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Ballet Talk for Dancers

A sticky situation


swantobe

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I don't want to go into detail, but basically I have been pushed into a situation in terms of ballet training that I did not choose and have no control over, for now. I have to stay with this teacher/studio until I have completed my Intermediate exam (mid-August to mid-September, don't have exact date yet) because I am entered for the exam under her. This teacher/studio will not be able to offer me what I need as a dancer after this, however, and so I have decided to move studios after my exam.

 

My problem is that I need to give my current teacher notice that I will be leaving, and I need to do so asap (I need to give a school term's notice). The news that I am leaving will most likely not be taken well, judging from the experiences of other students who have moved to the studio I'd like to move to. What will be awkward is the time I will still have to spend at my current studio/with my current teacher (6 weeks or so).

 

I can't NOT give notice because I cannot afford to pay two sets of fees and I'd like to continue my ballet studies intensively at the new studio as soon as possible.

 

Does anyone have any advice for me? I'm not a strong personality and I'm worried I won't stand my ground and keep to my conviction that I need to move studios if confronted by my current teacher. I know I need to change studios. This decision has not been easy and has been a long time coming.

 

How do I manage the next few weeks in a possibly awkward environment (in conjunction with the stress of the exam preparation)? How do I handle this situation with grace if my teacher doesn't take it well? :unsure:

 

I'm also concerned about what may be said about me after I leave or even now, but behind my back. I have seen this happen occasionally to other students who have left our studio and it's not pleasant. :)

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I would be very clear in how much you appreciate the time and work spent with the teacher, come at it with as much as a positive attitude as you can. It's the most you can do. It's like leaving a job, there might be hurt feelings or upset but if you remain polite and professional and appreciative, it's more likely that it will be reciprocated.

If it doesn't go well, sadly that's not something you can control. The same goes for after you have left, you just don't think about it. People with good sense that hear that kind of thing will ignore it anyway. It only reflects badly on the person speaking ill of someone behind their back.

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How does fee payment work at your current school? Is it possible to NOT give the term's notice, and just walk away and not pay? That is, do they have any legal way of forcing you to pay for a service you are not using?

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You do not have to give any explanation for leaving. Also, grown adults who would snipe about you behind your back like children in a playground are not worthy of worry

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A simple way might be simply to say that you can no longer afford to continue with the studio. After all, that IS the case (e.g. can't afford two places at once). It's a little white lie, true, but understandable in today's economy. Then gush about how marvelous she has been for you...ad nauseum...

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Thank you for your replies.

 

Treefrog - I'm not sure about the legal aspect...as yet, I have not signed anything to say that I will give a term's notice, but this teacher is waiting for a form from me, and she will become suspicious and begin to request it if I don't submit it. I am certainly not signing a form "attaching myself" to this teacher if I am leaving.

 

Serendipity - Well, honestly, one of the reasons why I am leaving this studio is because I can't afford their fees anymore. The new studio is cheaper. Furthermore, on a logistics level, the new studio is closer to my home and closer to work, which saves driving/traffic time and I don't have a lot of time to spare! There are some very practical reasons why I am leaving, in conjunction with my other reasons. The practical reasons were the ones that cinched the deal for me.

 

It is not that I don't appreciate all this studio/teacher has done for me and it will be sad and hard to leave, but I need to do so.

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Let me explain a little more:

I moved to this studio 2 years ago. I have been happy here despite my frustrations with lack of class times. There are 3 teachers. The head teacher is emigrating very suddenly and so we (the students) have to move, with one of the associate teachers, to a new studio and officially become her students in her new dance school, because we are all entered for the exams under her/the old studio. This wouldn't necessarily be a problem if a.) the location of the new (associate teacher's) studio weren't so convenient for me, b.) she had classes in my level after the exam and could guarantee having classes at my level then, c.) the times of her classes were at better times for me and d.) her fees were more affordable. I have had to fight so hard to get classes at my level over the last year and a half and I'm tired of having to work so hard to just get classes at the right level. I just want some security now and the guarantee there will be a class at my level, at a convenient location and time, at a reasonable price. The new studio I am hoping to move to after my exam can offer me this.

 

It's just hard because the associate teacher is, well, a bit of a friend and she is counting on us to be the students who help her get her own dance studio going. So I am essentially letting her down, albeit it for valid reasons.

 

I also had a class with the head teacher today and I am so so sad about her leaving. I know she will be disappointed in me for, essentially, leaving the associate teacher "in her time of need".

 

So this is just a difficult and sad situation all round. But at the same time I am excited about the new (other) studio I tried out and I am looking forward to moving there.

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You clearly feel badly about your decision, even though you clearly believe it's the right decision to you. Under those circumstances, especially because the teacher is a sort-of friend, you could choose to be completely honest. Explain all of your concerns and that you made your decision out of necessity, explain that you are glad that you are able to manage to attend the syllabus classes you have left with her and are looking forward to them, and -- if it's true -- explain that you are looking forward to adding back as many of her classes as you can when your situation changes (e.g., you are finished school and have more flexibility in class times). It may involve a bit of spin, but hopefully no lying!

 

Of course, I don't know the relationship you have with these teachers or their personalities or temperments. This is just one option, and another one may be a better one for you.

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Swantobe I do believe that you need to do what you believe is right for you (which appears to be moving studio's), ideally if you can do this without "burning bridges" all the better.

I think that you have two points to make when you give them notice one being about the affordability (which is true, the new classes are cheaper to which you could add if you wish that maybe at some future date you may still attend classes at the current studio) the second is about convenience. The reality is that we all juggle diaries etc to get to the things that we want to and need to do and if the new studio is more convenient for you fantastic. It may allow you more time at home to spend time with hubby or on your studies or...

The timing for the associate teacher who you will be "dropping" is unfortunate and you can say that you are sorry about that, but you have to do what is right for you at the end of the day.

 

This is not an easy one and I truly do wish you the best of luck, keep us posted.

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Thank you for your replies.

 

Treefrog - I'm not sure about the legal aspect...as yet, I have not signed anything to say that I will give a term's notice, but this teacher is waiting for a form from me, and she will become suspicious and begin to request it if I don't submit it. I am certainly not signing a form "attaching myself" to this teacher if I am leaving.

 

Serendipity - Well, honestly, one of the reasons why I am leaving this studio is because I can't afford their fees anymore. The new studio is cheaper. Furthermore, on a logistics level, the new studio is closer to my home and closer to work, which saves driving/traffic time and I don't have a lot of time to spare! There are some very practical reasons why I am leaving, in conjunction with my other reasons. The practical reasons were the ones that cinched the deal for me.

 

It is not that I don't appreciate all this studio/teacher has done for me and it will be sad and hard to leave, but I need to do so.

 

Honestly, if she's really a friend, then she will understand that her class times/fees/location doesn't work for you. If she doesn't understand then she isn't a friend at all and you don't owe her further explanation. A good teacher will want you to go somewhere that is convenient, affordable, and level-appropriate for you. A good teacher and FRIEND will want you to feel comfortable with the commute, finances, and progress you are making. If she would rather you drive out of your way and pay higher prices to take classes that aren't frequent or advanced enough just for the sake of her financial security, she's neither a good teacher nor a good friend and you can leave with your head held high. This is sort of a win/win situation for you. If you tell her the truth, either she will 100% understand and there will be no hard feelings (as it should be) or she will be upset and you'll know she's not really a friend and that you never owed her anything in the first place.

 

Since your reasons are all very legitimate ones and not some kind of personality conflict, it's absolutely the best idea to be honest about this one. If, for example, you wanted to leave her because you think she lacks in skill as a teacher, I would tell you to flat out lie and tell her some other reason for leaving. But in this case- classes being too expensive, location being inconvenient, not having enough classes at the right level, and so forth...anyone can and should be expected to understand that as a reason for not following a teacher to a new studio.

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Thanks for your replies. I chose to let my teacher know in writing first so that I could clearly explain all my reasons. She replied and said we will talk about it in my next class, but it doesn't sound like she was offended (I hope not). We'll see how things go during our discussion.

 

I was honest in my letter and I also asked her if it would be possible to continue taking an open class with her, if I can afford to (it is at a later time than the other classes so possible for me to attend).

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