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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Pinkytoes

Proprietary Interests in Individual Students

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Pinkytoes

As teachers, can you comment upon the factors (length of time working with a student, scholarship status, emotional support, ???) that create for you a proprietary interest in a particular student?

 

Once such an interest has been established, what are your expectations in terms of what that means for both teacher and student?

 

And, finally, what do you, as teachers, feel are appropriate processes for ending such an arrangement?

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Victoria Leigh

Pinkytoes, I had to move your post because only teachers can post in the Teachers Forum. All of our Teacher Moderators can respond here. If you would like me to move it to Cross Talk, then all teachers can respond.

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vrsfanatic

Students are not a commodity. I am not sure I understand your question.

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blochhead

I am not a teacher, but I think a teacher/student relationship is just that - a relationship. So the rules of civility apply on both sides of the relationship in terms of communication, appreciation, respect, and even loyalty, but there are no proprietary rights to students. I have certainly seen teachers who *feel* ownership over students, and students who feel an obligation to meet the needs of the teacher... but in a healthy relationship they should be working together to develop the dancer to his/her fullest potential.

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dinkalina

There are certainly a lot of teachers out there that think they have exclusive rights to a student but those teachers are not looking out for the best interests of the student at all. The saying "it takes a village to raise a child" holds true for developing a dancer. If a teacher is not willing to allow the student to work with other people - master classes, summer intensives, classes at other studios that are not offered at their current studio like partnering, male teachers for boys, rehearsal directors - then I think the student needs to find a new teacher. At the end, if the teacher is truly looking out for the best interests of the student, then when the time comes the student has outgrown their current training situation, the teacher should be willing to recognize the need for the student to go on to the next level of training and be proud they helped them get to that point.

 

If it is the situation you are trying to move on to the next level of training and the teacher doesn't think the dancer is ready or you are unsure how to broach the subject, set up a meeting with the teacher to discuss the pros and cons. Be exceedingly respectful. If it is the situation that you simply want to move studios and the comparison is apples to apples, think long and hard about the move. What does the other studio have to offer that your current studio isn't? Are you just hoping for greener grass? The ballet world is very, very small so maintaining respectful relationships is really important. If the teacher has given the dancer extra attention or scholarshiped them, those are gifts of kindness not given lightly. If the relationship between the teacher and student has turned toxic, end the relationship as nicely as possible and immediately seek a new training situation better suited for the dancer.

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Pinkytoes

Victoria, I apologize if I posted in the wrong place.

Wherever you think this inquiry belongs works for me.

 

Vrsfanatic, I agree that students, as people, should not be commodities. However, amidst the competition between studios in our area at least, it does not always feel this way on the student side. Finding a pathway through this that stays true to what the student needs/desires in terms of training, as this develops over time, seems to be a delicate matter. I was looking for the teacher perspective on this.

Edited by Pinkytoes

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vrsfanatic

Pinkytoes I would suggest you have a meeting with the director of your program and the teachers involved. I know little of the background information therefore, I cannot read more into it than you have provided. That would be speculation. Discuss your concerns with the powers that be. There may be more to it than meets the parental eye. Teaching ballet is an art form which requires more than what one may actually be able to see without the more educated eye of a ballet professional.

 

The bottom line is, it sounds as if the basic trust between you and the school of your DC is no longer intact. Without the basic trust that a school has the best interest of your child as a priority, the family and the school cannot work together in the child's best interest. Sometimes a school director just may need to hear the thought process of a parent or a student in order to have a clearer picture. Without this input, the wheels of an in place process might just take over.

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Pinkytoes

There is no pending issue that I am aware of for us personally. My daughter did begin studying with a new teacher as of the first of the year. But I think there was a mutual sense that she was not fitting into the mold, particularly with respect to YAGP participation. As I sat around the waiting areas this winter on the SI audition circuit, though, and others learned of our status, the topics I presented in my initial post inevitably seemed to come up for discussion. I was really just looking to hear the teacher perspective, having already heard multiple parent viewpoints on these themes.

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Danza2

Pinkytoes, I think I understand your dilemna. Not all studios have teachers or directors that are approachable or sensitive to parental concerns. I feel in many cases they have the best interests of all their dancers in mind when making decisions. But I do feel their personal and artistic preferences tend get in the way of "some" of their decisions.

 

Usually the dancers on scholarship are "loyal" to the school and do owe the school committment and communication if they decide to seek training outside the school. If on scholarship, the staff has not only made a personal investment in a student, but also a financial investment. The student and their parents often sign contracts to the effect that they would not audition or seek training at any other school without communicating with the staff first.

 

I do understand the sensitive situation in discussing concerns about your dancer's training with teachers and artistic directors.

 

(edited because I went way off topic) Sorry.

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