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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Tired Dance Parents


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One of the blessings of attending a small school is that politics are absolutely minimal. In fact, we don't even have a building of our own -- our studios are spread out in three different buildings -- so there is no comfortable place to sit and wait. And because only one class is being held at a time in any location, there's no confluence of parents. On top of all this, almost all students in the upper grades are local -- within a mile or two -- so parents have no reason to sit around. Indeed, many kids just get there on their own. Accordingly, we are mostly a very congenial group.


There's very little strife among the kids, too. They are all friends, and the pecking order dancewise is pretty clear.

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One of the blessings of attending a small school is that politics are absolutely minimal.

Oh, Treefrog, I don't think that it has anything to do with the size of your DD's studio. I have been involved with small studios where politics were rampant, and larger ones where politics were, if not nonexistant, at least much less obvious. I think you just lucked out and are involved with a nice group of people :innocent: .

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That's funny, Treefrog, I thought because my daughter's school was so large, and in my opinion impersonal, that politics and favoritism weren't a problem. They don't really count on parents as volunteers, so that isn't a problem either. What I can relate to is the driving. I hate it. And I feel guilty because I know my daughter knows I hate it. I am looking into a driving service but the thought makes me nervous. I am wondering if someone has ever hired someone to drive and how it worked out?

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I am looking into a driving service but the thought makes me nervous.  I am wondering if someone has ever hired someone to drive and how it worked out?

I too have thought about hiring a professional driver but am unsure how to go about doing this. On rare occassions, when I was unable to leave work early, I have hired someone I knew (family-friend, college age) to drive my DD in my car. Most of my unease about having someone else driving her, is because 80% of the trip is on a curvy 2 lane highway.

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Reading this thread brought back so many memories - driving to the studio 6 days a week, waiting.... Then all of a sudden D got her driver's license and my driving days were over! Truthfully, I miss the conversations we'd have in the car. At least I still have her home for a little while longer - in only 5 short months she'll be off to college! Right now she's making the final decision about where to go. With her being my youngest child, I'm a little sad at the imminent approach of the empty nest! Enjoy them while you can :D

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I hired an older dancing student to drive my daughter from school to ballet on some afternoons. I did this for two full years. I made sure the driver had no traffic violations and was not a new driver. One was a young man in his 20's, an RA at the ballet school, and the other was a young woman 19 years old. Except for my initial concerns about the expense, it worked out very well. In a way, it helped me change my work. I started to tutor after school so I could pay for the driver. Word of mouth being what it is, I got more clients and eventually switched over to tutoring full time.

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mini cooper

I see an interesting theme emerging about small school vs. large school, and the politics associated with each.


We made a change a while back. I would peg it as small to medium size school. However, the new school is much larger than the old school. DD has been there long enough, and we have been involved in enough activities to note that the atmosphere at the new school is very positive. The directors are extremely positive, and that carries through to the dancers, and their parents.


On a normal day, I don't spend much time in the studio - usually involved in studying, working, shopping, etc during ballet time. However, I usually watch the last few minutes of class. As the parents gather, and the girls file out, everyone is in a good mood. It really is a blessing.


I think the environment has less to do with the size of school, and more to do with the tone set by the directors. They really do dictate what they will tolerate, and they set and foster a tone for the school. If folks are comfortable with that, they will be successful there. If they are not, they will eventually leave. This works in both a positive AND negative environment.


Hmmm...I need to ponder this more...it is sometimes hard to tell what it is good leaders do to be good leaders.



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Take it from me, the size of a ballet school is not the key to the atmosphere.


mini cooper, I think you hit closer to the bone when you wrote

more to do with the tone set by the directors
but I'd like to add into this that teachers also set the tone, however, just as in business the general tone is set from the top down.


All this said, there is no perfection to be found - in any walk of life. Politics and all the rest are found within any community. I think it's part of the human condition - however, there is much that is good within the human condition and that isn't that what we all try to keep our eye on?


Without philosophizing anymore, I think the majority of us here agree that "Less is more" when it comes to our physically being involved with our children's ballet program. (note: less does not have to = not at all) :grinning:


P.S. mini cooper your question as to what good leaders "do" to be good leaders is an age old one. I think that it's key that any leader have good ethical foundation as their base. :D

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Mel Johnson
Hmmm...I need to ponder this more...it is sometimes hard to tell what it is good leaders do to be good leaders.

You are not alone! I have a nice six-foot shelf of every every book congenial with my frame of mind on leadership. All the way from Sun-Tzu's The Art of War through How to Win Friends and Influence People through Army "Small Unit Command Doctrine" and more! I still can't figure it out.

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I can't believe what I am reading. It is as if everyone that has posted here has crawled into my life. I have felted this feeling of hurt for about four years now. For example the parents who have a hidden agenda and are nice to you one day and walk right past you the next. I thought it had something to do with me. Now that I know that others are experiencing the same feelings I actually feel releived.


I love to be at my DD studio to watch the girls dance. I could sit and watch the girls for hours I find it very relaxing. BUT when a mom comes in and is very rude to me or is complaining about whatever it just ruins the wonderful feeling that ballet brings to me.


I too have stopped volunteering. I have worked backstage until I started getting migrains from the ugly tension. I then moved to the front of the house and ushering until I was screamed at for no reason. Now I just support the studio by buying ads and tickets to see all of my DD performances. This way I support my DD and I enjoy the ballet.


I also enjoy the time I spend with my daughter in the car. It is quality time without the inteference of the outside world. We have had alot of wonderful talks.


Thank you so much to all of you who have written their feelings here. It has helped me sooooooo much. :clapping:

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And at the very least I haven't heard of Ballet Mom fights reaching the 6 o'clock news like soccer, cheerleading, softball and football parent issues have.  Thankfully! 

:wub: Believe it or not, a few years ago the police were called to our studio because of an incident involving two "ballet moms"! Unfortunately for us, we all sound like we have the same problems no matter where we are (except for lucky Treefrog, of course!) My daughter drives herself now, and I often find myself asking her "what's the latest gossip at the studio?" :wink:

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I agree with Mel, I cannot figure it out either. As a director I notice that some years its great and some years it wicked. Some groups (levels) of parents are great, and others are difficult. I try to keep my atmosphere consistent, but if there was a key to always having a positive atmosphere I think we could make more money selling them than we do teaching dance. :wub:

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mini cooper

It is interesting how one or two people can really change the dynamic of a group. They can really drag things down, or incredibly raise the bar for good behavior. I think you leaders of ballet schools out there really underestimate the power/responsibility you have.


Memo, your point about consistency is excellent. From a parent's perspective, that's the most we can hope for. Consistency, with the ethical foundation to which BW refers are wonderful.


That is what children need in their classes; that is what unruly adults need when they mistreat other parents in the lobby, and what those on the receiving end of the bad behavior need to see for comfort.


At this moment, I don't feel the need to be a balletmom dropout. I certainly know how you can get there. I have a fresh perspective because we are new to our school which has a very positive environment. But to ward off burnout...Just today I joined a gym close to dd's school. That's going to be my constructive way to stay out of the studio for part of the time. They gym lounge also has wireless internet access so I can actually get work done by logging on to my office computer from my laptop. I won't go to Starbucks, and consume caffiene; I won't go to the cute little Panera with wireless internet access and eat sugar-filled delights; I'll just workout, and get a little work done!



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