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Wanting exceptions made


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I'm starting to see this more and more.


Our program has certain rules, regulations and policies in place surrounding every aspect of our summer program especially admissions. More and more I am getting inquiries from people who acknowledge that they have read our policies, but want me to make an exception for their "talented dancer". WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?


I am sure I am not the only summer program administrator getting this kind of inquiry and it is a time suck. And I don't have time to waste right now.


WHAT IS GOING ON? Why do these parents think the rules don't apply to them? Can any of you parents out there give me some insight? :D

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  • BW


  • balletbooster


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While I well understand what you are saying and I can certainly imagine how annoying it is to have to deal with such requests- I must also present the other side of the coin. :D


As a member of this board, a parent of a student in a well-known residency and just from the various acquaintances that I have made along this journey, I've heard more stories than I can recount here of how a dancer (sometimes extremely talented, other times not so much) was made the exception and offered a spot at a highly sought after program either without auditioning at all, or when their audition score was lower than many others, or were allowed to live in the dorm when they were too young or live outside of the dorm when they weren't old enough or come to the program late or leave the program early or leave in the middle to honor other commitments, etc. etc. etc. when their teacher, or parent with some pull (be it financial, contacts, former dancer, etc.) or some other person with the necessary contacts went to the right person and asked for some special consideration.


This has occurred before the auditions were held, after all auditions were over, after a program was allegedly full, past the deposit deadline, in spite of written policies or the fact that others have been turned down for the same request, etc.


I think when you hear enough of these stories to assume that there is at least some basis in fact and when you personally experience one or more such event, you have to start thinking that exceptions are made and if you don't ask - you'll never know.


My anecdotal experience has shone that exceptions are made with more frequency than one would think in the ballet world. :blushing:

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I agree with balletbooster on all points within the ballet world. Making exceptions is often the rule at many of these programs so of course a parent will feel it's worth the try.


But, I am also a school teacher and have seen a greater rise in people wanting exceptions in this world too. Some of it is the entitlement ogre rearing its ugly head. Quite a few of these people have enough money or leverage within their own professional worlds that they apply the same beliefs to their children's world. And it works often enough for them to make it a habit.


To a certain degree in life, I like the idea of exceptions. It's an acknowledgement that we are all individuals. But when I am the one running the business, it's a mighty headache. :D

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I know that I am going to sound like an old grandma but there really are very few people of any age that try to work within the system.


My husband is a high school teacher and each new group of sophomores is getting worse. He has to regularly redirect students who don't know to not talk while the teacher is talking. I am not talking about high spirited kid stuff, just complete lack of respect for any authority.



These kids are driving without licenses, their parents do the make up work for them in classes that they have skipped (and don't even try to change their handwriting), the parents roll their eyes at the idea of following rules and it gets worse each year.


Dancers are more disciplined but, as has been noted, if you know the right person, the rules don't apply to you. I have tried to teach my kids to follow rules but I often feel like a dinosaur.

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Now I know that some parents can have tunnel vision when it comes to their children. However, there are two sides to this coin.


To add to balletbooster, while I generally am a rule follower and don't like those who don't, it is difficult to sit and watch opportunity pass you buy because you weren't assertive enough to ask while others were. And you certainly can't know until you ask. You can't fault someone for asking, you can just simply say no we don't allow for that.


I'm sure it's a time consumer but it's part of the job albeit not a fun part. I wonder if this dancer was TRULY talented or had parents who were big donors to the company associated with your school if there would be a question or like most, doors would fly open? Just food for thought!



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LMCtech, the reality is as others have posted and I know that there are quite a few who are holding back from posting their own verifiable lists of exceptions that they know about. I am also quite sure that this is a stressful time for people on all sides of this equation, as well. I've worked as a Registrar for an arts program, and even a small one get's crazy...so I can understand the pressures, etc. However, we all do know that exceptions are made very often in this ballet summer program world - whether they're due to a parent's call of inquiry that leads that way, or whether these exceptions are due to someone's special "pull".


LMCtech, what kinds of exceptions are you being asked to make?

Edited by BW
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I guess I'm just incredibly naive, but I would never dream of asking someone to "make an exception" for my child, and I had no idea it was so widespread! A teacher once offered to "make a phone call" for her, but she never pursued it because she felt funny about it (wanted to try to make it on her own merits.) Are we just clueless here to the point of placing my daughter at a disadvantage???

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I am a sort of shy person, fearful of bothering teachers and administrators etc, but it never ceases to amaze me that many parents are continually on the phone to the school, waiting for teachers outside of the studios and stalking them as they walk to their cars. They are extremely aggressive when it comes to advancing their child, and it goes without saying that their kids are 'exceptionally talented' and must be accomodated in a variety of ways. It seems to work for them...


I would like to think that if I were in a position of authority I would put them in their place. If your program has rules and policies and procedures, stick to them and be consistant in their enforcement. Dont apoligize for it either. I would respect that if it was uniformly enforced.

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Guest balletandsynchro

I myself have a number of anecdotal experiences both inside the ballet world and in the synchronized swimming world. I have seen both parents, and children make the most amazing requests, and surprisingly, many times these requests are fulfilled. I believe that if these parents were NOT getting their way, they wouldn't be asking. Plus, the situation compounds if the dancer or swimmer is considered very talented, well conected, an asset to the ballet school/team because of their ability, etc... and the school/team is afraid this individual will leave for another school/team. For some I think it is a matter of "If I don't ask, I won't know if it could happen for me/my child.

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Balletmom and Asleep, I don't think many of us condone exceptional exceptions, but we do know that they happen and more often than some appear to know. The key here is "uniformly enforced" and that is not, I'm sad to say, always the norm. I am not speaking of all programs because I do not know about all programs - possibly not even many, but there are some indeed.


Here's my personal example: NYSSSA's literature stated that the student must be going into 8th grade and be 13, I believe that's what it used to say anyway... I called because my daughter was going into 8th grade but only 12 at the time (November birthday) and what do you know? They said she could audition but she'd be one of the youngest...however she did and she got in and went and had a wonderful time!


This example of mine is on the one end of the spectrum. :blink: The other end is much more amazing.

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Guest dancechallenged

I agree with several of the posters above. Unfortunately, ballet is an extremely subjective industry. Much discretion remains a "right" of the schools. In addition, some of the most desireable dancers may have an awareness that schools are vying for their attendance (especially male dancers). All of this leads to what I believe is human nature. To try to put yourself (or your child) into the best circumstance possible. If this means inquiring for an "exception", then ask. The worst that can happen is to be told no. Another school may comply with your request and that may steer you towards a different school.


I disagree with the posters that imply that this type of inquiry represents an underlying sense of entitlement. Rather, I believe that schools and administrations have enjoyed for quite a long time complete authority over parents and children. Just review some of the postings where people are sending in multiple deposits because they are afraid to inquire about audition outcomes and schools are unwilling to inform parents even if the child is an absolute no.


I think that the problem is in large part the making of the school. I would encourage schools to impose a set of rules, apply them fairly and consistently, and provide children with accurate and measurable assessments. If this were to occur, many of the "rumor mills" would have no need to exist and decisions could be made based on reason not speculation.

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Guest bambi

I remember last summer during the SFB SI one of the girls in my daughters level left in the middle of the program to.... get this.....to go on a family vacation for a week!?


My daughter was flabergasted that anyone would dare to do something like this ( or would want to for that matter) during such an amazing opportunity! My daughter kept her distance from this girl upon the girls return. She just didn't get her lack of commitment.


I'd be curious to find out why SFB made this exception to the rule of attending the full five weeks and see if there were any repercussions to the dancer ( such as not being allowed to attend another year).



Edited by bambi
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I wonder if people are asking for exceptions because the system forces them to. More and more SIs have short deadlines, and we've heard many stories on this board of people needing to call and ask for information.


Is this the kind of exception to which you are referring, LMCTech? Or does it go beyond this?


I certainly agree that, in general, people feel more entitled to do whatever they want. Rubiraven, tell your husband there's little hope on the horizon; my fourth graders don't acknowledge authority very well either.

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