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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Teacher issue - strict vs demeaning


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I'm a long time reader and have really valued this forum from both a dancing & parenting viewpoint. My daughter is 14. She starting dancing late & is taking ballet classes to assist with her first love - musical theatre. She's working towards her grade 5 RAD exam this year. She's very self motivated. She has a private with a teacher she's always found strict and says the teacher can be easily frustrated. Last private she came out in tears having been called dumb and being yelled at for most of the lesson. Teacher says she's not trying when actually my daughter just isn't able to apply all the corrections at once. Daughter nods when teacher is yelling at her as she's not sure what else to do. Teacher now saying she doesn't have the right to nod when she's not applying corrections. The question is what the etiquette is? It's a very highly regarded ballet school & I'm aware how hard it is to get privates for a student who is not going to comps/troupes etc. My parent hat tells me this teacher will destroy her love of dance but we don't have a lot of other private options in the area. Many thanks for any advice.

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Wow, I don't think most students would be able to relax and learn if the teacher is so demeaning. The name calling is uncalled for. The most effective teachers communicate and connect with their students in a positive way, even while giving corrections. This teacher is being verbally abusive. I would ask the owner for a refund for the lessons where she resorted to name calling and/or intimidation. I would find lessons elsewhere, or at least from a different teacher there. It is not worth it and your daughter's trust may be lost if this is allowed to continue. 

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I would find another teacher.  That one is not the right one for your DD.  There is no reason she should be subjected to name-calling and emotional abuse such as that.  That is not a conducive learning environment.

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Demeaning is not acceptable, in ballet or anything else. Please find a new teacher.

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Find a new teacher.  This behavior is not appropriate.  

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I would never accept a teacher calling my child dumb and yelling at them. Not acceptable. I think a different teacher is in order. Sorry for your daughter. I hope this doesn't dampen her love of dance. Good luck.

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I agree - get her out of there and find another teacher. No one can learn well in those circumstances, your daughter deserves better, and that school deserves to lose your business.

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My DDs teachers are exactly the same.  They frequently tell the girls they are either hopeless, fat, lazy, etc.  We have waited too long to make the change, but are doing so this fall.  We stayed too long because all other ballet choices involved major family changes for us which we weren't ready to make.  Anyway, I can tell you that the long term consequences lead to a dancer who is afraid to dance and one who has no self esteem.  If your daughters first love is musical theater, you can most certainly find another ballet school that will help her meet her goals.  Good luck!

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I don't consider that teacher to be strict; I call her mean. There is a difference. I have always believed that when a teacher resorts to name-calling, it means the teacher is underqualified to teach that particular student or group of students. Keep your daughter away from that teacher!

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Thank you all. I appreciate you taking the time to reply. We're looking for other options now. I've since discovered this teacher takes DD's 2 other classes as well so I've decided it must be a new studio. Once she's left, I've decided I will give some considered feedback. Many thanks again


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