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Ballet Talk for Dancers



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My daughter is 13 and has been at this dance studio for 4 years. She always works hard and I believe has proven herself to be a hard working student. She’s always polite and helpful towards her teachers and other students. She’s always been in the first or second row in a dance. But lately one teacher has been placing her in the back which we can’t understand why? Especially since the other teachers always have her at the front. She is a very strong dancer especially in hip hop. My daughter doesn’t expect to always been at the front and is happy to be in the second but because she is short if she in the back we can’t even see her. She fell like this teacher in question hates her. I try and tell her it doesn’t matter we’re you are, dance like your at the front but I can see already she getting disheartened and I don’t know if I should talk  to the principle teacher or just let it go. Please what advice would you give me to help her. 

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Hi Mom17 - Welcome to the forum! I think it is very difficult to know the reason for something like this. A whole host of possibilities could be relevant, ranging from the teacher actually doesn’t like her for some reason, to the teacher just wanting her to have a turn in the back row for once, to the teacher not really thinking about it very much at all.  And I’m not sure how you would ever really know.  Dancing is so important to our kids (and to us) that what row you are on can feel extremely critical, and we read all kinds of things into it. Meanwhile, for the teachers/choreographers, they have a whole class of students to consider. Sometimes they take things like height and/or work ethic and/or dance ability into consideration, and sometimes they don’t, because they have other things to consider, as well. Or sometimes different teachers have different opinions about what qualities they particularly want to emphasize. Perhaps one helpful thing you can do is to help your daughter consider that it might very well have little to nothing to do with her at all, and it could be related to things she doesn’t even know about. It can be frustrating to be hidden in the back, for sure, but if you help your daughter to not take it as personally, that might help the frustration. I wouldn’t assume the teacher hates her because of the row she is in, but I know to the dancers it can feel like that, sometimes. If there are other flags that the teacher has a real problem with your daughter, then that’s another thing, but just based on the row, I wouldn’t assume that. I think, especially around that age, that students sometimes come to the erroneous conclusion that the only reason to be on the back row is that you are a bad dancer. If there are no other serious concerns, I would probably downplay it and say that everyone dances in the back row sometimes, regardless of height or ability. Dance is a team activity, and all dancers have turns being more or less featured.

It can be painful for us when our children are frustrated, but helping them learn to tolerate a certain amount of being frustrated is an excellent life skill. It is great, too, for them to realize that their individual worth as a human being and a dancer isn’t dependent on having the overt approval of every teacher they come across. Good luck - I know it is hard!

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