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Shocked, discusted, feeling hopeless

3703 Views 65 Replies 35 Participants Last post by  AngelBee
UGH! Never again will we do dance unless we are positive that the dance studio is professional and serious about teaching students.

Kailey has been in dance since August of last year. She is taking ballet, tap, and gymnastics. In November we were told we needed to pay 15 dollars down for 2 costumes that would be for a recital for tap and ballet. Cool. Then she said it would be 15 a month for December and January. Right on, not bad I think. it wasn't until March we were told the REAL cost of the costumes 92 dollars! OMG! I freaked. I felt obligated (MY FAULT) to pay... So, I got over that. Then last week (the recital is this Friday) they say, oh its 30 dollars to rent the Cole Auditorium for each child. I am so WANKED! No forewarning of this at all.

We picked up the costumes today. I paid 92 dollars for CRAP. I could have done better!!! Oh and there is no refund. Really freakin nice.

Oh and the 'dances' they have learned, NOT. I now hear from other parents who went to this place that when they changed to a REAL studio their kids were behind in their age group because they weren't taught any ballet positions at all!!!!!!!

So tonight was the dress rehearsal. The 5 yr old were grinding their hips and shaking their booties while parents in the audience were WHOO HOOING can you even believe it?? Yeah, way to sexualize your child. I could have puked!!!

I am just so livid right now!
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Yucky!! I know I have heard this complant from other moms. At one time I just thought they were being overly conservative (shame on me).
Oh I totally feel the same way. I mean, is it just me? I'm kind of conflicted about the whole thing. But I think...look how young we start our girls on the sexual kick. We wonder why girls think they have to be 'sexy' to be cool or liked. THIS is how we get complexes. IMO anyway...I think, but maybe I am being ultraconservative.
Oh, I'm so sorry you got messed up with that!

Marsupialmom, I also live in St. Louis. I was interested in signing my DD up for dance, but several people told me the local studios are all about milking the parents for $$$ for costumes, etc, just like Potty Diva found. Actually, my PAT told me that, in addition to other moms. Pretty sad!

Potty Diva, I hope you can find a better studio for your DD asap. Better luck next time!

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Arg...I know what you mean, kind of. My dd is in ballet, she is 3. This is the seecond class that she has taken at this dance school. She has a recitial this time around. No booty shakin going on around here thank goodness, but the price of everything. Are you kidding me. Its not enough that we pay $240, which is for an 18 week class, but we pay for the outfit, the tights, shoes, then they want us to pay for a new skirt...$25, which they measured each girl for, they are all too big and they tell us to take them in ourselves WTH!! Then we have to pay $11 a ticket for the recitial. They wanted a friend to buy a ticket for her 18 month old
:. You cant take pictures or record it, becuase they sell a DVD for...$28. Then the day of the performance they sell flowers for the dancers, you know that everyone else is buying their kids one, so I feel obligated. Also they want you to "tell you kids how much you love them" in the recital book, only $45 for a small add. They have the nerve to tell me that they make no money off this ? I am done with this ballet crap. Sorry to hijack your thread, but I had to get this out

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I am feeling just like you today! Same situation going on.

I talked to the lady that runs the dance studio and told her it wasn't that I am broke that causes me to not like these is just that they are not appropriate.

The recital is Sunday, dress rehearsal tomorrow. I still owe, get this, $202!!!!!

AND, I got a letter today saying that the T-shirts are in that they will wear in the closing routine, they cost $20. And she needs a flower when she is introduced, $5, and if I want pictures another $20, and a video is $20.

And the costumes are so gross. Why can't the 4 year olds wear a leotard with a skirt and a cute bow or something...must they wear hip huggers?????

I am so totally with you on this one.
Wow, that's pretty sad. My dd is 5 and just finished her 2nd recital and the studio she is at is good. The most expensive part is the costume which cost me $60. Of course, I knew before it's all said and done, I'll have a small fortune in dance costumes. But the recital was free and at our local theater. We can't record the actual performance, but we can record the dance rehearsals. I did buy the dvd this year only b/c my dd REALLY likes dancing and watching eveyone else. I know it is something she would enjoy watching over and over. They also have the professional phtographer there at the dance rehearsals. T-shirts are sold at the dance studio and recital, but not obligated to buy and they aren't really in your face and you feel pressured. I didn't get a t-shirt last year, but did buy one this year. My dd did ballet and jazz and this summer I may put her in the tap camp for 1-2 weeks to see if she would like to do that. The studio she goes to offers ballet, tap, jazz, modern and hip hop. Hip hop is one my dd will NOT be doing b/c it is all that booty shakn' mess that my child does not need to learn how to do.
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I was pretty disappointed last year when my daughter took dance for the first (and last) time. I looked for a studio that was fairly laid-back and not too pricey when it came to recital costumes and tickets, because around here, costumes can cost over $100 (because kids are often in more than one routine) and recital tickets can be $20 each!!! So the costumes (2 of them) cost me about $65 total, not oo bad, and the tickets were $8 each, also pretty reasonable. I did get suckered out of $30 for the recital video, which I regret - poor quality, and I could have just taken my own of the two bits DD was in instead of having the whole thing on tape. Did NOT buy the end-of-year t-shirt or pay for the professional photos - I'm not that much of a sucker.

But what really bugged me is that it didn't seem as though DD was really learning DANCE. She learned the recital routines. Okay, she maybe knew what first and second position were, and a couple of other terms, but the routines looked like something a kid might have made up if she was pretending to do ballet, KWIM? Same for the tap dancing. And the kids weren't very well rehearsed at all.

Fortunately, DD decided it was boring and didn't want to continue. She does non-competitive gymnastics, now, which she and I both love. Great exercise, builds strength and confidence, and it's fun and challenging, plus she has a nice teacher.
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Sounds almost identical to the studio where my DD danced last year. The costumes were crap and ridiculously expen$ive; and between that & the recital....the whole thing just had me ready to

One family was forced to leave the dance recital (which I DID NOT agree with, btw) b/c their DD (2 years old!!!) was tired/cranky and wanted to sit w/them in the audience after she danced; which the dance instructor absolutely doesn't allow. The girls are *required* to stay backstage during the entire recital (5+ hours!!! - the instructor had told us, "About 2 hours").

That rigidity is one of the many reasons why DD isn't dancing this year. I still haven't been able to find another place that I like/can afford. It broke my heart to pull DD out - she LOVES dancing so much and she's really GOOD - but I was getting highly irritated with the instructor's control issues, esp in regard to the recital; specifically the music and the costumes, many of which I found highly inappropriate for young girls. A class of *6*-yr olds wore crop tops and mamba pants; and danced to a song that went:

"Sexy mama, let's get it on
Let's get it on 'til the early morn
Let's get it on, let's get it on
Let's get it on 'til the early morn..."

: I thought I would fall off my chair! It was totally embarassing to watch, and I was so thankful that my MIL hadn't been able to attend. Then, a 14-yr old came out in a revealing, skintight costume and basically writhed on the floor to Britney Spears' "Toxic". My 13-yo DS was covering his eyes and muttering "O-M-G, Mom...that's gross."

This year, Miss B was to have danced in two numbers; a ballet number and a tap/jazz number. The costume that was chosen (by the instructor) for the jazz number was a sleeveless tuxedo coat type thing with a lacy "tail", a black sequinned hat, and fishnet tights. This is a class of 4 and 5 yr olds. The moms all HATED the costume, and said so. The instructor simply refused to consider anything else. It was then that I decided to pull Miss B out of the class. No freakin' way did I want her dancing on a stage in that get-up - and DH would have blown a gasket. From what I understand, a couple of other moms pulled their girls out too.

It was hard, because I'm friendly with Miss B's dance instructor; and she's a lovely person otherwise. But she's such a huge control freak when it comes to her studio and her students; and I just couldn't deal with that sh** anymore.
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And oooh was it ever frustrating!

I ended up simply not attending the recital. Just...not attending. We went swimming instead. Everyone was happier for it.

The costumes were vulgar. The routine was cute enough, but the costumes...VULGAR! And they didn't even teach the routine - at "dress rehearsal" the teacher was still leading from the front, and letting us know it will just be them and it is our fault as parents if they didn't practice enough. WTF? How can they practice what they don't know? How are WE supposed to know it, either?

At least they let us take pictures if we wanted.

But I hear you about the rehearsal hall rental, dance hall rental, costumes, pictures, all those EXTRAS that you think should be covered by the general tuition.
Wow this thread breaks my heart!

I am a dance academy owner in Minnesota.

I will come back so that I can better put together my thoughts.
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Uggh, that all sounds horrible :/

I signed dd up for a kindermusik dance thing at the local studio. 70 bucks for 5 weeks (includes a cd and some other things). It's for 18 mos- 3 years, so hopefully it won't be like that. I'm definitely not putting her in a permanent dance class, though. I think we'll do Tae Kwon Do instead
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I'm with AngelBee. I danced ALOT as a child with a couple of studios (and still take ballet class as an adult). I loved dancing and it breaks my heart to think that little girls who express an interest are having such an awful experience. I'm interested as to what AngelBee will suggest to avoid this in the future.... but, for what its worth, here are mine:

The issues all of you express, while seemingly the cost is really about early sexualization via costumes and coreography. To avoid this, I would look for a studio that is primarily ballet. You may think that ballet is stoggy and old fashioned, but jazz (and even tap) have become almost show girl/MTV like in most studios. 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).

Look for a ballet studio that is more focused on cirriculum than recitals. At a minimum, ask how the year is organized and what will be learned. There are studios that follow very structured programs (for instance Royal Academy of Dance or ISTD/cecchetti or Vaganova and I'm sure others can mention others) that even provide a set sylibus/system and possibly even exams if you choose. These ciriculums may still have "hidden costs", but at least you are paying for a formalized learning process rather than for endless costumes for 4 minutes on stage of a 5 hour recital.

Start asking around right now about other studios... if you do your research, you can go see this year's recital BEFORE you enroll your child. It might seem like a waste of money upfront, but is it worse than what you are doing right now???? If you are out of time right now, ask the studio in the fall, BEFORE you enroll to borrow the DVD of last year's recital... that will give you an idea of the quality of the studio and what to expect.

Finally, NEVER hand over money for a costume you haven't seen. All these costumes are ordered from a catalog. A professional place should send home a newsletter (or at least post on a bulleten board in the waiting area) picture of what the plan is for costumes BEFORE you pay anything. If you think its inappropriate, speak to the moms in the class and bring it up before the order is placed.
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I totally get what you mean, and I don't think it's ultraconservative to oppose sexualizing little girls in dance classes/routines. Last year, DH and I went to an "Oktoberfest" that is held in a local park in our community. Of course they had entertainment, especially music and dancing, and they had one dance school there with kids ranging from age 3 or so to teenagers. We were pretty shocked and turned off by the costumes and some of the routines. Some of it was cute, but some of it was over the top in our opinions. I just don't think it's appropriate or necessary to dress a little kid up like Britney Spears or Cristina Aguilera and have them doing a lot of suggestive moves with body parts that they don't even possess yet! I mean, it's one thing if kids are playing or dancing around the house, imitating adults that they've seen dancing. It's another thing when people are TEACHING them that (and making big money doing it too! Yikes!) I was also really upset once because we were somewhere watching a belly dancing troup, which was adult women, but then there were some little girls doing it too. Okay, fine, it's a legitimate dance form, I didn't think it was inappropriate. But then some man from the audience comes up with some dollar bill and beckons one of the little girls over and starts sticking money in her waistband!!! I could not believe it!!! I don't know if he was the dad or someone the kid knew or some random guy, but I thought it was totally disgusting and completely inappropriate!! First of all, belly dancing is not the same as being a stripper (not that I'm passing judgment on anyone who is a stripper/exotic dancer) but I think even people who do choose to be strippers can mostly agree that it's not cool to put a five year old girl in that position. I wasn't pregnant when I went to that Oktoberfest, but DH and I were both like, Let's remember not to send our future kids to this dance place!!

Now that I'm pregnant, we're of course looking at baby and kid clothes and stuff, and recently we saw a red leather mini-skirt, with a zipper that zipped all the way up the side, and a big metal hoop zipper pull. In a size 2 T!! DH and I could not believe it!! It makes me sad that girls don't get a chance to just be little kids anymore.
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Cole~ Thank you and this is what we plan to do. We went to Ms. A's because she came highly recommended- why I have no frickin idea.

The class is over after this recital so I will not be going back will be researching our next studio thoroughly. I have definitely learned from my mistake. Thanks again!
I found karate to be just like that, every time you turn around money for this money for that!!
I want to chime in here as well, I danced from the time I was 3 until my early 20's I attended a few private schools and then studied with the national ballet school. When I was young there were two options for costumes the parents could sew them or they could elect to purchase a premade..that cut down on fees.

It is very important to research the school carefully I agree with the op that you should hone in on a school with a strong ballet program.. most of the professional ballet companies are all checetti method these days.. but I think you still find some RAD as well.

If you check around in your area many times you can find a junior school associated with a ballet group or company that essentially grooms younger dancers for more serious aspirations in the art.. your child WILL get a good dance education this way

I have had my younger daughters in dance classes and have not experienced what your going through.. I would be upset too.
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I would be so excited about a dance studio where recitals are actually exactly that. An opportunity for the kids to show their family and friends what they have learned. Wear the same dance gear they wear to class. I went to a ballet recital on Mothers Day with a friend of mine to see her 9 year old dance. I was astonished at the money involved. Hundreds of dollars for outfits that are worn once. Even if you have the kind of money that it doesn't pinch your budget it is grossly wasteful. If I put my child in dance classes it is because I want her to learn to dance.... not because I want to spend hundreds of dollars so the teachers can mount a cut rate Broadway production that will give all the kids ulcers from nerves and be long and painful to sit through.

I've hated this nonsense since I was a kid and the recital end of it (which was much lower key than what I am seeing now) ultimately led my mom to pull sis and I out. It was just too much.
Glad it helped! Good luck in your search!
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 ?
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