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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Conferences With Dance Staff


Danza2

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What questions are appropriate to ask when meeting with staff regarding progress in dance?

 

What are dancers strengths? What areas of focus is dancer currently working on?

What can be done to supplement or enhance current training? Where do you see dancer or what goals do you have for next 3 months, next 6 months?

 

This is a situation where there is a very strong technical foundation with a strong presentation. Dancer has the ability and work ethics to move on. She is recognized as being at the top of her class by peers and parents. It is common for dancers to move up and train at the next level in situations like this.

 

How do you get this type of feedback without offending the staff? Difficult questions to ask when you are uncertain of what their answers will be.

 

If they had answers to these questions, it would be easier to make the appropriate decisions regarding future dance education.

 

Waiting patiently. Teachers and artistic directors please reply the best way to approach this sensitive situation. What would be your ideal way to handle this? I would love to be the kind of parent where teachers would say," Now if every parent handled their concerns in this manner, our lives would be much easier."

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First, is this a parent requested conference or a school initiated conference that every student receives? If you've requested the conference, I would go more for:

 

~DK is expressing an interest in dancing professionally or dancing in college. We understand that only about 2% of those who take dance lessons will achieve this goal? Can you help us with your assessment of what she needs to work on and continue to work on if this in her goal?

 

~How do you see her work ethic at this point in her training?

 

~If DK could focus on certain things for the remainder of the school year and then at her SI what are the areas you would most desire to see improvement?

 

~Is there any supplemental training that is needed at this time? (Then if weaknesses were discussed earlier) Are there opportunities for taking an additional level class even if at a lower level where her focus is solely on those weaknesses? If strength is a weakness, then is Pilates or similar a good idea to add?

 

Mentioning nothing about what her peers and other parents feel about her dancing, that isn't relevant. Mention nothing about how you see her work ethic, that isn't relevant to these questions. Then honor the answers as their honest appraisal without any judgement or ill feelings. This is how they see your DK at this moment in time. If you believe in the training you're paying for, then their honesty will be appreciated even if they uncover areas that are not what a parent wants to hear. Remember parents and peers generally answer questions based on the rest of the dancers in the room. However, there are many, many schools where the other dancers in the room when put on a national scale would not be praised in the same manner. If your DK wants to dance professionally, then her journey isn't about the praise at home, it's about being that 2% and that's a whole lot bigger than "top of class by parents and peers".

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:clapping: As always, Momof3 is right on in this matter. I have nothing to add! :)
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Marigold--I stopped going in and asking for conferences about my DD when she was near the beginning of the 10th grade year. At that point, I figured she should ask on her own and started the process of having her learn to do that. It wasn't hard in our situation because the SO/AD was a very kind and caring woman who made herself available from time to time just "because", so a true scheduled conference was rarely necessary. She made asking questions easy. I might have stopped in 9th grade but that was her first year at that school, so there were several things that occurred during that transition year where we both needed to ask questions together.

 

I do know that not everyone has that comfort level at their home school. However, having the student begin that process goes a long way in developing the ability to go in during Trainee/Company conferences and not being afraid to ask similar questions instead of just getting the "you're being asked to stay on".

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Thank you for your reply Momof3darlings. I know your feedback will help many. This was a parent requested conference. I pretty much went about it in the manner you recommended. I didn't necessarily want, but needed answers to these questions. We have been considering making a move. I wanted to make an informed decision. I didn't get the answers, but your reply has helped me understand that my questions were appropriate and done in a manner that could have/should have been respected.

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