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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Another mom told my DD her RAD score


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DD (8 yo) has taken the RAD exam several times and her teacher/director (small studio) normally returns results after she receives the certificates. That way she can share the full results with each student privately and talk on an individual basis about areas for improvement based on detailed scores. Well there is one aggressive mom in the studio who has been eager to figure out her DD's score. She asks the teacher every day when the results will arrive.

Last week, this mom waved me and my daughter over to the teacher after class. I thought she was going to talk about upcoming rehearsal dates, or something in general about the end of the year, but the mom turned to my DD and blurted out: "You got a 72." DD and I were confused at first because there was no context to this comment, and then it dawned on DD that she was talking about a RAD score that was much lower than she typically gets. DD has never announced her scores to others, but it's generally known that a few kids in the studio get Distinction (75 or more) and since my DD is one of the strongest students in her age group, it's assumed that DD would be one of those kids.

I was so flabbergasted I didn't say anything to the other mom. I tried to recover the situation by pulling DD aside and telling her she did great, I'm proud of her for how hard she works, etc. The teacher felt bad and tried to make my DD feel better by saying the whole studio's scores were lower this year, but the damage was done. DD cried all weekend, not just because her score was lower than usual, but because she's afraid this mom is going to tell everyone else in the studio how she did on the exam.

On Monday I spoke to the teacher about this situation and let her know that it was inappropriate for another mother to relay the exam score. She apologized profusely and said the mom grabbed her phone out of her hand to see the scores better, and she must have read my DD's score right underneath. She sees the other mother's act as a sign of jealousy, and she spoke to my DD for 20 minutes about how to deal with negativity in the studio. She admits that this mom was inappropriate and feels really bad about what happened. However, I don't know if anything has been said to the other mom. We went to class on Tuesday and the other mom was trying to talk to me like everything was normal. I can't even look her straight in the face because I'm so pissed. Part of me says just move on and ignore this woman because she's never going to change and she's not worth our time. (Plus DD is going to move up a level and won't be in class with this other mom's kid after the final show this Saturday.) The other part or me wants to rip this woman a new hole for being so invasive and hurting my DD's feelings.

I'd appreciate other's thoughts... What would you do?

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Most importantly, sending both you and most importantly your daughter lots of love and support. What an awful experience at such a tender age.

Personally I would have done what you have already done, including talking to the teacher. My initial reaction is to let go of thinking about what the teacher has or has not said to this thoughtless parent. Primarily because it's really none of your business. While your daughter was on the receiving end of a thoughtless and obnoxious act, whether or not the teacher chooses to talk to that parent is just not something I would suggest you put any energy into. It won't undo the damage done. It won't change the situation. And... if there are repercussions towards this other parent or her child and you are in any way involved in the process (sometimes just knowing what happened is enough to drag you into drama) it may prolong the discomfort. With regards to what the teacher does or does not say to the obnoxious parent, the less you know the better.


I would also advise that if this other parent should approach you under the pretenses of, "teacher said such and such to me... did you ask her to do that? Can you believe she said that? You're not mad are you? I didn't mean to upset you..." or anything similar the absolute less you say the better. Say nothing if possible.  For me there are so many red flags about this parent's behavior that any amount of trying to chalk this up to one thoughtless moment is (in my opinion) truly an exercise in futility. Number one you already have assessed this parent as aggressive. You already recognize that this parent is (my opinion based on what I've read) overzealous and possibly disrespectful with regards to repeatedly pestering the teacher about scores. You know (at the minimum) that this parent somehow disrespected obvious boundaries #1 by discovering your child's score and #2 by demonstrating the belief that discussing that score with your child was acceptable and #3 discussing it in a public and insensitive manner. Those three things are only in regards to you and your child's boundaries, she also demonstrates disrespect of the professional boundaries that should exist between herself and her child's teacher. She may have many redeeming qualities, but these red flags would tell me that keeping my  distance whenever possible would be in my best interest, and my child as well.


I would discuss the same things with my child that you have, and I have one suggestion for you to consider: I would likely explain to my child that it is far better to be on your side of this sort of episode than hers. The reason being that you have been wronged, and that hurt cannot be undone, but you do not have to live with the burden that you have hurt someone else by acting thoughtlessly. You do not have to live with the fact that you disrespected faculty, a fellow student, and a fellow parent. You (both, but speaking to your child) can hold your head high knowing that you have learned many many valuable lessons as to what not to do without having to make the mistakes yourself. She will have learned so much about etiquette, boundaries, respect, and thinking before you speak when in public.  


Lower than expected test scores can be a blessing if you look at them as what they are meant to be: corrections, areas for improvement, fuel for the fire to become the best dancer possible. If she feels she performed her very best possible, then this score is just a number and just a reflection of one day in her training that is already far in her rear view mirror. The true opportunity lies ahead of her for years and years and years at just 8 years old and the sooner she can learn to accept that a score is just a number, but a dancer is an artist who can use that number to sharpen her craft beyond measure.


So, in a nutshell I would say nothing more and feel quite justified to keep a polite distance. Reassure your 8 year old as needed. Perhaps, lastly, remind her of the value of forgiveness and how much peace of mind she will have the sooner she forgives this parent for acting thoughtlessly and the sooner she leaves as much of this episode in the past. Remind her that sometimes we have to forgive those who don't apologize or don't see how what they have done is wrong so that the hurt they caused can heal.


I'm so sorry you had to go through this because it was so senseless and unnecessary. I hope the other parent has room for improvement and mends her ways for her sake and her child.

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Noel19, thanks so much for your very thoughtful reply! I feel much better after reading it and I am definitely going to give my daughter these two pieces of advice ^^ that I hadn't considered. You are very right that this mom throws off red flags. It's not the first time she has crossed boundaries so we plan on keeping our distance. Fortunately we won't have to spend as much physical time together after the new year. Thanks again for your sage advice!

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Unfortunately, there are many ballet parents like this out there! This was very inappropriate of the parent. Your DD is young and just starting out on her journey. She will run into more incidents like this.  We have experienced many things such as this over the 13 years my DD has been dancing. My advice is to prepare ahead of time on how to deal with such parents and teach your DD how to handle these situations (especially if she is talented, she will be a bigger target). Seems like you have handled it well.  Just prepare for more parental drama, it is everywhere. My DD is a trainee now and 18, so parents are out of the picture, which is such a relief for both of us. Hang in there!

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Thanks for your thoughts, clara99. My DD's teacher told us the same thing. She wasn't surprised my DD was the target, she's just sorry it's happening so young. Ugh! This is exactly why I chose swimming instead of a team sport when I was a kid. I hated all the politics and parental drama. But DD loves ballet so I guess I better get my emotional armor on.

All the best to your daughter! It must so exciting to be past this stuff and able to focus on what she loves.

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I am sorry you have to deal with it at such a young age. But it is reality. My daughter has grown very thick skin over the emotional scars, but she came out stronger. I taught her to listen more and talk less. She quickly learned which parents and kids were "like that".  But even some good friends and parents turned quickly against her.  I really do not understand why parents get so crazy in the ballet world. Your daughter's progress is nobody's business. Good luck!

My daughter is making wonderful progress, and not slowing down. I hope in the future to be able to contribute more to some forums about her path after she hopefully gets that first contract. 

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Last year, the SO told us that our daughter got the highest score for her class. Sure, she felt good. But, it made me think... what else does she let slip?

I try not to focus on score or even rating. I'm much more interested in the process...is she working hard in class? Does she practice outside of class? Will she do some conditioning the 2 months to lead up to the exam?

So much could happen on exam day... what if they have a bad nights sleep? What if they fall they day before the exam? What if they are just "off" on that day?

I just want to see her work hard for something she cares about.

"Trust the Process"



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I agree with DanceDaddy about the process being more important than the destination. It is so easy to let all of the little destinations get in the way of enjoying the process... and to come full circle, very easy to let one aggressive parent get in the way of enjoying the process. 

I'd be tempted to talk to your daughter about the importance of the process with regards to this parent's behavior as well... reminding her that there will always be  individuals along the path who we have to decide either will suck some of the joy out of the process or who we will decide we will not allow to suck the joy out of the process. The sooner she learns that she cannot control the behavior of others (aggressive mom) but she can control her reaction to it the better !

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My daughter jokes that I turn everything into a “teachable moment,” but I suppose I’m guilty of it quite often. When she was younger I had to explain to her that just like there are rude, selfish or pushy kids, so are there rude, selfish or pushy adults. Inconsiderate behavior isn’t something you just grow out of—it takes conscious effort to become a better person. I think young kids, especially ones with reasonable parents, tend to assume that all adults know the proper way to behave and it can be a little shocking when they first encounter one doing something clearly inappropriate. I want to both prepare her for the idea that adults don’t always behave appropriately and make sure that she understands that she has to be responsible for her own character development—that she won’t just wake up one day having passed into a magical realm where she is suddenly caring and generous and kind. 

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Great points, folks! I really appreciate this discussion. Totally agree about trusting the process and using this as a teachable moment. Now that we are a week out of the incident, I think my daughter is able to see the silver lining in the gray clouds.

Another piece of advice I got from a good friend was to use principles of nonviolent communication if I end up having to communicate with the other mom. I've been going through this book with my daughter: http://www.giraffejuice.com/books.php

Yes, the teachable moments continue...



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