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Ballet Talk for Dancers

What do you all think of this?


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I took my 2 year old to a makeup class for her "Mommy & Me" this week. We got there about 5 minutes until the class started. I like to get there at least 10 minutes early, but we were running late. Usually, you get a name tag and your child gets one. She didn't make one for me, but no big deal. However, my daughter's said "Lori" on it. Her name is LaurEN. The receptionist still had the marker in her hand. I said, very politely to her, "My daughter's name is Lauren. May I use your marker to change her tag?" I wouldn't want to be called by the wrong name, either, but I meant no offense by asking to change it. She gave me a dirty look and snapped, "Whatever. You're already late. Just go downstairs to Studio C and try not to make any noise when you go in." :unsure: They hadn't even started when I got in there, all the kids were just running around and the teacher was fiddling with the CD player. 2 people arrived after we did.


We had a different teacher. She was mostly nice, but she got a little impatient with the kids at times. At one point, she tried to get them to hop on one foot, but none of them could. These are 2 and young 3 year olds, and I think that's too developmentally advanced for them. She got all irritated and snapped off the music and then huffed around looking for something else to put on. Nobody was friendly in the class. On Saturdays, a few of the moms were, but the normal teacher also makes a big effort to get everyone involved.


There was a mom who sat on the floor the whole time. This is a parent participation class. The teacher tried to get her up and she wouldn't join in because her daughter "wouldn't listen and wasn't doing anything right." :wacko: I happened to be stuck next to her waiting in line to walk upstairs and tried to make small talk. She informed me that her daughter belonged in the 3's movement class, but she wouldn't go do anything because she was too "clingy", in a tone of voice that made it perfectly clear how much she disapproved of it. She said that they made her go to the Mommy and Me group until her daughter felt more comfortable and then again emphasized that her daugher belonged in the more advanced class and that she was certain her daughter would go the next week. I smiled and agreed, "I'm sure she'll do great next week." I just don't think it really matters at the preschool age. This is supposed to be fun for the kids, right?


When I got to the car, I looked at the clock and realized that the teacher cut the class off after 25 minutes. Initially, when I signed up, I was told the classes were 45 minutes. During the first class I found out that they were only 1/2 hour. Fine, but they keep shrinking. It happens to be something my daughter looks forward to the entire week. And it isn't cheap.


I really like my adult teacher, who also teaches my daughter's class. She is a very good instructor. However, I'm already starting to dislike the atmosphere at this studio. I hear parents criticizing their young kids often. I'm really not challenged. I'm starting to think I shouldn't continue after this session.


Am I overreacting? My gut says no, since this has been bothering me all weekend. On the other hand, they have several studios that have been around for ages and have a positive repuation, and this one just opened. Maybe it's just growing pains. Any opinions? I'm thinking of going to a drop-in adult class at another studio this week, so I guess I'll decide more about how I feel after that. I don't know why I feel guilty about wanting to leave then. Is this typical? I don't know, I'm just really disappointed in them right now.

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I don't think that you overreact...well, I would have been even more angry and disappointed like you. I cannot tell how "Mommy & Me" classes should be because I have never been in one (I am not even a Mommy lol :wacko: ) but there are some very disturbing points that should never be in any kind of classes. As you said, the reputation of the studio is good, I would give it another chance but if it is as horrible as you described it again, I would find another place.

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I do not think you are really over-reacting - after all, you are not really reacting yet, just wondering if you should, which is a very sane thing to do. :D


In the kids' class, as they are still small, I think the most important thing is that the kids have fun and you get to do fun and interesting stuff with your daughter. If your daughter looks forward to it for the whole week, it seems she is enjoying it? Apparently your regular teacher is good with the kids, but the other teacher not so much. So you might want to keep on taking your child to the class she enjoys, at least if you decide that the money it takes is not better spent elsewhere, and just not go to the classes by this other teacher anymore.


When it comes to your own classes, if you do not feel challenged and taken seriously, I think it is a good idea to take a class at the alternative studio, compare, and then decide.

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Good teachers for adults are not always good teachers for adults and vice versa, and you will find pushy mommies everywhere and at every level.


That said, I'd consider your classes and your daughter's separately.


If your classes aren't challenging or otherwise appealing, look around for new classes for yourself. Same for your daughter, though it might be tough to find classes that are appealing for such a little one.


For the tiny ones, it really is just movement and playtime, so what matters is if she's having fun. Honestly, unless she's begging for it and it makes her light up, I wouldn't bother. It certainly won't matter for whether she stays in ballet in the long run.

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You sound justified in seeking a new studio, but I would speak directly to the owner of the studio about a couple of things:


1. The attitude of the receptionist - The receptionist has no right admonishing you for running a bit behind. Additionally, I am assuming that she has a roll book or attendance sheet in front of her from which she is copying the student names. Not rocket science. Her mistake should have been apologized for and corrected, and not resulted in defensive and snappy comments.


2. The class itself - You pay for a 45 minute class, you GET a 45 minute class. Period. If the class time has decreased, I'd expect the rate to correspondingly decrease. What's with all the huffing and expectation? I teach 3's and when I can get them all sitting on the floor with the soles of their feet together, I feel like Superwoman. This is the first experience with a classroom structure for many of them. It's supposed to be FUN, and it a child learns how to gallop and clap their hands, well 'Hooray', but getting upset about the progress of toddlers does nothing but frustrate child, parent, and teacher. There is no excuse for getting impatient with children of this age unless there is a behavior problem which compromises safety - which should NOT be the case since parents are supervising and participating.


The thing that concerns me is that when children experience this sort of frustration and negativity, it will turn them off to dance in general. Music and Movement/ Creative Movement/ Mommy & Me classes are supposed to be a fun way to get kids to move and improve motor skills.


Don't feel guilty, but I would certainly speak to the studio owner and relate to her exactly what you have written here. Sometimes administration isn't aware of such problems, and it's possible that the issues could be corrected.

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Brava, NadiaDanseuse! Totally agree with all that you have said above :)

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Thank you all for the replies. This board is such a good resource for total newbies like me!


I took up my problems with the studio manager. The same afternoon, I got a call from one of the owners, apologizing very graciously! I was rather surprised at the quick response. Apparently, I'm not the only one who has complained and the problem is being "dealt with". :) Whatever that means.


We're going to ride out the session and see what happens. I've decided that I want to keep the short adult class because it is very small and I can get a lot of individual attention. Once my schedule lightens a little, I plan on adding some longer ones. There aren't a lot of choices around where I live, though.


I do appreciate the perspectives. :)

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