Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers
Guest Gindratt

Questioning of Faculty Behavior

Recommended Posts

Guest Gindratt

Hello. I am a new member, having just recently discovered this wonderful site, and would appreciate some feedback about some serious question I have, especially from teachers and/or directors of any pre-professional programs. I have searched and read everything to see if anyone out there is now or has ever experienced what we have, but there is nothing even close. This really scares me!

 

My daughter is in a pre-prof program and we are very concerned this last year or so about the ever-increasing level of abuse that seems to be happening on a very regular basis. It is way beyond the yelling episodes that I've seen posted here. She's actually graduating from h.s. this spring so we will be out the door, but it is very hard to leave knowing that her friends, a lot of really lovely kids, will continue to have to put up with this.

 

The male teachers seem out of control. The cursing is ridiculous, including every word immaginable. One teacher likes to throw chairs. They throw temper tantrums.

 

They kids are called names, told they are fat, stupid, spoiled, etc. They are told that they were truly preparing them for how it was in the "real" dance world. Eeekk!! Many of the kids are seeing counselors in order to just cope. Although they say they are concerned about injuries, if a rehearsal is happening you had better be dancing, injury or not, or you're in trouble.

 

Anyway, this is getting long and I really didn't mean to go on and on. I really wish I had found this group earlier on because I see there are so many caring teachers. I feel guilty and my daughter feels tired and disappointed. We asked her to leave last year, but she insisted on finishing. She's very determined.

 

So, what I'm asking is some kind of feedback. Is this as they say, really the "real" dance world? Is this kind of abuse common amongst the older teachers and/or in the pre-prof programs? Any advice or comments would certainly be important. We're feeling devastated at this point.

 

Thank you all for listening and I'm sorry this is so long.

Edited by Gindratt

Share this post


Link to post
Guest fille'smom

I have heard of this before on another dance web site's discussion board. Sure would be nice if people would identify the schools that allow this kind of abuse so that others are informed before making decisions about which schools to attend. I think that it is disgusting and sounds like child abuse to me. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Cabriole

No, this is not how it is the 'real world'! Frankly, it sounds like your daughter's school has collected a staff of the 'walking wounded'. That is not to say this can't be found in small doses elsewhere, but since the school director is not acknowledging the problem, then it's not likely to change in the near future. I hope that with your daughter's graduation, she finds dancing a more pleasurable experience :D

Share this post


Link to post
BW

Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, Gindratt - I, too, wish you'd found your way here a long time ago. I am shocked at the circumstances you've described and disgusted by the behavior.

 

I know that we have a number of former professional dancers who are now teachers that will be able to respond to both the claim that this is training "the real world" of professional ballet and to the actions of these "teachers" as well. :D

 

I'm not sure what else to say right now. I've known of much more subtle displays of power and, even, "mental manipulation" - but your description of your daughter's program is the most blatant abuse of "power" and poor excuse for exercising it that I've ever heard of before.

 

Thank goodness your daugther's about to graduate. I hope she's not relying on these "teachers" for any sort of recommendations - I'd hate to think who their counterparts might be in the "real world" of ballet.

 

I also agree with filles'mom, that it would be great if you could share the name of the program. If not, I surely hope that you can come to the aid of the students who remain after your daughter's escape - that would be an act of love and caring, for sure.

 

Again, welcome to the board - hang in there and check back for more replies... I hope you'll become involved in other discussions on the board, as well. :thumbsup:

 

P.S. You've just heard from one excellent source already - we must have been posting at the same time.

Share this post


Link to post
Dave

It doesn't sound anything like the real world of the pre-professional school and professional ballet company in which I work.

 

Advice? Students should run -- not walk -- out of this place and find a REAL pre-professional school. Thank your lucky stars your daughter will soon be graduating into the real world.

Share this post


Link to post
dancedreams

No dancer should stay in a school that is verbally or physically abusive. My daughter's early dance career began at a school where yelling and swearing were the norm, as were kicks to the leg before correction. This faculty behavior was directed at the less skilled dancers. Even though my daughter was never directly screamed at or kicked, she did not want to go to class. Because we were so inexperienced or just stupid we did not immediately pull her out of this school. After we did pull her out we found a school that had much better class offerings, and faculty who were skilled and nurturing instead of abusive.

Share this post


Link to post
crzctldt

I am appalled at the behaviors you described! I hope your daughter will not have any lingering effects from the abuses . I,too, would be interested in learning which school your daughter attends. My DD is thinking of going to NCSA next year. Please tell me that is not the school in question.

Share this post


Link to post
vagansmom

Hello, Gindratt, welcome to our forum! I'm sorry it took you so long to find us but now that you're here, I hope you enjoy your stay. :D

 

What you describe is not only unacceptable; depending on the context, it might be criminal. If this is a school of the arts, I am assuming that it is an academic/arts school all rolled into one? Is it privately or publicly funded?

 

Can you describe the context of some of the physical abuse? Being hit with a water bottle could mean it was thrown directly at a student by a teacher; if it were filled with water, that's dangerous and in fact, criminal. If it was empty and tossed in her direction but happened to hit her on the head, it might not be a criminal act but it's certainly an irresponsible act. If, however, a teacher tapped a student on the head with a water bottle, that would be fairly benign. So context is truly important before one goes up the chain of command and reports a behavior.

 

When I went to the school director to complain about all this, I was told that they were truly preparing them for how it was in the "real" dance world

No way! Education of minors is NEVER, EVER about teaching them how to accept abuse! Never.

 

In answer to your question - no, this is absolutely not common. Not the tantrum fits. Not the degree and constancy of what you describe.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest Gindratt

Thank you all for replying so quickly. I'm sitting here thinking how pathetic it is that I hesitate to name the school. Also wondering if doing that could mean making it worse for my daughter if we were to be recognized by faculty if they were to be reading. I guess it's a limp excuse but I have to think about it. They have made it clear to the kids that they can pick up the phone and make or break their possibilities with companies. I'm not buying it, but it's very real to the kids. The hidden threats always loom over their heads.

 

Thank you all. Thanks Dave, glad PNB is not like that. Amazing how the main teachers seem to lead the pack. The nurse says they are "old school" and she is very worried, trying very hard to help counsel the kids, aware of the problems and very concerned but in fear of losing her job. It has seemed overwhelming and sometimes hopeless. I asked my daughter what she would say if someone asked on this board if she would recommend the school. She laughed, her answer was, "Well, if they want really wonderful technique training and don't care of their kid is practically suicidal by the end, then it's the place for them." I guess that says it all.

 

So many horror stories come to mind. And I haven't even touched on the living conditions. I am sorry to take up so much time and space.

 

I mainly wanted to hear that it isn't widespread. You have no idea how much your comments mean, it is such validation for all we are experiencing. I will pass much of it on to other concerned parents. After having read this board for awhile, I am very aware of how knowledgeable you all are and your opinions mean so much! We are still considering some form of action after leaving, not sure what at this point. It's so hard to get a "group effort", parents are all over the country/world.

Edited by Gindratt

Share this post


Link to post
Guest dancegirl39

I am thinking about arts schools, so could you please let us know what school this is to prevent anyone from attending. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Mel Johnson

I would advise against it, for the reasons gindratt has expressed above.

 

Listen, the world of ballet is not conducted like that. Mad Russians were in vogue in the 1930s, but only the Nice Russians made it to the 60s. And those Mad Bad Russians who arrived later than the first wave only lasted a few years. There is no justification in the world that will stand up to scrutiny for these ethical, moral and legal lapses. Not even perfect technique. :)

 

I'm glad that your dd is getting out of there. It sounds like a perfect hell. :P

Share this post


Link to post
dbleon

In my opinion, this IS NOT borderline at all...this has crossed way over to the abusive side. Any program or board of directors that allow and in effect condone this type of abuse to permeate their school deserve to have their name in print and face the music in a court of law!. :P

No child deserve this type of abuse and humiliation! :) Our responsiblity as a parent is to always protect them...(although I certainly understand your position as have been there somewhat) It's a difficult choice to make! :thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post
Alina

This behavior in the professional dance world is completely unprofessional and unacceptable. I work for the school of a professional company and if any of the school faculty, school administrators, school directors, or company ballet masters exhibited that kind of behavior they would no longer have a job in this organization. Even the Artistic Director could not conduct himself that way. As the AD here would never do so, the example comes from the top. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect. Yes, it is a tough critical art form but all criticism needs to be delivered in a professional manner. There are lots of disappointments that dancers experience and it is not a "democratic" world but it is not and should not be a tyranical society. I am appalled that this kind of abusive environment still exists in the dance world in some places. No student, parent, or dancer should tolerate that abuse of power from those who are in charge. There are far healthier environments out there where dancers can train. It is a shame that teachers like that don't realize that they are contributing to the demise of the artforms' audience as they strip the love of dance from their students.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest fille'smom

I am sorry that you will not let others know where this abuse is taking place as my daughter is also considering an "arts" school next year. I do understand your hesitation. Sure wish that you had private messege privledges. I'd certainly like to protect my daughter from the abuse that you describe! We already went through a relocation that was a bad experience. It has taken several months for my dd to recover from this short lived bad decision. I will almost certainly loose my mind if my daughter has to go through what you describe!

Share this post


Link to post
AsleepATheWheel

If you or any other Ballet Alert members are currently considering an 'arts' school for next year...visit the school, if you can, more than once, and attend their summer intensive if possible. One of the visits should be a 'surprise' visit. Look in on classes, definately visit the dorms and talk to any dance students that you can. Kids are generally pretty honest about what is going on.

 

I can well understand the poster not wanting to divulge the name of the school. Her daughters safety and well being could be at risk.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...