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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Changing Studios


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Hello everyone!


DD9 has been wanting to leave her childhood studio (which is really wonderful, but doesn't offer a pre-professional program.) She is very young, but craves detailed correction, connection with other kids who love the work as much as she does -- and she wants to really dance, rather than focus solely on exam exercises. After trying an inspiration class with older girls, having a long private lesson, and attending a full-day workshop that had more Ballet in one day than her studio typically offers in two weeks, we are certain the new studio is the right place for her to take her next steps (that turned into an awful pun, sorry!)


I know I don't really have to say anything to our old studio. I could just send a simple email that notes when she'll withdraw, and goes on to thank everyone for their work with her, but I feel like that will instantly spark that special kind of outrage that comes from hurt feelings, and that doesn't seem like the way we should end what will be an almost 7-year relationship. This is also complicated by the fact that the childhood studio somehow feels like they are in competition with the new studio -- and while they both offer terrific instruction, the programs and goals are not in any way comparable.


I'm sure many of you have been in a similar situation.


Did you find any phrases that oriented the conversation in the right direction? It's important to me to at least communicate that this is solely about growth, and that we'll always think warmly of the childhood studio for launching DD's love of dance. Is that trite?


Thank you in advance!

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  • DoubtfulGuest


  • DanceMumNYC


  • vrsfanatic


  • Elf Font


I would be honored to receive such a letter from the family of a student, if indeed I really knew in my heart that the program I was associated with was not providing what the student needed. The "if" is the difficult question. If they feel they do provide the same or better training, there really is nothing you can say that will make it ok. Be polite, be firm and honestly proud. When it is time to move on, it is time.


Please keep us informed as to how it goes. Sending you a cyber hug. It sounds as if you need one. :thumbsup:

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Thank you for the reassurance -- and the hug, Vrsfanatic -- I really did need one! This is an extremely stressful time, and I want to do right by everyone involved.


One of DD's teachers at her childhood studio feels exactly like you would: that when a child needs to spread her wings beyond what the program offers, it is a beautiful thing.


I am deeply grateful that my child has found a passion so early in life, and is bravely stepping into the unknown in order to follow it; finding the words to reassure the adults who have nurtured this love for most of her life is an important and daunting task.


This board is such an incredible resource. Thank you again for your kind words and experienced perspective!

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I'd wait as long as possible before telling your current studio at the very least make sure you wait until after casting and placement has been set for spring performances. I've seen kids berated in class to the point of tears because they were moving studios and my daughter was basically ignored after telling her director that we were making a cross country move at the end of the season. If at all possible I'd wait until after the final recital.

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Thank you Meatball77!


That was my gut feeling, too. At this point, we're thinking of withdrawing before showcase choreography begins -- it's been delayed this year for a number of reasons, and likely won't begin in earnest until April. We'll be making the final plan with the new studio on Thursday, and we'll plan the timing of the switch to be the least disruptive to everyone.


I'm so sorry your daughter was short-changed in her classes before your move -- moving is hard enough on a kid! I'll never understand how adults can fail kids so utterly... We're all just doing our best to keep everyone in the loop and work with the circumstances we're dealt!

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DoubtfulGuest do not inform the current school of your decision to leave until you are ready to do so and I mean, until you are able to turn and walk out the door without returning. It is doubtful the current school will understand. Meatball77 is correct. I assumed you were ready to leave now. If you plan to finish out the academic year in this school, a simple and polite thank you letter after the performances will be enough.


I agree it is unfortunate that some schools do take away parts and worse, but it can and does occur. All the best to you and your DD.

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Hello again, Vrsfanatic!


We are indeed ready to go practically immediately -- on Thursday we are discussing exact timing with the new school and will definitely switch as soon as possible. I will absolutely save the news until the date she's literally starting at the new studio -- that process is going to be awkward enough for me, I wouldn't want to do it sooner and have DD have to float around there six days a week! Ideally, I don't want her to have to answer any questions at all -- she's a little kid!


Thank you again for your help!


Edit -- For punctuation/grammar

Edited by DoubtfulGuest
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A quick update!


DD has been withdrawn from the old studio, and will be starting immediately at her new one. Everyone is very, very excited.


I wrote a letter to the old studio that spoke warmly of DD's time there, and thanked everyone for lighting the fire in her belly. I wrote a second, more personal letter to the manager of the program, who immediately texted me about hurt feelings and requested an in-person meeting, which I've deferred. I'm happy to talk to her down the line if she thinks more feedback would be helpful in the context of their program, but DD's particular situation is now resolved, and I don't think an emotionally-charged meeting to rehash the issues would benefit anyone.


Thank you again, everyone, for all your help with this! We are definitely breathing easier around here today.

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I think you are very wise to defer (into perpetuity) any personal meeting with the manager of the old school's program. Nothing good ever comes of those. (Speaking from experience. :wink:). They have their philosophy and they aren't going to change. They aren't really interested hearing that it doesn't fit with your daughter's current needs. So best just to leave it as you did. "I only want to play baseball"--from "Bull Durham".

Best wishes on the new studio! You accomplished a graceful exit and stayed on the high road. Moving on, now. :D. :clapping:

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Here is what I am struggling with:


We are looking at another school, a prepro, a little rather away from our current school. It seems like a great fit and great place for my DKs. But the current school has done SO much for my DKs. They even named a dance after one of them! My heart breaks at the thought of leaving these kind people.


We are thinking to leave because they don't have a boys program for DS, and my DD is in an odd level where she is the youngest but kind of at the top of the level and no place to move up to.


I can't figure out if I am being overly sentimental or do I really owe the current school more of a chance because of all they have done for us??

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nynydancer, it sounds like you will need to move on at some point. I would express gratitude to their current school and briefly explain your reasons for transferring schools. Perhaps, you could leave the door open to doing future performances or workshops with your current school. Good luck. Saying goodbye is hard.

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Hi Nynydancer!


I've talked to a lot of parents lately as I tried to navigate our departure, and I received a wide variety of great advice but the one idea that kept cropping up was that taking note of the emotional attachment is good, because it can guide you in how you discuss the issue. However, the issue that needs resolution is not the emotional part, but the lack of opportunity for your children. Your real job is to solve that piece -- if the current studio can't (or won't) put a plan together, then you'll know what to do. How great that you have found a pre-professional school that seems like a great fit!


This morning, I'm in the weird position of politely disengaging one more time. The old studio has suddenly offered a completely revamped program in order to retain DD. This is a little horrifying, since what they are offering is still not a pre-professional program, but I'm trying to find a kind way of communicating that. Wish me luck!

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What my husband always says is that counter-offers almost never work out in business situations. If the employee has looked elsewhere and found another job and you then make that employee a counter-offer to stay, even if they accept you never quite forget that they wanted to leave. And from the employee's perspective, there is usually some deeper dissatisfaction with the company or feeling of needing to move on. If they agree to stay it rarely lasts long term. I don't know how you explain the emotional break and the fact that you've moved on to the previous studio.

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We moved DD11 (at her request) back in the fall and it turned out to be the best decision we made. She had been at the old studio for 6 years and had many friends but even she realized that the training was not what she needed and she was ready for more. I withdrew her three weeks after classes started so of course an explanation was needed. A polite and respectful email took care of it. They offered a meeting and I did not accept it because I had said all I needed to say in writing. No bridges were burned but to this day, DD has no regrets.


In these cases I think it is very important to put our children first and avoid external influences. Sure there are lessons to learn with sticking things out but looking at these posts, these children just want to improve their dancing. As long as all of their other needs are being met - academic, emotional, health, etc, I see no harm in changing to a studio that is better suited to the specific needs of the dancer. In most cases, it allows them to thrive and love dance even more.

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