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Ballet Talk for Dancers

How do I handle a sticky situation?


Girlysmom

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I hope I am posting in the correct place, but I know you will move it if I am not, ha ha! I think I need some advice about how to handle a situation. My daughter spent the last year dancing in two different schools. Her "troop school" she has been at for five years. Her ballet school was new last year- she wanted more ballet classes, and I obliged. We just received her evaluations from her ballet school, and she was accepted into an enrichment program there- she is absolutely thrilled. It is an honor to be chosen and she desperately wants to be in it. It would mean three days a week of ballet- which is fine with her! The problem is that her "troop school" will be less than happy. I would like her to dance still at the school, just not with the "troop", since the commitment will be too much for a ten year old-it equals out to six days a week of dance, NOT including competitions, recitals, extra rehearsals...... I know what I need to do, which is confront the director, but am petrified about approaching her . The director does not take kindly to any child going anywhere but her school, and has just recently told another parent that they had to choose one school, they could not do both. I am afraid that by being honest with her it may mean that my daughter would no longer be welcome in her "troop school", and she would have to leave all of her friends, which would break her heart. I know that I MUST do what is best for her, but how do I manage to keep her with her friends without offending the director?

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Jackieg, at 10 years old friends come and go very quickly. Good training is what is important, not "troops", recitals, and competitions. I agree that 6 days is too much for a 10 year old, so it will come down to priorities. Does she really want to dance, to LEARN to dance, or does she want to attend a dance school for social purposes? Her "heartbreak" of leaving her friends will probably last only until she makes her first new friend at the new school. But, she should also have a say in this, after you explain to her that if she wants to become a well trained ballet dancer, then she needs to attend a ballet school, not a competition school.

 

I know this sounds a bit harsh, however, it's never to early to start the best training possilbe. The longer she remains where the rehearsals/shows/competitons/recitals are more important than the actual training, the harder it will be to learn things correctly. Most good ballet schools have a lot of work to do with students who come from other schools, and most of that is "undoing", which is much harder than learning it right in the first place.

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Thank you for your honest response. It reminded me that she joined the ballet school in order to get more training, not to just always be preparing for the next recital, competition, etc.... There are no technique classes at her "troop school" anymore since they are always rehearsing. And you are right, at ten years old, friends do come and go. She made the decision to join the ballet school last year when she said to me, "Mom, I don't just want to dance ballet, I NEED to dance ballet." And that hasn't changed, so I guess now I have to explain this to the "troop school" and hope I do it without making the director too mad. I would love for her to take a class or two there without being in the "troop" (not ballet) but I have the feeling that I may have to cut the ties completely because the director is easily offended.

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Her "troop school" she has been at for five years.

 

I realize this isn't contributing to your question; but what is a troop school?

 

Also, you would be surprised at how resilient kids are when they have to change schools/situations/cities/etc. Your daughter will make new friends at the ballet school and in the big picture it won't even be a blip on her radar, except for the part when in eight years or so she'll be posting here about how it was the best decision your family ever made! If she is serious about ballet, make the move and don't look back!

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Jackieg, when it comes to changing schools, the less said, the better. You do not need to justify your change or even explain it. Think "Bull Durham" mantra: 'I only want to play baseball'.

 

When it comes time to sign up, simply sign up for what classes you are still willing for your DD to take at the 'troop school'. (But first ask yourself 'why"???) If/when the director or anyone else asks why she isn't signed up for more, just calmly (and succinctly as possible) say, "It just worked out better for our family logistics this way". No need to go into deep explanations, no need to convince anyone else that your decision is the appropriate one (for your family or anyone else's). It just is what you decided.

 

Whatever you do, DO NOT bad-mouth the 'troop school', its director, its focus, or its philosophy. Nothing good comes of that and it isn't necessary. Just quietly move your DD on to her next chapter in training, one you've decided is best for her. End of explanation.

 

"I just want to play baseball" = "This just works best for our family right now."

 

Doesn't matter what the question is or who asks it, the answer is: "This just works best for our family right now."

 

Best wishes on a smooth transition. :crying:

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Huckleberry, a "troop" school, is, I think, pretty much the same as a competition school, where they have a "team" or "company" that competes.

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Her "troop school" she has been at for five years.

 

I realize this isn't contributing to your question; but what is a troop school?

 

Also, you would be surprised at how resilient kids are when they have to change schools/situations/cities/etc. Your daughter will make new friends at the ballet school and in the big picture it won't even be a blip on her radar, except for the part when in eight years or so she'll be posting here about how it was the best decision your family ever made! If she is serious about ballet, make the move and don't look back!

She auditioned to be part of their company- although it took awhile to figure out that no one ever doesn't get in to the company. Their classes are mandatory and they get to go to competitions. I think that it secretly just means that I pay more, though, ha ha!

You are right, though, my kids are definitely more resilient than I ever give them credit for, so I thank you for reminding me!

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Jackieg, when it comes to changing schools, the less said, the better. You do not need to justify your change or even explain it. Think "Bull Durham" mantra: 'I only want to play baseball'.

 

When it comes time to sign up, simply sign up for what classes you are still willing for your DD to take at the 'troop school'. (But first ask yourself 'why"???) If/when the director or anyone else asks why she isn't signed up for more, just calmly (and succinctly as possible) say, "It just worked out better for our family logistics this way". No need to go into deep explanations, no need to convince anyone else that your decision is the appropriate one (for your family or anyone else's). It just is what you decided.

 

Whatever you do, DO NOT bad-mouth the 'troop school', its director, its focus, or its philosophy. Nothing good comes of that and it isn't necessary. Just quietly move your DD on to her next chapter in training, one you've decided is best for her. End of explanation.

 

"I just want to play baseball" = "This just works best for our family right now."

 

Doesn't matter what the question is or who asks it, the answer is: "This just works best for our family right now."

 

Best wishes on a smooth transition. :crying:

Thank you for the advice. I would actually never bad mouth the school, the people there have been wonderful to my daughter for many years. It really is just a matter of moving on to a different focus, so I think I will use your words (probably verbatim, I hope you don't mind!)

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Thank you, everyone, for responding so fast!You have been extremely helpful in making the decision easier to move my daughter out of her comfort zone. I have figured out that my daughter will be fine. It may just be that I am the one that is afraid of change.

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jackieg, the reason you should resist offering any explanation more elaborate than "I just want to play baseball" is because the "left" studio will almost certainly interpret any such explanation as 'bad-mouthing'--especially if the explanation includes a change in philosophy of dance training needs or the dancer's goals. Even when no real criticism is meant. :)

 

But the mere fact that you've decided that your DD's needs are not being met there IS an implied critique of the 'troop studio'. So best not to even open that can of worms. :crying:

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I can relate to what you are saying. There is a dance school on every corner where I live. The schools tend to be rather competitive with each other. DD went to a school for 6 years with a owner/director who was very involved. She became a friend. When DD expressed that she wanted to study ballet on a professional level, I knew it was time to move to the pre-pro studio in my area. I hated to tell her school we were leaving, but fortunately, they were gracious, despite the fact that they hated to lose DD. They understood that they could not provide the level of training she needed to move forward. Her ballet teacher told her the new school was "hardcore" and she had better be ready to work. We have not regretted this decision at all, in fact, we've regretted that she didn't move sooner!

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I had the same situation a few years ago with my DD. It was a pretty smooth transition for her in the end, but the owner of the competition school was angry that we were leaving and would not allow taking any of the other dance styles if she didn't take ballet there. DD only wanted to continue with the old school because of friends, she really only wanted ballet class, and it ended up that she met new friends at the new school and found ways to stay connected with the friends she liked from the old school.

 

The main thing for my DD was she wanted serious ballet training, and we have not been sorry. Best of luck to you.

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I can relate to what you are saying. There is a dance school on every corner where I live. The schools tend to be rather competitive with each other. DD went to a school for 6 years with a owner/director who was very involved. She became a friend. When DD expressed that she wanted to study ballet on a professional level, I knew it was time to move to the pre-pro studio in my area. I hated to tell her school we were leaving, but fortunately, they were gracious, despite the fact that they hated to lose DD. They understood that they could not provide the level of training she needed to move forward. Her ballet teacher told her the new school was "hardcore" and she had better be ready to work. We have not regretted this decision at all, in fact, we've regretted that she didn't move sooner!

 

This is the reaction I WISH we would have gotten from my DDs old school when she left. I wish her teacher would have been PROUD OF HER. What we got was jealousy and discouragement. I was sad about it for awhile, but the benefits of the new school are so great we've gotten over it.

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Thank you for your honest response. It reminded me that she joined the ballet school in order to get more training, not to just always be preparing for the next recital, competition, etc.... There are no technique classes at her "troop school" anymore since they are always rehearsing.

 

There is no actual tech classes at the other school?

 

I would run. Those schools focus on learning A dance, not how to dance. And the risk of improper technique and injuries seem to become higher and higher the less technique they are required to take.

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