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Shocked, discusted, feeling hopeless - Page 2

post #21 of 66
First off....I wanted to say that I am sorry about your experiences. It should have been a great experience for you and your children.

Ok....I am going to address this post in two parts.

1. General dance school ettiquette

2. Dance schools are a business.

Ok........here it goes

1. General dance school ettiquette
First and foremost, it is a place of instruction. That should be the very MAIN focus. To instruct the children and help foster the love of the art of dance. They should have fun. They must also be learning the basics that are appropriate for their age.

Secondly......it is not acceptable to have children dancing/looking like whores. (Sorry.....I am not going to powder it up) That is totally out of line!

Our students do isolations, hip rolls, and shimmees......but never in a sexualized way. I am disgusted when I see studios at competition doing overly provacative dancing. It is wrong and discouraged by most of the dance community.

The biggest thing to think about is intention. What is the studio artistic intention to put the children in a certain costume or choreograph a certain way.

For example: If a class of toddler/preschoolers are dancing to Splish Splash and they are in two piece swim gear with beach balls.....that doesn't bother me

Or if they are dancing to Who Let the Dogs Out, dressed in dog costumes and turn to the audience and shake their tails......that doesn't bother me.

When a class is dancing to Didgital Get Down and rubbing their hands over their 9-10 year old bodies.....THAT MAKES ME WANT TO PUNCH SOMEONE!!!

I think Cole has a great suggestion. Ask to view their last years recital.

As far as seeing the costumes ahead of time......that is not possible at our school. Alot of ours are hand made and pieced together and we don't have pics of them ahead of time. However, our parents are free to discuss any concerns that they may have regarding costumes at anytime.

Costumes should be appropriate for age, body shape, and gender. (Make sure male dancers feel comfortable)

2. Dance studios are a Business

It is CRUTIAL to know the costs up front so that you have no misunderstandings.

However it hurts me to see comments like, "milking to parents for money for costumes" or "and then we had to pay even more for tights and shoes"

Dance instruction is a business. I opened my dance academy so that I could be with my children. I need to ensure that they have a future by being financially successful in my business. We have been opened for 5 years and still have not made any money. It is very hard owning a business with all of the overhead that a dance academy has. We have 50 students, 12 who are on financial scholarships.

Tuition pays for instructors, lights, rent, heat, air, insurance, office supplies, advertising, marketing, toliet paper, cleaning supplies......you get the point.

An average instructor in the US is requesting a wage of 20-30.00/hour As an owner that is an incredible amount considering the taxes, workers comp, and extra you are responsible for.

Our costumes are $150 for three seperate costumes (preschool sizes; not mix and match pieces) I can not get them much cheaper than that. Studios sometimes up charge.....which they all should as that puts foods on there tables.

There are so many costs in putting a dance recital together. Hense the need to charge for tickets and/or recital fees.

I think it is important to remember that these are businesses with families relying on them. I know the costs can add up. That is why it is so important to be informed from the beginning......there should be no surprises.


If you have any other questions....feel free to contact me at www.thenextstepdanceacademy.com

I hope that helps a bit!
post #22 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer Z
2 questions:

1) anybody have a boy in dance? do they have as much expense on costumes and such?

2) how are the YMCA classes compared to the dance studios?

extra info: my ds is 3 and I plan on enrolling him in dance academy at the YMCA this fall. (It runs the same time as the school year... August - May). I know there is a costume charge, but I didn't think it was anything near what you guys are talking about. Are there hidden fees even at the Y ?
1) Yes my son dances. Male costumes usually are less expensive then girls.

2) YMCA is a great program but the training is not as comprehensive as with SOME studios. Make sure you check them out before you register to make sure it will fit your needs,
post #23 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelBee
1) Yes my son dances. Male costumes usually are less expensive then girls.

2) YMCA is a great program but the training is not as comprehensive as with SOME studios. Make sure you check them out before you register to make sure it will fit your needs,

Thank you for the responses. I suspected that the Y wasn't as comprehensive, but at this point in time, my main reason for putting him in a dance class is socialization and exercise. I will be watching to make sure the technique is safe (not overextending knees to get toes pointed out, for example), but as a first class I was hoping it would be ok.

Also, finances are a big issue for us and the Y is about the only option outside of teaching him ourselves. (well, dh teaching him since he is the only one with training, I have no formal dance training...just years of theatre, cheerleading and drill team...and an interest in dance)
post #24 of 66
Jennifer Z....how long did your dh train for? That is very cool!

Usually that is the biggest obsticle for male dancers....getting their dads support!
post #25 of 66
Thread Starter 
Angelbee, thank you for your responses. My real concern is not specifically cost, although it was boocoo expensive for CRAP, but that HELLO it was all secretive until it was like we couldn't back out. If they didn't have the actual price an approximate amount would have been great. Like a sheet listed expenses, including the 35 dollars that they didn't tell anyone about until last week??? What's up with that? That's not being 'in business' that's freakin scamming because you are afraid people will leave if they have one more charge put upon them.

What do you think about the situation Lunamom discribed? Sounds like lousy business to me.
post #26 of 66
yikes! guess i've been lucky. dd1 has just finished up a year of dance/movement/explorations classes with the sweetest recital and sweetest little costumes (leotard and tutu in purple for her class, other colors for other classes). one of the dance teachers has a dancewear company and makes many of the costumes, but these were purchased. we pay $40 a month (1 class per week), plus a $40 production fee that covers the recital & costumes. we absolutely loved it. dd1 will be doing classes again next year for sure. it's very low key and all about fun and play and exploration. the teacher has been absolutely wondeful with dd's personality and not been pushy at all. i her! i can only imagine dd's response to someone who "corrected" her and told her she wasn't doing things the "right" way. when you're 4 it's all about having fun, imho!
post #27 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Potty Diva
Angelbee, thank you for your responses. My real concern is not specifically cost, although it was boocoo expensive for CRAP, but that HELLO it was all secretive until it was like we couldn't back out. If they didn't have the actual price an approximate amount would have been great. Like a sheet listed expenses, including the 35 dollars that they didn't tell anyone about until last week??? What's up with that? That's not being 'in business' that's freakin scamming because you are afraid people will leave if they have one more charge put upon them.

What do you think about the situation Lunamom discribed? Sounds like lousy business to me.
We give all parents a policies and procedures page when they register. It outlines the costs involved and policies regarding dress code, attendance, late payments, weather cancellations and such. The parents sign it acknowledging that they received it, had read it, and understand it.

Most of the time when people don't come right out and state their fees it is out of fear. Many times dance instructors/studio owners are made to feel that we owe it to the community to give hand outs and that this is just a hobby......not a real career (Ironic this comes from the upper class members of the community, not the ones who are struggling to afford it. )

The parts of Lunamom's story that concerns me are that she seems to have not beem informed ahead of time about the cost break down and that the instruction itselfs seems to be severely lacking.
post #28 of 66
i agree, that all costs should be spelled out up front. our studio did that for us and told us that the production fee was non-refundable, too, which was fine by me. they also allow (little) kids to join anytime of the year and to come try out a class before deciding to join. it's absolutely wonderful. the recital and rehearsal was the best. there was a sea of about 130 little girls (3-7) in tutus in one of the high school auditoriums for the rehearsal. so cute! and i'm not a dancey mama, either! total tomboy here...: . they also have serious classes for older students and i think a lot of those did have handmade costumes.

good luck in your search for a new studio!
post #29 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma
i agree, that all costs should be spelled out up front. our studio did that for us and told us that the production fee was non-refundable, too, which was fine by me. they also allow (little) kids to join anytime of the year and to come try out a class before deciding to join. it's absolutely wonderful. the recital and rehearsal was the best. there was a sea of about 130 little girls (3-7) in tutus in one of the high school auditoriums for the rehearsal. so cute! and i'm not a dancey mama, either! total tomboy here...: . they also have serious classes for older students and i think a lot of those did have handmade costumes.

good luck in your search for a new studio!
I am glad your show went well!
post #30 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelBee
Jennifer Z....how long did your dh train for? That is very cool!

Usually that is the biggest obsticle for male dancers....getting their dads support!
Not a long time, mostly when he was a little kid. His mom was a ballet instructor and she taught until his parents got a divorce, when dh was around 8. He did grow up around a lot of dance and has a step-sister (that lived with his dad...so they weren't together a lot) who majored in Dance and is now a ballet teacher in Texas. So...it is a popular activity on both sides of dh's family.

My dh is competely behind dance, gymnastics, soccer and baseball, and all forms of music and theater, but says he will NEVER allow any of his kids to play football, wrestle, or box. :LOL
post #31 of 66
Very cool!
post #32 of 66
Quote:
You kids can always add jazz and tap later. (My opinion is that its nearly IMPOSSIBLE to find a jazz class that is not sexualized somewhat, so keep your kids out of them until they are a bit older).
The owner of the studio that my dd goes to requires the young ones to take ballet for a couple of years before doing something else. She also has a summer camp they do for more serious dancers who would like to try a different type of dance. Since my dd is going into her 3rd year, she can try the tap over the summer but will still take ballet in the fall.

They also do outreach to the community and have a jazz class for those who cannot afford the lessons and usually some of the students from the studio teach that class. It's totally free, including the costumes and those kids are in the year end recital as well. A friend of mine coordinates the community jazz class and talked me into letting my dd try it out.
post #33 of 66
I've been really happy with the YMCA's gymnastics (for my DS) and dance (for DD). For gymnastics, no required clothing, all mini-competitions are optional and a very low fee (like $5), they don't even sell T-shirts or accessories until a child is at the competitative team level (about age 10-12) and then there seems to be lots of up front info about what will be required to move to that level. We're still years away from that, put all the info comes in the same packets.

For dance, they do recitals only very rarely (I've noticed 1 in the 2 years I've been paying attention), everything I have seen is relatively modest in both cost and appearance. They do periodic "show your parents" events but these are in whatever they usually dance in and held inthe classroom. Even in the upper level classes they don't seem to requrie special gear or equipment other than shoes and shorts/t-shirts/tights as needed.

I can't speak to quality vs. a professional studio. I suspect its like other YMCA classes -- very dependent on who is actually teaching that particular class. But what I've seen is certainly "good enough" for little girls who are just trying stuff out. I've heard that a few kids with special talent have been recommended away to more intense programs, trying to keep the Y classes fun rather than pressured.
post #34 of 66
Thread Starter 
Well, the recital was tonight. For the last three days I have called the studio and no one has returned my calls, and there was not an alternate number given.

Kailey was adorable in all her "marching to her own drum" glory. She lives by her own rules off and ON the stage. She loved it and was so excited to be going on stage for her two little dances. We stayed for a majority of the show and couldn't believe how little these girls (from age 3 to 19) new about dance. It was bizarre.

MANY people had cameras and videocameras, so I took mine into the auditorium and started snapping away, flash and all (but only after seeing tons of other flashes going off).

Overall it was ok, Kailey was adorable and I did get some cute pictures.

We are going to have her pictures taken on the 7th at preschool in her costumes
post #35 of 66
Thread Starter 
OH! Then get this. The cashier lady comes up afterwards and says, "Did you bring my 29 dollars." I said no. Mark wrote you a check for 59. 30 for the fee and 29 for our balance. She had us written down for only thirty. She tried to say we hadn't paid for our costumes either!!!! Luckily I had check copies. The F*%KERS!
post #36 of 66
I so know what you mean. I danced for 13 years and danced professionally and couldn't believe what young kids were being dressed in and the kind of moves they were doing. Even the teenagers were getting way too provocative.

Now I teach and will enrol my 3 year old in a Christian based dance school. True I am a Christian but it's not "just" for Christians as there is no religion being taught there but the biggest difference is that it takes dance back to an art form rather than a display of blatant sexuality. The girls that dance there are not catty or competitive and the teachers are professional and focus on just making it fun while still instilling a sense of work ethic for the dance. That attitude and tone is just so totally different and I love going to watch the recital and knowing that everything is age and audience appropriate - highlighting ability and dance and not just the body shakin' it!

As a dance teacher myself though I'd say that scoping out the schools by going to recitals, competitions or even just viewing rehearsals or classes is a great way to gauge the integrity of the school, how happy the parents are with it and if you feel comfortable with the teachers too.

I do teach jazz classes that are not sexual but the pp is right - depending on the studio it's hard to find. The studio I teach at is non-profit too and the lessons are really reasonable - likewise with the costuming!

Hopefully the fall will find you a new and better school and your daughter can still love to dance just in a more positive environment!
post #37 of 66
My daughter is heavily into dance and has been taking ballet, tap, and acro for four years (her recital for this year is in two hours ). Any reputable studio should be able to give you ALL the costs up front, including class costs, costumes, photos/video, recital tickets, etc. Paying for all that stuff does stretch our very limited budget, but Nan LIVES for her dance so it's worth it to me. The classes themselves are cheap, though (cheaper in fact than the gymnastics classes at the Y she wants to add to her schedule). The dance recital tickets are $10 each, the costumes are $55 each, and the dance pictures and recital video are outsourced to a local professional place. Pretty reasonable, I think. The cost wouldn't be a big deal at all if we weren't so broke.

BTW, the reason a lot of places won't let you take pictures/video during the recital is because a) the flashes and lights from all the cameras can be distracting to the young dancers, and b) because it messes up the professional video to have flashes going off all over the place.
post #38 of 66
Just wanted to chime in with a positive dance and recital experience - we have the same basic structure, with a fee for classes and an additional fee for costumes ($40), $10- for tickets (lap children free), the option to buy the video ($20-). The costs were clearly stated, and people have the option of taking classes but not participating in the recital if they choose not to. We are allowed to take photos/videos during the dress rehearsal but not the actual performance - this worked well, and I believe it is more about the distraction among the audience (moms running to the front, blocking others' views and flashing their cameras non-stop!) and the dancers on stage than it is about the fact that they make a professional video of the performance. The dancers have to remain backstage after their performance, but if they dance in the first half and not the second, can join the audience during intermission, or can remain backstage to take part in the "final bow" In the past they have allowed the dancers to join the audience whenever they were done and it was much too distracting, with kids coming and going in and out. Oh, and they have a big room backstage with coloring materials, beading, board games, babysitters...and videos. We are a very limited video/no TV family, so I wasn't wild about the video thing, but you know, it served its purpose in this type of situation and there were so many other great options and the whole thing so well-organized that I did not let that bother me.

As far as the skills and the sexualized stuff - we are very very fortunate to have a very professional and gifted ballet teacher in our community (former Royal London Ballet dancer who has an incredible gift for working with kids of all ages). The whole thing is very professional and tasteful - and honestly I was AMAZED at the level of performance from the very youngest dancers on up. There were 6-year-olds dancing in long flowing gowns to the Blue Danube Waltz and if I had not known better I would have taken them for 11 year-olds by the skills they were demonstrating! There were some jazzy numbers with the glitzy outfits, but they were fun and tasteful, not overly sexualized. I would have been livid if I had heard the lyrics the pp wrote above!!! It is certainly an overdone event, but I feel that the there are many benefits to the kids in being able to take part in something of this caliber and professionalism - and being on stage with an audience, learning to collaborate and work together to perform with others, learning self-discipline and poise, pride in a job well-done...I could go on and on. They all LOVED it and can't wait till next year! I wish all of you could have had this type of very positive experience with your kids!
post #39 of 66
Reading this thread has made me even more satisfied that my dd has only taken Irish Step dancing classes...not a lot of room for sexual dancing when they are not even moving their arms! The costumes are pricey but not (gasp) required (and they last for several years and are easy to find used) though the shoes are and they are very exspensive, too. Plus, all that time putting in dozens of curlers to make those ringlets on Feis days...

But really, we rent space at another dance (mostly jazz) space and so I have seen some pretty developmentally inappropriate movements with some pretty little girls.

I'm glad to hear that this is mostly looked down upon in the dance community!
post #40 of 66
Must be the season...DD#1 had her recital today, too! She has been in a YMCA dance program for two years now, and while I have been dismayed by some of it (primarily the costume issues that other posters have talked about), generally the program has not been too bad. The costs, while somewhat high ($70 or so, not including shoes), were clearly communicated, and the classes were very low-key and designed to be fun, not stressful for the kids. I agree with other posters that it seems to be mainly the jazz, modern, and some of the tap classes that had costumes that were more of the "hoochy mama" style. The costumes for the ballet/tumble classes that my dd took were pretty tame.

I am struggling with whether to re-direct dd into another activity, or to let her keep doing dance. She does enjoy it, but I am a little nervous about encouraging it, because I worry about continued costume issues later, and about the potential for body issues, including eating disorders. On the other hand, I enjoyed watching the older girls dance today, because they seemed so confident and comfortable with their bodies, which was something that I never was as a child, I would like my girls to have that kind of confidence, which I feel that dance could give them. Am I overthinking this, or, as my mother would say, borrowing trouble?

This thread has been helpful, although I'm sorry for the experience PottyDiva and others had. I would appreciate any additional advice people wish to share on the topic of dance and dance studios.
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