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Old 09-16-2009, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I apologize in advance for what I know will be a LONG post, but I'd love some input on this situation that's weighing heavily on my heart today. I’m really still upset about this and not sure if I need to do anything or just let it go.

DD just started taking ballet class. Her first class was the last Monday in August. Then the first Monday in September, they didn’t have class because of labor day. This week DD had pink eye so I called the teacher to tell her that she would not be in ballet class. The school has a policy that if you miss a class, you can make it up. I didn’t care one way or the other but figured if she could make it up, why not do that? I asked the teacher about the Tuesday night class (as one of DD’s best friends from school is in that class). The time would work out better for us anyhow. She said that the class was more experienced and knew some little routines already, but we’ll “see how she does” and for us to come Tuesday night (as she would have had two days of eye drops and should be OK to be in ballet class). The idea was that if she did OK she could maybe stay in the Tuesday class.

I took her Tuesday night. She was so excited to be in her friend’s class. The other girls definetly seemed to know a bit more than DD, but we are talking about 3 and 4 year olds so most of them were messing up the moves (like any little kid would do). I wouldn’t by any stretch call these girls professionals or polished in any way. Aside from the fact that most of the routines involved very simple steps. DD did a decent job of faking it alongside them. Didn’t seem concerned that she didn’t know everything.

They did a little ballet lesson and DD had some trouble with 1st position, 2nd position, etc. She listens and watches like a hawk, but still doesn’t exactly know how what she is doing isn’t an exact mirror of the teacher (if that makes sense). Her arms might not be up high enough or her legs aren’t bowing out for a plie. She did not act up or play with her friend or anything. She really made a good effort.

Then the teacher took DD and one other girl to one side and had them practice a song that DD learned a bit about in her first class. The rest of the class (about 6 other girls) were instructed to go to the side of the room and get maracas. So DD was singled out to dance essentially by herself with one other partner. (would have made me feel weird, but whatever). At least they didn’t make her do it alone and had another girl do it with her.

Then the other little girl went back to the group and got maracas as well and the teacher told DD to sit on the floor in the corner and watch the girls do the dance. So basically all the girls did a dance they already knew while DD had to sit and watch. It looked like she was in time out. Further, the “dance” was super basic and mostly involved shaking maracas and walking forward, then walking backward, etc. Easier IMO than the first position, second position, etc. that they practiced earlier. Of course DD loves maracas (what kid doesn’t?) and I felt terrible watching her look like she was being punished and left out. It went on for at least 5 mins (maybe more). I was tempted to just grab her and leave, but I didn’t want to make a scene. It felt so tricky for me because I didn’t want to make DD feel bad about it, if she didn’t already. KWIM?

Then they included her again for a few mins. Then it was almost the end of the class time, and the teacher got the other girls ready to do another routine, and shuffled DD to the side, quickly gave her her lollipop (they get one at the end of every class). She said “I’ll see you next Monday and we’ll practice dancing X dance (the one she already knows a bit about and did a “solo” of)” and then shoved her out the door. DD just looked super confused as the rest of the girls were dancing still (another routine that DD didn’t know). DD didn’t cry or anything, but immediately asked “why don’t I get to do that dance too, mom?” I almost started crying. Another mom made a little pitiful face at me and said “ohhh. She understands ” Umm, YEAH. What kid wouldn’t understand being ostracized and left out??? She would have been aware of that at like 18 months old.

As I was leaving, a dad held the door for me to usher DD and my infant son and all our gear out the door. He leaned out the door and said, “If you are miffed, I totally understand why. She might feel bad about herself, you know?” Further validated my feelings.

My DD is a very sensitive perfectionist type. I’m honestly shocked she didn’t take it harder or cry when she was put in what looked like a “time out” to me. Her behavior is perfect in these types of settings and she strives to get everything right. I don’t see why in the world they couldn’t have let her just have some friggin maracas and stumble alongside the other girls and pretend to do it. If the teacher had told me she would have been excluded so much, we wouldn’t have come. Also, in her Monday class (which was her first ever class) she saw a girl who was acting up and being a behavior problem get ushered out the door like that twice for bad behavior. So I’m sure the connection for her and punishment is not far reaching.

The other thing that bugged me is that there is a performance the dance school is doing at a festival. They all have school shirts that say the dance company name and matching hairbows (which is what the Monday class was instructed to wear to this festival). There is a parent area where you can watch the girls through a window and the teacher stuck her head out and said something about “did you arrange for the outfits?” to a mom. She said they were “working on it right now” and then there was discussion about what the Tuesday class girls were going to wear to the festival. The organizer mom told another mom that since 4 of the girls already had this certain black leotard from Academy, they wanted the other moms to go purchase it and they were going to wear a certain kind of legging with it. Basically, like a costume for this festival performance. So the teacher has put it upon these moms to organize a costume for a festival. Listening to the whole thing was just bizarre to me. During class registration, we were given a list of fees for recital costumes, tuition, etc. It didn’t mention buying extra stuff all the time to match for a cheesy festival performance. Seems a bit much to me. I guess I just mention it because it seems so clique-ish. And this class seemed (at least from the first impression) to get much more attention in general than the Monday night class. Maybe I’m paranoid on this point, but there was a part of me that wanted DD to have the full experience of learning real routines and doing dances, etc. And another that wanted to run from the snobby ballet clique. Perhaps because of the teacher’s “we’ll see how she does” comment, I felt like we were “trying out.” The perfectionist in me was feeling really crushed for DD that she was judged and didn’t make the cut (and really didn’t have a chance to even TRY). Am I making any sense here?

So should I call the teacher and tell her I’m disappointed in how DD was excluded or should I let it go? DD understood why she wasn’t in those dances (she’s new, doesn’t know the routines yet, etc.) and didn’t seem that phased. But I can’t help but wonder what message was sent to her about what it means to learn something new, if she’s good enough, why she’s different, etc. Regardless, for someone who works with young children all day, shouldn’t this teacher have known better??

My mom says just go to the Monday class and forget it. But my mom is also ridiculously passive and non-confrontational. I hate that I feel so sick over this and am so disappointed that dance class has been kind of “tainted” for me.

Any thoughts, mamas?

XOXO
B

mama to Milena Anjali (4/26/06) and Vincent Asher (4/13/09) ~ married to the love of my life since 2002.
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:22 PM
 
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Well we've done the whole ballet scene, and what you've written is typical. I personally wouldn't have made up an extra class by putting my child in a different class because I would have expected it to be confusing (to your child) and also know that my child wouldn't know the rouintes etc.

Dance teachers are very particular when they begin teaching the performance numbers, each child has a certain spot they must be in, and maintain so I can see why she had your child sit down for 5 minutes. She could have done a better job of explaining it to your daughter.

I guess I can see why you'd feel bad (I would too), but it wasn't her dance class. The whole thing just seems awkward for everyone all around.

And dance classes always have cheesy extras to buy. And often you don't know until the last minute.

Very professional dance studios btw don't behave this way. Ours was very casual and unprofessional. We don't do dance anymore because the expenses weren't ever up front.

I wouldn't call the teacher, I guess I just don't see the point.
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:55 PM
 
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Everything you wrote is normal. EXCEPT for sending her out the door alone. That was clearly excluding her. I would have been angry then too.

In fact, when my daughter was just starting to get involved in dance, we left her first studio (which was hard for us) and went to a new studio, because my daughter was being treated differently from the "company dancers" even though the class wasn't just for the competition kids.
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dance teachers are very particular when they begin teaching the performance numbers, each child has a certain spot they must be in, and maintain so I can see why she had your child sit down for 5 minutes. She could have done a better job of explaining it to your daughter.

I guess I can see why you'd feel bad (I would too), but it wasn't her dance class. The whole thing just seems awkward for everyone all around.
.
I totally get your point. However, would you consider a random performance at a festival such a big deal? Its not a big recital or anything. I guess I don't think of this as the "performance number" since it was the second class of the year. Further, since its the beginning of the year, all the students have had one class total. So I guess I'm surprised that this class is somehow closed to DD. We had a choice at the beginning of the year for a time slot. To me this is just an additional 3 and 4 yr old class. Apparently it isn't since those other girls took classes in the past. However, WHY then would she tell me to bring her to that class? And kids come in and out all the time during the year. How does all that dynamic work? I guess I just figured that 3 and 4 year old kids are young enough to be exempt from some performanced based evaluation. Perhaps DD's is the beginner 3-4s and this is the advanced 3-4s? None of this was made clear. In fact, the teacher insinuated she may be able to join the class based on "how she did." My friend who has a 4.5 yr old and a 3 yr old in dance found this all kind of preposterous. Her girls have been in dance for a year and a half, and she said my DD would be just fine joining her class. We're fairly certain that her girls are no more professional at ballet than DD So I guess thats where I get confused. I didn't see anything these girls doing as particularly complex or skilled. DD didn't know the routine, but she didn't look much different than a third of the class who did.

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Originally Posted by Porcelain Interior View Post
I wouldn't call the teacher, I guess I just don't see the point.
I think you are probably right about this. I imagine it wouldn't change anything. But I kind of thought maybe it would cause her to rethink her makeup policy and not allow 3 yr olds to come to a class where they will be actively excluded. As a mom, part of me wants her to know that my DD's feelings were hurt because of her actions. Also, the fact that a dad actually intervened with me as I left to share a similar concern makes me think this is not business as usual or appropriate for a class of children this age.

I really appreciate your feedback though, because I obviously don't know what's normal in the dance world. All I know is that I took dance as a kid and nobody ever did that to me or my classmates.

XOXO
B

mama to Milena Anjali (4/26/06) and Vincent Asher (4/13/09) ~ married to the love of my life since 2002.
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Old 09-16-2009, 05:14 PM
 
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No I didn't take the random performances seriously lol, I think that's why we ultimately ended up not continuing with ballet.

We're doing music lessons and that seems to be a better fit for us.

I also tend to be sensitive and found some of the clique stuff obnoxious and also we were really horrified by the hip hop classes and the music choices and movements for the little kids so we just left the place all together.

I hope your DD enjoys her regular classes though from now on. The teachers sound a little socially clueless, but unless it happens again I'd consider it harmless.
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Old 09-16-2009, 05:24 PM
 
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The teachers sound a little socially clueless, but unless it happens again I'd consider it harmless.
Same here.

I was a dance mom for years and it's just not uncommon for kids to sit out numbers. Sometimes it's because they missed class, other times its because the teacher feels it would help them to see it performed and so on.

Your daughter was fine with the class, although not the ending of it. Maybe try to follow her lead and not get too emotionally invested in you idea of what you think should be happening. It's not easy to watch our kids out of their comfort zones but it happens more and more as they get older.
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Old 09-16-2009, 05:34 PM
 
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I think it sounds really sucky, personally!

If it were up to me, I'd probably pull her and explain why. But it sounds like she's still enjoying dancing and would feel additionally punished if you took her out, so I guess you're stuck for now.

That being the case, I'd at least give the teacher a call and say that you and your daughter were both confused by how the class went, and what the expectation was. I'd say something like "dd really enjoys and benefits from participating fully in class. She's saw a child excluded for misbehaving during the previous class, and couldn't figure out why the same thing seemed to be happening to her."

Hm. Or actually, maybe you can talk to dd about finding a better class? Just make it clear that you're looking for a class that is better and more fun, where you get to dance more. Because really, she's 3, and the point should be to participate and have fun. Yucky, yuck, yuck.
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Old 09-16-2009, 05:40 PM
 
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I took ballet classes as a kid and can tell you from experience that teachers are often already looking for the girls who will be good and separating them from the girls who won't be.

I am sure that there are ballet classes out there that don't do this, but in my classes there were actually rows based on ability and if you were in the first row it meant you were really good. If you were in my row it meant you really sucked. And that did hurt. The first row was all the perfect tiny little ballerina's that the teacher spent most of the time with because they were the ones with the talent.

It always surprised me that by the time I joined (9 yrs old) there had been girls taking classes since they were 3 and were clearly being groomed to join the company-first as apprentice ballerinas then as cast members.
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Old 09-16-2009, 06:29 PM
 
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For the dance moms responding: are you really saying you think this kind of stuff is normal for a **3 year old** dance class? I can see it as they get older, but it all seems absurd to me. I'm the friend with the 4.5 and 3yo girls that have been in dance since summer 2008, and perhaps we're just lucky, but it is not like that AT ALL. I'd like to say it's not fair to paint dance with that brush, but our studio is the only one I have experience with so far and we've been really happy, and I cannot possibly conceive of a situation like the one Beth described ever happening.

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Old 09-16-2009, 06:58 PM
 
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For the dance moms responding: are you really saying you think this kind of stuff is normal for a **3 year old** dance class? I can see it as they get older, but it all seems absurd to me. I'm the friend with the 4.5 and 3yo girls that have been in dance since summer 2008, and perhaps we're just lucky, but it is not like that AT ALL. I'd like to say it's not fair to paint dance with that brush, but our studio is the only one I have experience with so far and we've been really happy, and I cannot possibly conceive of a situation like the one Beth described ever happening.
There's definitely a range of dance classes out there. Lots of rec departments and even dance studios offer classes that are more fun, relaxed, casual, etc. But I think that it is very, very common for dance studios to start kids out at three or four with the kind of rigid or strict expectations that are typical of dance training in general. I'm pretty sure that my niece had her first dance "exam" when she was just 5 or 6.

I do think the OPs experience was pretty close to the norm for a dance studio, and that if you're looking for a less formal class you need to be careful to shop around a bit. Those classes are definitely out there, but I wouldn't assume that just because it's the preschool group a class won't capture the somewhat strict tone of dance training.

Julie - Mom to Elizabeth (Libby) age 6, Penelope (Penny) age 5, Elliott age 29 months, and Oscar who is 1 year old!
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Old 09-17-2009, 11:24 AM
 
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At the dance studio we go to (very professional), kids do not start ballet that early. They do more of a general dance, progressing through general skills levels, prior to ballet. Seems more developmentally appropriate to me. The teachers seem to do a lot of slowing some of the parents down who are gung-ho for serious ballet at age 3 or 4 or 5.
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:02 PM
 
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For the dance moms responding: are you really saying you think this kind of stuff is normal for a **3 year old** dance class?
It certainly can be. If you talk to professional ballerinas, most of them started VERY young and got serious about it very fast.
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Old 09-17-2009, 03:05 PM
 
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For the dance moms responding: are you really saying you think this kind of stuff is normal for a **3 year old** dance class? I can see it as they get older, but it all seems absurd to me.
I'm with you, I think it's a bit absurd. DD is in a class for 3 and 4 year olds but it's not even "ballet", they call it "creative movement" and haven't taught anything about ballet positions or anything like that. They are working on balance and movement activities like walking on a line on the floor or walking in a circle while holding their knees, some stretching stuff, and at the end all the girls get frilly purple scarves and "dance" to music however they want.

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Old 09-17-2009, 03:19 PM
 
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I am finding the world of little girl dance strangely fansinating.

I live in a town of 5,000 far, far away from any professional dance companies. There is at least 5 established dance studios within a 10 minute drive.

While sitting at at DS's music class yesterday, I heard the moms talking about the range of seriousness of the studios their DDs attend.

The one mom said that they left one studio for another because the instructor doesn't allow 3 year olds to use the bathroom during class and shames the ones that do ask in front of the entire class. (the mom pulled her DD out of this place)

Mom to DS, born fall 05 after ,,, wife/best friend to DH We have
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Old 09-17-2009, 03:40 PM
 
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This is why we don't do dance. But yes, I think it's pretty normal. We did it for a couple of years and it wasn't a good fit.
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Old 09-17-2009, 05:15 PM
 
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We pulled our dd out of a local dance studio here for similar reasons last year, op. We found an alternative dance company that focuses on developing the whole child and fostering self esteem and positive relationships. We love it, so does dd. If she feels she wants to pursue serious dance when she is older, she is welcome (but with my genes, lol, I somehow doubt it!)
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Old 09-17-2009, 05:22 PM
 
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Both my girls do dance as well, DD1 started at age 3, DD2 at age 2. We've been through through 3 studios finding one that I like. I am *very* pleased with this year's pick, but that has taken 4 years to find.


The behavior you described isn't uncommon but not what I'd be looking for in a studio. I could completely understand if it was farther in the year, but being the SECOND week, eh, not good IMO. I see children sitting out, but in an 3 and 4 year old class, it really shouldn't be happening unless most of the class is sitting and taking turns doing something.


I'm guessing that this instructor very well could be fine for older children but maybe not for this young age group. We've had one of those before, it really takes a special person to *get* the younger dancers, know where they are at developmentally. We've never had a studio that had a makeup class policy like this one. I find it confusing, and am always rather concerned about the vast difference between the two classes that are supposed to be the same age group. The only thing that would make this seem ok in my book if if there were either different instructors for those classes or one group were mostly older 4's or something.

ETA: And I agree with the posters that said in the more professional studios, ballet is not at age 4. DD1 finally got to start ballet this year and she is now in the age 7-8 class. Before that it is creative dance for 3-4, tots in motion for 2-3, and then still more general dance classes for 5-6. We've been with other studios that did do tap/jazz for 3/4 year old, ballet was 5+, and those studios did not work out for us. There was pressure at a young age which is not what I want for my children.

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Old 09-17-2009, 11:15 PM
 
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I think you should call and ask for clarification about how serious the dancing is taken at this studio. It sounds like you are at a studio where they focus on skill rather than fun and you may want to consider moving her to another studio or asking if there is a class you can put your dd in that is more focused on fun.
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Old 09-18-2009, 12:47 AM
 
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Was the Tuesday class just a makeup class, or was it a tryout to move permanently into the Tuesday class?

It sounds to me like you thought of it as a tryout, and the teacher was treating it like a make-up class (so it would make sense that your dd might sit out the dances her class isn't doing, and the teacher might take a minute to review the stuff she would have learned in her regular class).

If there's a possibility that there was a misunderstanding, I might give the studio another chance. If it was very clear that it was a tryout, I think I'd look elsewhere for dance lessons.
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Old 09-18-2009, 01:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Was the Tuesday class just a makeup class, or was it a tryout to move permanently into the Tuesday class?

It sounds to me like you thought of it as a tryout, and the teacher was treating it like a make-up class (so it would make sense that your dd might sit out the dances her class isn't doing, and the teacher might take a minute to review the stuff she would have learned in her regular class).

If there's a possibility that there was a misunderstanding, I might give the studio another chance. If it was very clear that it was a tryout, I think I'd look elsewhere for dance lessons.
Basically, the Tues. class is smaller, has her friend in it, and is the same age group. It WAS a makeup class, but I was considering asking to switch days anyhow. When I mentioned it to the teacher, she said "we'll see how she does." So it was a bit of both.

Just to update: I pretty much decided to finish out the month with 2 more monday classes and also there is the festival performance at the end of the month conveniently. So, we'll see how the next two classes go and see how the vibe is at this festival performance and then evaluate. If DD isn't that stoked or there is some clique-ish b.s. going down at the festival, etc. then I'm thinking of ditching these lessons in favor of ARTS ALIVE at her montessori school. The teacher comes to her school and they do creative movement, imagination, etc. I thought it was pricey before, but I saw her doing it with some kids one day and it was way cool. The lessons are 30 mins. rather than 1 hr, but they are cheaper than dance (esp. if you figure in all the additional costs). I'll let DD choose if she wants to switch.

I really appreciate all the input. It helped hearing a perspective from those who have experience with the "dance world" (which I'm currently not so enamored with. hahaha).

XOXO
B

mama to Milena Anjali (4/26/06) and Vincent Asher (4/13/09) ~ married to the love of my life since 2002.
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Old 09-18-2009, 01:19 AM
 
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I agree with the posters that you might be better served finding a more professional dance school. Dance schools that focus on learning routines and performing aren't usually the ones that actually create dancers. Young children should focus on learning to hear music, move their bodies, and feel comfortable dancing.

Go with your gut instinct, they are almost always right.
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Old 09-18-2009, 03:02 AM
 
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I think you also have to think of the other children. They're there working on a routine. They've already got their places and they've got their steps - to have someone new come in is really difficult for little kids to adjust to.

This happened to my DD last year when they were practicing for the nutcracker - she had two practices - knew where her postition was, knew where she was supposed to go and then they added another child to the mix. It really threw the kids off. It's so much harder for children that age to adjust to their routines being changed.

I know it's hard when you think your child has been slighted but, if she doesn't think she's been slighted, then I think you shouldn't make it an issue. It doesn't sound like she was intentionally excluded but, it really can be hard to add a child to an exisiting group when they're practicing routines.
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Old 09-18-2009, 03:13 AM
 
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Just want to say "hugs". Your story saddened me. DS is also a sensitive perfectionist type and these types of things really sting or have the potential to. It's all so unnecessary...

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Old 09-18-2009, 11:10 AM
 
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Originally Posted by amcal View Post
I think you also have to think of the other children. They're there working on a routine. They've already got their places and they've got their steps - to have someone new come in is really difficult for little kids to adjust to.

This happened to my DD last year when they were practicing for the nutcracker - she had two practices - knew where her postition was, knew where she was supposed to go and then they added another child to the mix. It really threw the kids off. It's so much harder for children that age to adjust to their routines being changed.

I know it's hard when you think your child has been slighted but, if she doesn't think she's been slighted, then I think you shouldn't make it an issue. It doesn't sound like she was intentionally excluded but, it really can be hard to add a child to an exisiting group when they're practicing routines.
That might make a bit more sense, if it weren't just the second class in this case. A child could well have missed the first class for some reason then joined. And I don't know any 3 and 4 year olds who have a routine memorized in one class!

Dd did dance for 2 years. She loves to dance, but she did find the repetitiveness of classes to be a drag, and lost interest, particularly with the first school, which was very geared towards the year-end performance. Instead of just 'getting to dance' and use her creativity, it was months and months of perfecting the same routine over and over. I'm sure that works for some kids, but she was bored.

Something like that Arts Alive you mentioned, OP, sounds potentially really great! If your daughter's naturally a perfectionist by nature, she may really benefit from a class that stresses creativity and a bit of mess, instead of 'perfecting' a routine. She probably already puts enough pressure to be perfect on herself, and doesn't need more externally.
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Old 09-18-2009, 12:56 PM
 
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Well, the OP herself said that they were practicing for a show so it would stand to reason that the previous week, everyone had been assigned their place and they had a practice. Also, her DD was in a Monday class that was canceled due to the holiday but, I doubt the entire place was closed down for the week so I'm guessing the class on Tuesday went ahead. So, it was probably the 3rd class for the kids in the Tuesday class and a child who had only had 1 class was introduced. It can upset the dynamic.

No, none of the kids would have the routine memorized but, if they got their positions and had practiced then it is very confusing for kids to have a new student introduced. Even if it's only the 2nd class (most likely the 3rd).

I'm not saying it couldn't have been handled better but, it bothers me when parents see their child as a victim when really, it doesn't sound like she was intentionally hurt or singled out - it sounds like there might have been other things going on.

Personally, if something like that bothered me, I wouldn't spend my time speculating on all the things that could have been the cause, I would talk to the teacher. She may be a really nice person who has an explanation for what happened and may be receptive to your views on the situation. Rather than pulling her, labeling the place as clique-ish and having a bad taste in your mouth for an activity that should be fun - how about just talk to the teacher?
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Old 09-18-2009, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by amcal View Post
Well, the OP herself said that they were practicing for a show so it would stand to reason that the previous week, everyone had been assigned their place and they had a practice. Also, her DD was in a Monday class that was canceled due to the holiday but, I doubt the entire place was closed down for the week so I'm guessing the class on Tuesday went ahead. So, it was probably the 3rd class for the kids in the Tuesday class and a child who had only had 1 class was introduced. It can upset the dynamic.
It was the 2nd class for everyone. Because of Labor day, rather than have the monday class start in Sept., she had them start the last week of August. The only difference between the Monday and Tuesday kids is that because of labor day, the monday class had a first class, then a week off, then the second class. I'm not big on the idea of a makeup class, but since DD had already been off a week, it seemed like why not? Esp. when the Tuesday class time was better for us anyhow. It was originally at 5:15. Now its 5:30. On Monday, the class starts at 6:15 which is a bit late for us.

Just to clarify.
XOXO
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mama to Milena Anjali (4/26/06) and Vincent Asher (4/13/09) ~ married to the love of my life since 2002.
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Old 09-18-2009, 01:40 PM
 
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Either way - I still say that rather than speculate on all the reasons for what happened, why not just talk to the teacher.

I find often times we create scenarios in our heads as to why things happen and often times when our child is involved, our perception can be skewed. Why not just talk to the teacher. A couple things may come from that - she may not have even realized that the perception was that your child was being excluded and she may apologise and you may end up in the class you wanted. Or, she may be completely unresponsive which will clarify for you whether or not this is the place for your child.

Either way, I think the teacher deserves the opportunity to have your feelings explained so she can explain herself and be given the opportunity to make it right. If she doesn't know, there's nothing she can do and you're left with a bad taste in your mouth.
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Old 09-18-2009, 02:35 PM
 
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As a mom who can easily get emotional, especially about her kids, can I gently say that you are overreacting? I would take a deep breath, sit and listen to some music, and just go back to dd's original beginner class - with a good attitude - next week?

It is part of the transition from (what I assume is oldest or only child at this point) to being in groups outside of the "world revolves around us" that most of our kids get at home. Sometimes things go just their way and sometimes they don't. It isn't a slight on your child; the class was a level above hers. She can't fully participate in a class that is harder than her level, whether another mom thinks it is "just fine" or not.

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would you consider a random performance at a festival such a big deal? Its not a big recital or anything. I guess I don't think of this as the "performance number"
Any performance that is open to the public represents her dance studio, her business. Of course she considers it a big deal - especially in this economy. Will 4 year olds be perfect - no, of course not. But a performance is a performance. Wanting them all in black leotards isn't odd at all. I have three girls (now 13, 9 and 6) and I can't COUNT the number of times (mostly for school but also for dance or other activities) they are asked to wear black pants or a white shirt or black leotard for a performance or parade. It is not unusual; take it in stride if your kids will participate in group activities.

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I guess I'm surprised that this class is somehow closed to DD. We had a choice at the beginning of the year for a time slot. To me this is just an additional 3 and 4 yr old class. Apparently it isn't since those other girls took classes in the past. However, WHY then would she tell me to bring her to that class? Perhaps DD's is the beginner 3-4s and this is the advanced 3-4s? None of this was made clear. Her girls have been in dance for a year and a half, and she said my DD would be just fine joining her class.
In your first post I thought you said that this class you asked for as a makeup was a level above what your dd was in? Your choice at the beginning of the year was between a few days for beginners. Makeup class you asked for (because her friend was in it, and it was an earlier time) wasn't dd's level. The teacher said ok to be nice, but she shouldn't have 'cause it is causing a problem for you now and for her soon. It isn't just an additional class even though it has kids the same age as your dd. As she grows up and participates in more things, you will see that they are not just grouped by age. They are grouped by age loosely and also ability/experience.

And what may "be just fine" now at age three leads to problems down the road if she ends up loving dance and sticking with it. Because you are essentially skipping the beginner level altogether and putting her in with kids that have a year or two of experience. This may not show up as a problem now, but when they get to harder moves/routines/classes (either this year or in future years), the other girls may be able to do it and your dd may not. THAT really COULD hurt her self-esteem. Don't set her up for that now 'cause you wish she could be in class with her friend or the earlier time frame is more convenient for you.

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I kind of thought maybe it would cause her to rethink her makeup policy and not allow 3 yr olds to come to a class where they will be actively excluded. As a mom, part of me wants her to know that my DD's feelings were hurt because of her actions.
I think she should rethink her makeup policy - to be stricter and only allow makeup classes within the same level. Because letting them jump up to a higher level class can only lead to trouble, as is shown by this thread.

Also, I would try to rethink how you are framing this - as how you perceive it will affect how your dd perceives it. She was NOT excluded. She did something with another girl that was HER LEVEL in a higher level class. She watched a routine that she did not know. This happens all the time as part of learning. Don't read more into it than there is.

And I don't think HER feelings were hurt; it sounds like yours were - for her. Which I do understand as a mother; I really do. But don't let that discolor it for her. When she came out, I would have said "wow, those girls were working on a routine for festival - that scarf part looked neat. I wonder what your class will do; we'll see when we get to class next week!" She asked why she couldn't do the last dance? I would tell the truth - mommy asked if you could take a higher class, and they are working on something you haven't learned yet. It isn't bad/shaming/unfair. It is the truth of the situation - and not really the teacher's fault. I'd just frame it differently.

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It always surprised me that by the time I joined (9 yrs old) there had been girls taking classes since they were 3 and were clearly being groomed to join the company-first as apprentice ballerinas then as cast members.
Where I live, the majority of kids take dance from age 3 to about 9 or 10 then most drop out for sports or because it gets too hard/requires too much time and dedication. So joining at nine makes it tough - you can't put a nine year old in a beginner class with 3 and 4 year olds - but she can't do routines that kids her age with six years of experience can do either. If the dance studio is big enough, there can be beginner classes at young ages as well as older - but a small town studio may not be able to do that.

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Originally Posted by karne View Post
At the dance studio we go to (very professional), kids do not start ballet that early. They do more of a general dance, progressing through general skills levels, prior to ballet. Seems more developmentally appropriate to me.
Same here. My six year old is starting her fourth year of dance (creative movement at age three and age four, preballet at age five, this year she chose hip hop instead of "ballet", but next year at age seven she could start true ballet. Our studio is focused on fun and a love of dance, but is also professional and works towards the dancers being able to join true professional dance companies when they are older if they'd like (six of our studio's girls recently applied and were accepted to Pacific Northwest Ballet).

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I think you should call and ask if there is a class you can put your dd in that is more focused on fun.
OP's dd was in that class originally - the beginner class.

The other thing I'd like to mention about dance teachers being too nice and letting kids into classes that aren't their level. My dd1's hip hop III class was decimated two years ago when kids at the lower end of the age range but not high enough ability-wise were allowed into a class. Everything was reduced to the lowest common level, and most of the higher level kids dropped out 'cause it was boring and too easy. My dd stuck it out, but kids actually ended up getting hurt trying to do pair moves with kids who weren't at a level to pull it off. It was really, really frustrating for the kids and the paernts - and all because one girl (basically) was allowed into a class that by age she squeaked into but just couldn't do it. They wouldn't kick her out of the class as it would be self-esteem damaging, but at what point do you let the other kids move up and not this one girl? At some point, either the teacher or her parents should have insisted she was in a level appropriate FOR HER, not what her friends were in. My dd is only back this year because we talked to the teacher and were assured the higher level classes would really be higher level this year.

I am all for talking to the teacher IF you are having a reasonable reaction. In the OP's case, I'd not say anything - except to calmly mention that you think you'll take makeup classes in her own level from now on. That is really the only thing that needs to change - to only allow makeups within the same level.
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Old 09-18-2009, 06:05 PM
 
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I would finish out the month but start looking for an alternate dance school or join the class at her Montessouri school. Every dance school definitely has a culture associated with it- and while I wouldn't have found the teacher's behavior odd in an older aged group, I do think it is very strange for the second week of a preschool aged class. There is something out there that will be a better fit for your family.

I taught dance to kids 3 - 8 for several years and just cannot imagine why she would have excluded your dd. I am honestly at a loss for words. In my experience, the first month (September) is always chaotic as kids are still registering- especially in your preschool aged classes. Part of teaching is knowing what is age appropriate and how to include all the kids in your class. At this age, and only 2 weeks into the year, it is totally doable.

Julie; happily married mamma to Wyatt (4) and Jonah (1.5)
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Old 09-18-2009, 07:34 PM
 
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Ahhh ballet drama. The #1 reason I took DD out of ballet. I just don't get it. I'll never get it. From the frosty ballet teachers to the cliquey parents, the exorbitant costume prices and looong rehearsals...guess I was just never meant to be a part of that.
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