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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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luvmy2dancers

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Hello- I have a question regarding my daughter's ballet school. They attend a very reputable pre-professional ballet school in PA. However, I have become increasingly unhappy with what I would consider their lack of professionalism. To explain, recently, in the past couple months, I had a few questions that I left for them on their voice mail ( parents are not permitted to ask teachers questions and the directors are only available by phone for conversation) and have received no response back whatsoever. They have also not honored gift certificates for private classes that I purchased as far back as 2 yrs.

 

My daughters have attended this school for about 4 years, and I have never bothered them with questions. I simply pay a very high tuition for what I thought was excellent ballet taining. Again, the school has a very big reputation, but it seems as though they now are treating students as part of the herd and neglecting individual corrections. This whole situation, even extending into the decline in quality of instruction, has become very frustrating.

 

I am looking at another school now, and I am very impressed with it.There is just one drawback - the studio size is very small.

 

So, I have 3 questions I am hoping to get feedback on: Is this normal behavior in a professional ballet school? And, is there a recommended size for ballet studios? Lastly, has anyone else experienced anything similar to this?

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Hello random,

 

One of my daughters attended a school with a communication policy that sounds similar. The AD wanted to talk to the parent first, and then might direct the query/issue to the individual teacher.

 

I found this odd at the time, but probably because I work for a public school board and the protocol is that parents are to approach teachers first with issues/concerns...if these are not resolved at the parent/teacher level, then contact is made with the school principal. I'm sure that the AD had a good rationale the ballet school policy; it was just quite different from my other experience.

 

In your case, since you are expected to contact the AD with questions, then of course you should anticipate a response to your messages. If you haven't had a response to phone message within a reasonable time (let's say a week or so), then I would suggest you write a note to the AD indicating that you would like to have a conversation, but have been unable to reach him/her via phone. If you still have no response, then......

 

As for the size of the dance school, I don't know that this matters really - as long as the instruction is good for the level your children need, and your children feel comfortable at the school.

 

Hope this helps. I imagine you'll have a number of other responses on this topic as well.

 

m2

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Hello random, welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers :shrug:

 

Let me get this straight....parents cannot talk to teachers, and can speak to the directors only by phone but they don't answer their phone or return calls? Excuse me??? NO, this is not typical professional school behavior. I have taught in a number of professional schools, for a very, very long time, and have always talked to parents, in person, on the phone, and through email.

 

As far as studio size, what is ideal and what is serviceable can be very different things. A lot of dancers have been trained in studios that are far less than ideal. The quality of the teaching is far more important than the facility, with the exception of the floor. A properly raised floor is essential. Hopefully, there is at least enough room in the studio space for the student to learn to move across the floor and cover space. There are lots of studios in older cities with poles in the middle of the floor, and they learn to move around those very well. Also, one would hope that with a small studio space that the classes are not too crowded.

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Guest ingve

Hi Random,

 

I woke up this morning (I live in Germany so you posted this in the middle of the night here) and I got really upset.

 

I, this is my personal oppinion, would not accept as a parent not to be allowed to speak to the teachers.

 

I do understand if the school has a policy where parents cannot speak to teachers between class, have to make an appointment etc. OK, it is a question about time. But no communications with teachers and no reply from the direction. For me. Unacceptable!

 

I belive today, that one of the reasons I got the chance to become a professional dancer, was among other things the care of my parents. They conntacted the school when they felt nessecarry and initiated changes, in conversation with the schools I attended, so I could develop or even change school when the time for a change arrived.

 

Sorry if I this is a too direct answer, do delete it if it is unappropriate. I just got so uppset hearing about this kind of behavior from the side of people who we give the trust to teach and care for our children.

 

Ingve

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Another teacher chiming in here...this is generally not the norm for the US. As Ms. Leigh has said, do write to the AD with a reasonable timeline and then what you would like to do if you do not have a response. If you do have questions to ask, then by all means ask and get answers.

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is there a recommended size for ballet studios?

The RAD's recommended minimum studio size is 9 metres by 9 metres - this becomes the minimum permitted size from Grade 6 and above.

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Someone please correct me if I didn't get this right, but I think that is about 30x30 in feet. That is a workable size, although certainly well under ideal, and smaller than most of the larger studios in the professional schools. However, these schools often have some additional studios around that size, usually used for the younger students.

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Sorry, yes it's about 30x30 feet. It isn't very big really, one of the studios I use is that size, the other is circular but probably about 45 feet diameter. Probably still not big enough ideally for professional training but plenty for our school. I think as long as students get some exposure to bigger areas (eg at SIs or other courses) then it needn't be a problem. Students should certainly be able to adapt to a small or large area.

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Thanks so much for all of your responses. This sight is a real asset to those in the ballet community. I think I just needed some validation on this issue regarding the lack of communication. It becomes rather confusing when one is dealing with a professional school and having an issue. I never expected this kind of behaviour from a reputable school. I understand and respect their policy regarding not approaching the teachers with questions. However, someone needs to respond to questions.

 

I need to check the new school for measurements, but I think it will fall within the guidelines of size. That was so absolutely helpful to get those measurements.

 

Thank-you!!!

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