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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Queen Bees at Summer Intensives


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I just got off the phone with a teary child who is struggling with "mean" girls at her out of state summer intensive. It is week four of a six week program; her phone calls and tears have increased this week. She is happy with her classes, loves her main teacher, and thinks she gets plenty of attention in class. What is getting her down are the games that are being played out between the girls in between classes and during their down time. Though this is her second summer away, it is her first real taste of a truly competitive ballet environment between dancers. I also truly believe a lot of this stems from the age group she is in this year.


It is so hard for me to hear her sad little voice on the other end of the phone. I have tried all angles to help her see through what is going on and help her deal with her feelings and emotions. I know she is tired which does not help the situation. I am trying hard to hang on to my patience, the last thing I want to do is let my frustration show. When confronted if she wanted to come home, she adamantly refused and begged to stay.


Words of wisdom would be so welcome.




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It's time for her to go talk to her RA and ask for help in handling a 'social issue'. She can broach the subject with the RA in terms of needing help in figuring how best to deal with a situation that she's not been successful in formulating a positive or helpful solution. She may or may not be able to do with without naming names. If names help the RA understand the situation, then let her give names--she doesn't really have to assign blame to individuals but can explain how she perceives the situation develops and how it spirals out of control for her.


If she isn't ready to do that--or can't get the RA to help her figure out a workable approach, then I would say it may be time for Mom to make a discreet call to the program and attempt to get a handle on the situation and ask that someone be so kind as to help your DD work through the problem.


If she can present this as her attempt to work through a problem, it may be easier to obtain assistance to learning how to work it through.

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Aggressive Behavior at SI, when does parent step in? I tried to bump up this thread from last summer, and what you describe seems more verbal and subtle than what was discussed last summer here, but maybe you can do a search and read the advice from many parents and teachers from last summer, because, in addition to dancemaven's advice, it might help or at least let you know that it isn't uncommon and you are not alone. Best wishes!

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Guest Christier57

Yes, we need to teach our kids to advocate for themselves, but they can only go so far without help. I would recommend that she go to the RAs sooner rather than later, but that you be prepared as a parent to jump in if the response is inadequate. Some RAs are much, much better than others.


My daughter had almost two weeks of her intensive seriously damaged by a roommate who was stealing her food and then was unable/unwilling/whatever to admit it. Her father and I counselled her at first to carefully make sure the food was disappearing and under what circumstances, and to talk to her roommate first. She would have been more than happy to share her food if asked. When talking to the roommate only made things worse, I told her to go to the grownups. The RAs did not respond very well, and were trying to be "neutral," requiring my daughter to write down everything she ate and/or mark the containers. This after almost a full jar of Nutella, most of a jar of peanut butter, half a loaf of bread, most of a box of crackers, and a previously unopened box of cereal half gone went missing in very short periods of time.


I got the immediate feeling from the RA that she didn't really believe my daughter, but I gave their approach a chance for a few days before contacting the program administration and insisting that the roommate be moved. I should have acted much more quickly in contacting the administration. In five years of summer intensives, I've never had to call anyone before, so it was really quite stressful for everyone. I did get an apology from the administration, admitting that the situation hadn't been handled very well. She got a new roommate last weekend, and is now back to her normal, happy self.


I hope your daughter's situation gets resolved quickly and smoothly!

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Oh Snow...how my heart goes out to you!! My dd went through a very similar situation. 2nd SI away....1st year tons of fun...2nd year...ugh and the same age group! She had never encountered such mean behavior. The situation that comes to mind immediately is one Friday night, early in the evening dd called and and was filled with excitement for the coming evening's activities. She rushed off the phone saying that she had to get ready because she and friends were going out to dinner, back to the dorms for a talent show and then movies later. She could barely contain herself. Around 8 pm (ish)...I received the fateful horrible tear-filled call. DD could barely speak. Her "friends" ditched her...claiming that they "forgot" to knock on her door. This was only one example of many situations that summer.


I don't know that I have any true advice on how we got through it. I just would continue to support her stating that this is a tough industry sometimes and God doesn't put us through anything that we can't handle. I always told her to focus on the wonderful training she was receiving and encouraged her to get to know more of the girls in her level.


Now being on the other side 2 years later...I know for sure that this situation helped to make her stronger...and she has really been able to handle tough situations since that summer. The interesting thing about that summer....she ended up loving her experience...due mostly to the wonderful training, but she did end up making other friendships and just learned to survive the stinky behavior from these girls.


I hope this helps Snow....but my prayers will be with your DD (and you...I know how it breaks a mama's heart!).


Take care,


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I can empathize with you - my dd is about 800 miles away in her 3rd week of a 4 week intensive, and she has experienced some of the caddy and rude girls as well. I try to look at it as another learning experience that is bound to happen -quite frequently at school. I would like to recommend a book I just read: Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman. It was very enlightening and had some helpful tips that I passed along to my daughter, but most of all I think it helped me understand that there will always be mean girls and how we can support our daughters through the tough middle and teen years.

Best of luck to you,


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I'm sure a little of this goes on at every SI. This is DD's third intensive, with all three across the country. Although she never really encountered "mean girls", she did experience having a roommate eat her food when she was not there. It was terrible too because the program did not offer meals and we sent DD with literally a luggage full of tuna meals and food items she liked to eat. The roommate did not come prepared and had no shame. DD would walk in and find the actual meal containers in the trash that she had eaten of hers. Long story short, I did have to make a phone call after DD talked to the RA's and insist that DD be moved to a single. The dancer was given a "strike" and DD was moved. She was fine after that :shrug:


I do believe that confidence is the key though. I think confident dancers are less likely to be victimized. Bullies look for weakness. It's a fact. It can be in the form of too eager to make friends, too eager to share food, clothes, or information, whatever. I think that is why DD hasn't had a problem with the "mean girls". She won't give them a chance. There are plenty at the home studio, but she steers clear after being stung once by each and has learned not to trust. She is there to dance and let's face it, it is competitive whether you have friends in the studio or not. Her "real" friends don't dance and I believe those friends have been the true and best friends.


I think DD gets most annoyed at SI's with the ones that wannabe the Queen Bee, especially in class. I hear stories of dancers that THINK they are all that and will hog the front, jump in front of her and others, steal a spot, go more times than they are supposed to across the floor, etc. All in an effort to be noticed or cast more favorably. This is overconfidence or just rudeness or both!


There is something going on with SI's and food though. DD says they have had a serious problem with one student eating dancer's food out of the fridge!! The items are labeled and still she would eat/drink them. DD was livid when one of her pricey Starbucks drinks was drunk, leaving only a little on the bottom and put back in the fridge!! Lots of dorm meetings and threats followed. Finally, the roommate of the food thief told on her and now there are lots of tears. Of course, no one likes the girl or will talk to her after what she has done for the past two weeks. They are reacting to her behavior.


It all starts at home..................

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