different levels, if possible. You will learn volumes about ballet training by observing classes, when appropriate.


Once you determine that your studio is a good training ground for classical ballet, let the teachers and AD do their job, without any 'coaching' from you.


Accept casting decisions gracefully. Your dancer will learn by your example. NEVER question the AD regarding casting.


Provide transportation, support and funds. Resist the urge to make the studio your 2nd home.


Let teachers know that you appreciate their efforts and interest in your dancer.


If you do ask a teacher for guidance regarding summer programs or dancer training, make sure you are willing to take that advice. Problems can arise when you ask for guidance and then don't take it.


Enjoy the journey. One day you will look back and marvel at all YOU have learned as a result of your child's interest in ballet! :)

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Some of my tried-and-trues:


1. When someone offers your child a compliment, return the favor ASAP!


2. When the ballet lobby world is "too much with you," stay out of it. That's what God made libraries and coffee shops for.


3. I think the only safe, at-home dance advice I ever offer is the "other side" request. We all know this one. DK is throwing pirouettes or demonstrating amazing feats of flexibility in the kitchen. You tell them to make sure they do said skill on the "other side" so they don't start favoring their best side over the other. (and stop them of course from doing something on any side if it's a skill best left in the studio!)


4. Don't intervene with other people's children in the lobby area, unless death is imminent. And even then, say nothing after you do step in to help avert death.


5. Avoid turning the ride home into a rehash of class. There's plenty of other things to talk about.


6. Don't be afraid to set boundaries for yourself and your child's time. There are nice ways to say "no" while still showing support for a school.


7. And remember -- all crises pass and are replaced quickly with a new crisis du jour in the arts world. Nothing is the end of the world. Nothing should be taken personally.

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Follow the golden rule: Treat others with the same respect you expect them to treat you. Treat others children with the same respect you expect yours to be treated. If you can't or can't deal with people who can't, find the closest Starbucks and sip slowly.



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I think the best advice for dancer's parents is to get out of the lobby as much as possible. Ballet mom gossip is evil. It's how Ballet Urban Legends get started.

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Idle talk, or rumor, especially about someone else's private affairs is surely bad form and not nice, but "evil" is crossing the threshold into something with an intent to hurt someone or be purposely cruel. Let me believe that no one on here would do that - please. :mondieu:


Let's just stick with bad manners and a waste of time. :pinch::grinning:

Edited by BW
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In my line of work, I have had to put out more fires caused by the malicious intent of a parent than by anything a student ever did. From my point of view (albeit, from the inside of a school) it is evil.

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Seriously, LMCtech, I do know what you're talking about. It's a sad fact that people like this exist in all walks of life but seem to show up more when the competition gets hot and heavy. :grinning:


That said, I've had many a fine conversation in a ballet school lobby that was completely devoid of evil. :mondieu: However, when possible, I always preferred to get out and head to that coffee shop around the corner, as momfo3darlings mentioned - and chat there with a friend or two. :pinch:

Edited by BW
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Forgive me if I'm slightly off subject, but the nicest ballet lobby time I've had was before last year's annual performance, being part of the 'sewing circle'.


We sat together in the lobby while our little darlings rehearsed and hand-sewed what need to be sewed. As I didn't know any of the other mums, I made a couple of quiches on the first week and we shared lunch and each week after that we would bring little things to share while we sewed.


By performance time, I knew several mums and a couple of my dd's teachers quite well and we had shared a lot of conversation, some about ballet, some about the rest of the world or about ourselves. I found out a lot more about the teachers also, where they had come from, what they had done previous to coming to the school and what their basic philosophy was regarding teaching ballet.


Only one diva mum among us, but because we were all having such a lovely time there no room for any nastiness, so she sort of withdrew from the group (her choice not ours).


It was a very rewarding experience!

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Now that's a lovely story. It restores my faith in ballet moms. I withdraw the "evil" comment.


We have a group of moms who walk together every day. Sort of a fitness group. Seems like another good idea.

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One more idea -- once you're no longer a newbie, "adopt" another Mom who is!! Invite her to lunch, show her the local hangouts...it's tough for the new people to break into the "circle" sometimes. And they have as much to offer the veterans as we do them --- different perspectives for sure.

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