May 23, 2011,
C.M. asks from Bartlett, IL on May 20, 2011
Livid About Dance Class!!
I signed my 9-year old up for a dance class this last fall. She really liked it so I kept her signed up. I watched a bunch of the classes, but since none of the moms stay I decided to start dropping her off. She seemed to be enjoying it so we kept going. We bought recital costume and she's been practicing for the recital in 3 weeks.
I dropped in last week to catch the last 10 minutes of class. I was horrified! The kids walk all over the teacher (and they really weren't that bad in the fall so I don't know what happened) and I found out the teacher hasn't finished choreographing their recital routine!
They have ONE MORE practice until the recital (then they have dress rehearsal, then recital). The kids don't know the routine, the teacher still has to tell them what to do and she was just adding new bits on.
No one knew about this, and I informed the owner of the studio. None of the kids said anything and none of the parents watch since it's an age 9 and up intermediate class.
I can't believe they have one more hour to learn the last part of the routine and practice the whole thing! I'm afraid the whole class is going to go up on stage and look very confused. My daughter has all her family coming to watch her and SHE is upset because she didn't know they only had one more practice and she's panicking that she doesn't know the routine. Especially since it's not FINISHED yet!
I don't even know what to do! The owner said she'd talk to the teacher and that she would be fired after the recital but I don't know what else to do. My poor daughter is now terrified to go up on stage with this routine, and she's a performer and a good dancer. This will be her first stage recital, although she's competed cheerleading and gymnastics for years.
I'm not even sure what to ask the studio to do. Any advice?
Edited to add: I'm not concerned about a "perfect" performance, or one that is amazing. I'm concerned that the kids haven't had time to practice and feel unsure about their routine that's not even finished! Nothing is more terrifying than standing up on stage in front of people and being confused! I want my daughter to have a POSITIVE experience and so far she's the one who is upset. This is no fault of her's or the other kids'. They can't change the recital for one class, not after the venue has been booked, tickets have been sold, etc. All the other classes have had plenty of time to practice their full routines, and while the young kids just stand up on stage and look cute (and no one expects more) the kids her age WANT to DANCE, and they are fully aware of what's going on.
So What Happened?™
Thanks for the advice!
According to the owner of the school, her routine was supposed to be finished by Spring Break so that they'd have time to practice the whole thing. The school has been around for a long time, and according to the other mother in the class that I talked to, this has never happened before.
I partially blame the school for not checking with the new instructor that everything was done. And I should have been more vigilant in either watching or talking with my daughter.
This is an intermediate class, my daughter was bumped up from the beginner class because she was so good. Probably all the years of gymnastics and cheerleading have helped, plus she's a naturally good dancer. Most of the girls in her class are on the competitive dance team, which are the advanced classes that meet more than once a week. She was asked to be on the competitive team but we couldn't this year because of all our other activities. There is not competitive Hip Hop team for girls her age so that's why they all take the Intermediate Hip Hop Class.
I have assured my DD that she will be wonderful and that no one will know (just like I tell her in gymnastics and cheer--no one knows except you what its supposed to look like!) but she's a competitor and she has the personality that she wants everything to be perfect.
I'm going to talk to the studio about extra practices. Thanks for the advice on the videotaping, I'm bringing a video camera and a blank CD to class next week. I'll talk to the owner about extra practices. At least most all of the girls in the class are experienced on stage.
I think some kind of refund may be in order too! I'll talk with the owner. Thanks!
M.R. answers from Chicago on May 21, 2011
I love the place where my girls take dance- they don't even do costumes- it's very laid back and meant to be FUN! They get to dress up in whatever they want if they choose to do the recital- it's not about the studio making money on the costumes and there are no tickets to sell, etc.
If it were me, I would dial it down and look for a place that focuses on the kids having fun, not being perfect on stage. 9 is still very young.
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B. answers from Augusta on May 21, 2011
1) CALM DOWN. it's JUST recital. It's not a competition.
2) Take a blank cd to the studio and get a copy of the music.
3) tape the teacher doing the routine. so she can watch it and practice.
Being a first year student she's a beginner. she's going to have problems, the routine will look awkward and simple. and plenty of kids will not know it. no matter when the teacher begins teaching it.
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S.T. answers from New York on May 20, 2011
she is nine. chill. i realize your dd is nervous - but you need to dial it back so asnot to spill your anxiety over to her. she needs to hear you speak this truth into her mind - the teacher wasn't prepared, things are not going to go as perfectly as you want it to go. So let's drop back and punt - plan b. Let's have fun. there's not one other kid in class who feels comfortable with the routine - so let's turn it into a fun time.
privately - out of your dd's earshot make sure you get some kind of credit for future classes or something. also keep in mind that the teacher may be going hrough some horrible personal situation. having been through many ups and downs in the last 2 years i cann tell you that I'd be horrified if my career was judged soley on stuff that's occurred in the last few months.
Youu family will think your dd is amamzingf and adorable no matter what happenes - and go simple. for the future consider a dance school that doesn't have the big recital tag the end of the season. My dd went to ballet like that for a few years - they focused on form not a dance routine - and we saved huge $ on not having to buy the outfit & the tickets for every possible family member, etc. .oh well - it'a not the perfect situation but you'll make the best of it all and there will be fond memories of the worst dance recital ever. You'll be glad to have the video of that dance recital to use as blackmail wwhen she's a teenager in very few years.
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R.M. answers from Cumberland on May 21, 2011
Enjoy the show-she's nine! It will be adorable!
5 moms found this helpful
L.C. answers from Washington DC on May 21, 2011
The only people who are going to know that their dance isn't perfect is those who are dancing. The audience will be thrilled with whatever they do. That said -- they are 9 not 19. Relax. If you freak, your daughter will freak. Tell her to go out there and have fun.
This is not an intermediate class -- it's a once a week thing for girls who want to decide if they like dance. Intermediate and advanced dancers dance for 1- 2 hours at a shot for 2 or more classes a week. I know this. My daughter danced for years -- she was often at the studio more than she was home - especially at performance time. (Our studio did full length ballets instead of recitals.)
What you decide to do about the teacher and the studio needs to be done without your daughter present.
Please keep in mind: You saw one class. ONE. And.. you saw the end of the class. You have no idea what went on earlier in the class. You don't know what is going on with the teacher or the kids. Did you ever stop to think that maybe she got as far as she could with the kids earlier in the class, but that by the end they were tired or distracted by their own stuff? I'm sure they were walking all over her, but maybe she gave up during the last few minutes and let them...
As for the choreography not being done -- that happens all the time! Things don't work as planned. They try something and it just flops. The kids should be able to do all the moves, but when you put them together it looks awkward. They will pull it together at the end. They always do. And if they don't - who is going to know?
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M.D. answers from Chicago on May 21, 2011
CALM DOWN. it's JUST recital. It's not a competition.
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M.L. answers from Houston on May 21, 2011
I have danced and did competitive cheerleading for years, and this is really a shame. It's also a shame though that no parents caught it earlier... not the instructor of the school or any of the moms sounds very sad that no one was paying attention or going home and watching their daughter's practice the routine.
Anyhow, I would also bring a camera and record the routine so your daughter can practice. I wouldn't be surprised if the teacher calls for one last rehearsal before the show, and I agree this teacher is not ready to be paid for managing such things.
Now, as for the teacher, she could have a finished routine but decided to add in a few choreography changes... that happens all the time. It could be she had to change something up because the girls weren't 'getting' a certain move. Who knows? Has anyone calmly asked her about it and what her expectations are?
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K.T. answers from Chicago on May 21, 2011
As a former dance teacher I have a lot to say about this one. First, u can't reschedule a recital as thousands of dollars are used to reserve a location, print programs, tickets etc so that is not an option. Second, did you as a parent ask ahead of time when the kids would begin learning the routine and when they would finish learning and just polish? Did you go to the recital last year to see how well the kids knew their dances? I, in now way, think this is acceptable for the dance class to be so unorganized but it is also a parental responsibility to know what is going on with your kids activities.
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M.H. answers from Dallas on May 20, 2011
Either have them refund you ALL OF YOUR MONEY, or have them give your daughter free dance lessons with a new teacher next session. How horrible! Sorry!
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L.M. answers from Owensboro on May 20, 2011
Just say, you need to hurry up and get someone else to teach them or reschedule the recital! Cause if you dont, these girls will be embarrised!
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