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Parents behaving badly


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I guess I am not very thicked skinned today. I left class half and hour early with tears in my eyes and was crying by the time I got out the studio door. It was definetly not worth crying about but class today really really upset me.


As we were starting plies a man peeked his head in the door. Our instructor stopped and turned and asked if he could help the man. The guy said he was just peeking in and our instructor invited him in to watch, even though it was not visitors week. No problem. Well after our instructor told him to take a seat he turned around motioned for two ladies to come with him. And went and picked up a video camera. Why would you bring a video camera to drop your daughter/son (I don't know whose parent it was) off for dance when visitors week isn't for 4 weeks and was 2 weeks ago?


Most of the time during vistors week the parents sit quietly, some filming their daughters. These cameras make me nervous because I look most of the kids ages, with about 15 more pounds and hips that have gone through puberty. Today it wasn't just the camera. These visitors were RUDE.


Almost every group correction, they would laugh. Some individual corrections they would giggle and whisper among themselves. Our instructor gives corrections so that they are a little humorous. Usually it makes you feel better about making a mistake. But when you I amtold, "Sure looks comfortable sitting down in that hip? Who told you ballet is comfortable." And two ladies giggle and whisper it makes me think they are giggling AT me, regardless of if that is the case or if they are giggling at the comment.


When an instructor says, "Dancers what does Frappe mean" and everyone answers "to strike" to which he responds "then why can't I hear any striking" That is not an invitation for guests to laugh.


It might look easy. Heck, to some people it might be easy. But to me it is not. And it is so much harder when people are laughing at you while you are doing it. The video camera was the least of my problems.


When we went to put the bars away I asked my instructor if it would be okay if I did not return from center and let him know that the reason I was leaving was our visitors behavior. He reasurred me they weren't laughing at me and that he would hate for me to lose class time. I told him if barre made me feel this horrible I couldn't imagine center, almost started crying, told him that its hard enough to get through the classes without external sources of embarrassment and thanked him for the barre.


I got an hour barre, so the class (and money) wasn't a complete waste, but now I feel miserable. I have no idea why I was so thin skinned, why I seem to be crying for no reason or why those people thought that behavior was appropriate.

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It sounds to me like the instructor was playing to the gallery. He was being intentionally humorous, and they were most likely laughing at his comments, not at the dancers at all. I think you really are over-reacting to this one!

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Well the instructor is always like that. It's his teaching style. But I don't think he was playing to them.


I am sure the giggles weren't directed at me (although I have overheard comments from parents about me being larger, until they find out I am 14 years older than the 9 year old I am closest in height to.) However, overreacting or not, it stressed me enough that I left the studios in tears.


I just don't understand why a visitor would think it is okay to laugh when a correction is made, regardless of how it is said. It wasn't said to them. There are times when the instructor does talk directly to guests to explain what we are doing. Other than that a visitor should watch quietly, IMO. With the same instructor, and the same style comment, this has never happened on a visitors day.

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I must say that I find the whole idea of a videocamera in class unacceptable _except_ on the defined observation days.


The laughing was undoubtedly directed at the teacher and not the students, but...all the same, this type of behavior is distracting.

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I was quite shocked by this account of an instructor's behaviour. I've never been in any class where the teacher has even permitted photographs or sketching without asking the students for permission first, and while it's fine to allow visitors to watch a class, they should be firmly ignored, and asked to leave if they are anything other than invisible!

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I agree that if visitors are going to take pictures/film, permission should be asked of the dancers.


As for the laughing, whether they were laughing at the comments or at any of the dancers, laughing is distracting and intrusive and your teacher should have asked them to behave better.

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Guest BalletBrat

I remember very vividly a similar experience several years ago. There were no parents, but it was dancers visitng from out of town and they joined our adult class for the day. The dancers themselves were very well behaved, but it was my teacher who was not. I remember feeling so disappointed by her behavior that evening, I left the studio in tears. I felt so betrayed and embarassed by some of her comments and how she ignored us and seemed to be showing off to these out of town guests. Being an adult in a class full of little ones can be very humbling, and on a day when you're already feeling a little sensitive, an incident like this is just enough to cause an emotional breakdown of sorts.


The best advice I can give you, is try to move on from this experience, and don't look too deeply into the motives of those inconsiderate people. As that is all they are, inconsiderate, not to mention appallingly ill mannered. Chin up!

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It could be that you are upset by something else in your life, and this experience brought that to the surface. I don't handle frustrating things in ballet class as well when I am stressed in another area of my life.


I think that probably the teacher was playing to the audience, but when he saw your distress, I think he should have asked the visitors to leave. You are the one paying to be there, not them, unless he charges an observors fee, and you still probably paid more, regardless. He probably was enjoying having an audience, which might be why he was not inclind to ask them to leave. Our studio does not have an area for the audience, but there are 2 windows through which people can observe. It is nice and less distracting that we dancers can't hear them if they laugh or talk.

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Well said, BalletBrat. I think there is very little we can do about how we react to certain situations; in the final analysis it doesn't really matter whether the observers and the teacher meant to upset you. It also doesn't really matter (now) why it upset you, since it obviously did.


That said, I don't think this is a sitiation where apportioning blame (they were X, teacher was Y and I was Z) is constructive; as you say in your title, this is a rant/vent and I think that's one of the things that BTD is really good at: letting people have their say about what upsets them.


In situations like that I can: chalk it up to a learning experience; just forget about it; dwell on it for days trying to figure out how I could have changed my perception of the situation so as to get in a good class, determine my sleep/eating/playtime/work time needs to see if there was a physical cause. The response is eventually going to be a 100% private thing, but one of the most important things is getting the fact that it really upset you off your chest to someone who at least takes it seriously.


Thanks for sharing Skittl, and I hope you've managed to deal with the disappointment; I know I've been forced to think and learned a lot reading this thread.

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What day did this occur? I wonder if it was something to do with the alignment of the planets, I think I must have over reacted at least, ohh ten times in the last week, I put it down to stress.

Yes, I think it is quite rude of visitors to such a sacred place as a ballet studio to be laughing and talking amongst themselves, if I had been the teacher I would have told them to shut up or get out, and definitely no filming, unless the teacher had warned us.

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This was Tuesday the 19th. I posted when I got home.


Pretty much everything has been going wrong for me since Sunday (when I found out that the photo lab had lost my bridal shower pictures and replaced them with someone else's beach pictures). Monday class was terribly hard so I went in Tuesday with the resolve to work on everything I had been told. So I was already feeling quite vulnerable and took this hard.


A lot of people are pointing fingers at the teacher, and I don't think thats quite right. He might have asked the guests not to video tape, but I doubt he even heard the laughs or snickers. They usually occured while he was correcting us, so he was talking and I was standing directly in front of them. (Which added to my paranoia even more.)


If it happens again, I'm going to have to suck it up. But on a day like yesterday, I as an adult, reserve the right to politely request to leave class*.




*This is my footnote. The studio I am at is very lax with adults about attendance and dress code. However, since I am in a kids class I refuse to let myself relax their standards and feel if it is expected of the class it should be expected of me. But there are just some things I don't feel I need to deal with at this stage in my life, and this was one of them.

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The studio I am at is very lax with adults about attendance and dress code. However, since I am in a kids class I refuse to let myself relax their standards


Well, standards of decorum are established for kids' classes too, and they don't include random videotaping and other distracting behavior on the part of visitors in most places. Usually there is a designated day or week for observation. Exceptions are sometimes made for out-of-town visitors, but it should be made clear that the visitors are not to disrupt the class. Harrumph.


Poor you--lost your pictures! Keep your fingers crossed--the beach people might bring them back! I must say that in more than a decade of using mail-order film services, I've never lost a single roll!

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I was sorry to hear your story skittl :sweating:

Sometimes we can be too tough on ourselves (perfectionists!), it sounds like you had already had a bad start to the week - we all have them!

It can make me feel quite emotional at times when im stressed out - about anything. Occaisionally i get upset and sometimes get dramatic about situations or events, usually because ive had a bad day/week. I always find it helps to get it off your chest, bet that a week later you will be feeling much more positive again :shrug:


The behaviour of the visitors was disrespectable and unacceptable :clover:

People who dont dance - or take class have no idea, how demanding phsyically and mentally it can be at times - not to say that we dont enjoy some of the challenge!!

Perhaps it could be put down to pure ignorance - maybe they had no idea or took no notice of how their behaviour was affecting you.

Im sure things will get better again - just keep doing what you love best - dance!

Cassy :D

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If people want to watch ballet, they can buy a ticket to a performance in a theater. Ballet class is not a spectator activity... except on designated visiting days. I think the visitors were out of line from the time they poked their heads through the door. Personally, after the giggles and comments, I would have told them that their behavior was inappropriate, and that they were setting a terrible example for the young students who are (hopefully) learning that the discipline of ballet involves respect for the art form, the teacher and their classmates. When guests enter a ballet studio, they should be held accountable to those standards... if they can't comply, then they have no business being there.


However, if they are parents or other relatives, I can see why the teacher would be hesitant to admonish them. I would talk to the studio management… prevention of precisely this sort of situation is the motivating principle behind most studio visiting and filming policies. It is much easier for the teacher to say, “So sorry, I’d love to have you watch the class, but we have a strict policy against guests in the studio.” Sorry, just my long winded way of saying that I don’t think you overreacted.

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If there were children in the class, this action would have been illegal in England.


It is now against the law in the UK to take photographs of children without the permission of each child's parent or guardian - a club I belong to wanted to take a photograph of six children cutting the Christmas cake at our party, and had to ask all the parents - one girl was there with a friend, so her hosts had to 'phone her parents or she would have been excluded from the photo.



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