Guest costumier Posted March 11, 2006 Report Share Posted March 11, 2006 Hi all, I'd like to get some comments and advice from posters who might have been in a similar situation to the one I find myself in now. I have been quite heavily involved in helping out at my daughter's studio, mainly doing costumes and organisational support for the end-of-year recitals. I have done this because the teacher/director/owner asked me to, and she has been very good to our DDs, for instance giving one a needs-based scholarship a while back when we were having temporary financial difficulties. The problem I find myself in is that everybody wants different things, and seems to be blaming me if things aren't the way they want them! They seem to think I have pushed myself into this "wonderful" position of "chief organiser of everything" because I want to be in charge. I have tried to get everybody involved in the decision-making, for example by holding meetings, but it seems most people are too busy to attend. Actually I don't care what the people who never help out think, but over the last week I have had some very negative feedback about how things are being organised from a couple of people who DO always help out, which has put me in a right tailspin. I feel like I have no mandate to move ahead, and yet I know if I try to call a meeting to sort out what people actually want, I'm still not likely to get enough people turning up to satisfy the critics that the majority of parents are behind us. I think the majority of parents actually don't care, so long as somebody else takes care of it. I have tried calling around those whose phone numbers I have, with very mixed results. A key issue has been costs and how to deal with them. Last year for the first time we started to build up a communal stock of costumes. The rationale was that we were doing a bigger item costume-wise than had been attempted before (Les Sylphides). A lot of our families are not very well-heeled, so the other main sewer and myself said we were happy to put in our labour for free, so long as the costumes stayed in the school. We wanted all the girls to be able to perform in this item. Those who weren't prepared to donate the cost of materials to the school could get their own costume made/make it themselves as normal. We now have a lovely collection of these costumes so the girls can "domino" up through the sizes, and we can use the tutu as a base for lots of different costumes. HOWEVER the cost of materials was high, a lot more than you would expect to pay for a hire, and there were a few grumbles. (Along with a lot of people saying "what a fantastic idea! Now we won't have to turn around and do this every year!") So this year we thought we'd do some fundraising to help cover the cost of the concert. I've now had feedback from some parents saying they think it's entirely inappropriate to do fundraising "for a private business", that the whole concept is shonky, and that people should just take care of their own costumes, and it's up to the teacher to manage other costs. I've always been under the impression that the money we pay the teacher is for instruction, and that concert costs in most schools are borne by the parents of those taking part. Am I correct about that? I should add that there is no pressure on the kids to have expensive costumes in order to appear in the concert. Obviously to dance in something like Les Sylphides you have to have a constume, but when a child has a solo they can spend as much or as little as they like. They can even appear in their class uniform if they want, and quite a few do. What are other people's impressions of this mess? Should I just barge on regardless? Should I wash my hands of it and tell people to make their own arrangements? The teacher/director/owner is a fantastic gifted ballet teacher, but she's not all that good at the business/organisational side of running a studio. She really needs help and she knows it, that's why she asked me. Should I just do whatever she asks and if anybody complains refer it back to her? (Not that I want to do that - it would stress her out dealing with complaints!) It would be great to get some feedback about how things run in other places, and how people have resolved this sort of thing in the past. Thank you all. Quote Link to comment
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.