Dance Class Drama

Updated on February 17, 2011
J.P. asks from Murrysville, PA
15 answers

Sorry if this is too long, but my 2 and a half year old is having trouble at dance class. This is a dance school that offers a tiny tot class for 2 and 3 year olds (but only in the evening) and promotes it with an open house and two free sessions. When I took my daughter, my son had fun too, so I signed him up with the 4-5 year olds. It is a combined tuition that is a "deal" when you add a second child. I only added my son because I was taking my daughter. Their classes are at the same time.
To the issue, my daughter has been ejected from class the last two weeks in a row. Well, last week she wasn't there due to sickness. But the class before that she was pouty and uncooperative and wouldn't dance for much of the class. Towards the end, the teacher picked her up and put her in the hall and closed the door. Of course DD was crying and upset by that, especially since she didn't get her sticker and lollipop at the end. She is a bit of a diva, and she was a bit of a terror in September, October, and November at dance. She is not in preschool or daycare and again she is TWO. I was always appologetic about her behavior and tried to work with her. Teacher said no problem, and collected my $65 for recital attire without expressing concern. Tonight, she said DD kept laying down during class and danced some but not alot. I witnessed DD trying to see me through the view window and get upset when teacher moved her. DD sat on her bum in protest, so the teacher put her in the corner. Then DD started to cry, so teacher picked her up and ejected her from class again. DD was upset and I am not defending her behavior. I know the teacher had her reasons. BUT, I don't feel that my TWO year olds behavior was so disruptive or problematic that she needed to be removed twice in a row. I am paying tuition every month and feel quite upset that I spent money on the recital outfit at this point. If teacher didn't feel DD was mature enough or behaved enough to be in her class, how about saying so some time in the last 6 months! I'm hot about this, I'm not dragging these kids at night to this class so she can get kicked out 5 or 10 minutes before the end every week. I know my kid is not behaving as she should, but I don't feel the teacher is either.
Another complaint is that they boast their view windows for each class. Well for their own silly reasons, they won't open the blinds on the one side of tot class. So, I can't watch my daughter for more than half of her class. Or, I have to skip watching my son. I think this is a problem for both kids and and definitely a problem for me. I would like to see them both during class and the only thing in my way is a set of blinds and a weak reason on the schools behalf. ( I think they want the parents of the tot class to stay on one side of the building. Well, I'm paying for two classes, not just tots IMO)
Sorry so long! Should I say something to the teacher next week, email the school, or pull them out? I know my son would be upset now, as he is looking forward to the show. But I would be mad to have to pull her after paying for the outfit, and this was supposed to be her activity! If I say something, or email, I'm not sure how to approach it. I want to say, you took my money, now provide me with the damn service! My kid is not hurting anyone, and I expect to be able to watch BOTH my children during class as was indicated. Of course, I don't want to be nasty since I hope to finish the year. Next year, we'll be going somewhere else. Thanks for listening!
I just want to add that DD LOVES dance and she practices her steps all the time. I don't know why she goes with the negative attention seeking behavior during class, but she is very tired by that time of day. She is very hurt by the teacher putting her out.

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So What Happened?

I can honestly say that I did not know it was written in stone that dance classes should not have viewing windows for parents. This is probably because the dance school I attended growing up had viewing windows. And, there are viewing windows for every dance room at my childrens studio. I guess some people didn't get the "number one rule" memo.
If my daughter would have been kicked out of class even once in September, October, November,December,or January, then I would have pulled her out. I would not pay money to subject a two year old toddler to such harsh and negative treatment. I informed the teacher that my child is now afraid of her, and I have been attending dance class IN THE ROOM with her. DD is doing wonderfully.
Now that DD knows mommy has her back she is enjoying dance class again.

Featured Answers



answers from Pittsburgh on

She is too young. The teacher is a jerk. Consider this a lesson learned and pull her out. Try Mommy and Me classes and go back (to ANOTHER dance class) when she is around 4 or 5.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Sacramento on

Mama, back up the bus. Here's the thing. She's TWO, as you have pointed out. When she misbehaves at home, what do you do? I bet you give her a time out, and you certainly wouldn't reward the behavior. That is exactly what her teacher is doing.

You say that your daughter isn't hurting anyone, but stop to consider that there are a bunch of other moms out there in the hallway with you who have all paid, just like you did, and whose children are being distracted by your child, and whose teacher is not paying attention to them because she's paying attention to your little misbehaving diva.

I say this with the greatest understanding because I have two girls who have been in dance since they were little. One of them has always behaved (so I got to watch other kids writhing on the ground and my kid standing there doing NOTHING while the teacher dealt with the situation), and my other kid has almost never behaved in class, and so I stood there dying of embarrassment while she writhed on the ground, all the good little girls standing by watching her. I've been on both sides of the issue so I get it, I promise.

If she is being mutinous, take her out of the class. Continue taking her brother since he enjoys his class. Put her back in dance when she's 4 or 5. Why fight her over this? Is it really worth it?

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Your daughter is not emotionally ready for this class. Now having said that. when the recital happens there is always one little girl who has hysterics and refuses to stay on the stage or refuses to stay on their mark. sounds like your little one is it lol. You can continue to force her to attend and she will hate dance class. or you can take her out and let your little boy continue as it sounds like he is having fun. let your daughter have the outfit and she can wear it for halloween next year. most teachers deal ok with the little ones wandering around the room and not paying attention but if they are disrupting the others then it is within the teachers rights to remove her. the teachers at our kids dance school always did a few minute break about halfway thru the half hour lesson. does yours give a break?

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I teach 2 and 3 year olds dance. (I teach more, but the 'tots' are my absolute favorite age!)
The teacher is not suitable for teaching this age group. Period.
For MY two year old classes, this is what we do. Btw, my class is only 30 mins, they get bored and want M. pretty quick!

We start with a fun, 5 minute stretch. We are changing and moving during the entire stretch! We get moving for the next 5 minutes. Examples: marching, jumping jacks, reach to the sky and the floor.
The next 5 minutes we are moving across the floor with chasses, kicks, ballerina walks, etc.
The next 5 minutes we play a game.
The next 5 minutes we are 'practicing' something. Our positions, a dance, arabesques, etc.
The last 5 minutes is freeze dance and stamps. NEVER any candy at dance class. (It is not healthy.)

Anyway, you have to be ready to change things at the drop of a hat with this age group.

Our class is very structured, but, constantly changing and always moving. It has to be that way!

If you have any questions, feel free to PM me.

I never let a little one that chooses to sit down distract ME, because usually the other littles don't notice. It usually bothers mom watching though, so I keep reminding them to come join our class, but NEVER send them outside. One thing I notice, they are still learning, even when sitting down. They just don't 'feel' whatever I'm doing at that particular moment in time! :)

I would meet with the teacher, take my reply printed out if you want. Sounds like she needs some suggestions and guidance for the little classes. :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Allentown on

While I don't teach dance, I work with this age group on a daily basis. She is just not ready for a structured, adult-directed group yet. Some two and a half yr olds can handle it and some, not so much yet. Try again when she is 3-4. She will be happier and you will be happier.

The teacher has to make sure she can keep the other children engaged and following directions. If one child is disruptive then it is easy to lose others in the group. I can understand why she would feel the need to remove your daughter. As a parent, though, that is not easy to witness.

Is the window a one-way mirror so that you can see her but she can't see you? That would be the only way this would work. I work in speech therapy and we use mirrors like this. If I just had a window and the child knew that mom/dad was on the other side watching, then I know I would lose their attention. Some of my kiddos already figured out the mirror (if you get super close to it you can see the other side) and I have had to use a curtain to block it. Not ideal but otherwise sessions are not effective.

Good Luck

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

My daughter did this too at that age. Mainly, it was a larger class and they should have had a teacher asst. Maybe you can bring that up? Keeping communication open is a big deal, so make sure you are calm and know what you want to say before you say it.

For her it was time out during class until she cooperated and listened to the teacher, but things really got better when they finally got a teacher asst.

Good Luck

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I have learned my lesson I will not put her in a class where the teachers do not allow me to watch. 2 years old is very young to sit through a 45 min class without you. I would suggest you go to a mommy and me class. They will take both kids. We have a My Gym here in Florida and I did that with my daughter as well as an Amanda's class. It was interactive with the parents. They got to dance, do gymnastics run around have fun. I have always told my daughter if we sign her up for something she needs to finish what she starts but I think that is unreasonable for a 2 year old. The 4 year old is ready for soccor or T-ball it will be good for him to learn to play on a team. Don't expect to much just let him enjoy it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Redding on

I wouldn't take your son out over this. He is behaving and getting a lot of enjoyment out of his classes.
Maybe your daughter just isn't ready yet. She doesn't seem to be engaged or enjoying it all that much. She doesn't want to do what the other kids are doing, she doesn't want to be sent out. It just doesn't sound very fun for her.
Also, it doesn't sound like she's put out in the beginning, but at the last several minutes.
You paid the for the recital outfit. Are they going to let her be in the show? Do YOU want to let her?
I would talk to the dance teacher. Nicely. Maybe you can try telling your daughter ahead of time that if she acts up, she knows what will happen. She will be sent out of the class.
If that doesn't work, she may just not be ready or the time of the class isn't the best for her. If she's tired, etc.
I wish you the best because I know you'd like this to be fun for the kids and for yourself too.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

All I can say is if I put my girls in a serious dance school class at age 2, they would be a mess! Well, my older DD for sure would never make it through a class without being sent out. Age 2 is really, really young to expect compliance in a class, even when a parent is participating with the child! I would take her out, she is just too young, and the teacher doesn't sound very kind. She may be a great dance teacher, but she needs to really understand these kids are 2! Just gently explain she can do this when she is older, it will be easier then, and you can see she just isn't quite ready yet. I would ask the dance school director for as much of a refund as possible.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Erie on

could you ask the teacher what you could do to help your daughter have a better experience? turn it back on them,

Then you would have an opportunity to say that you would like the blinds reaised.

how do the other parents feel about the teacher needing to spend so much time wtih your child?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I think it's not a good fit for your daughter. Or maybe she's hungry? Can she talk? Does she say she likes it?
If she just likes to dance, there are many ways to meet that need--no class required.
In my opinion, this is not about money, or respect, or finishing what you start--you just have to figure out if your daughter feels that the good parts outweigh the hard parts of this class, this teacher, at this time, etc. Maybe you could negotiate to switch teachers, or come back for the next session when she's a bit older, etc. Maybe you could just invite her buddies over and put on music and wear tutus and dance at home.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

There is a difference between using the first few episodes of not being able to behave in the class as lessons in which you enforce good behavior in the class so she learns- and sounds like the teacher was patient at first- or expecting everyone to just accept that your daughter isn't being made to cooperate for months. After a certain amount of time, the teacher shouldn't have to spend time disciplining one child for laying and sitting down etc rather than teaching the class. You're totally right that they should not take your money if they wont' take your child, and you should get a refund on the outfits if it's possible.

My daughter did not cooperate in gymnastics at this age at first until I made her. Then she did and loved it. I never would have conceded to her "being a diva" (and she did try) or a terror for 3 months in row because that's just not allowed and was the reason I put her in the class-to learn the skill AND how to be a respectful student, both of which are naturally difficult to learn at 2, but that doesn't mean I just let her go but not behave.

It doesn't sound like you think you should improve the behavior, and you think the teacher is the one not being fair. Is the teacher really not supposed to remove her when she is crying in a dance class after all these other incidents? Your daughter was upset before the teacher put her out. You really don't have anything to be nasty about, other than the fact your money is still being taken and no one has suggested to you to pull your daughter. It sounds like your daughter should start when she's older, and your son may miss the show, but if you're unhappy about the windows, and going somewhere else next year anyway, I say just pull them and save some $s. Your daughter is only 2 1/2, and has plenty of time to dance later. It was her activity, but she's not old enough yet. I might let my son do the show rather than pulling both if it would really enrich him.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Do you realize that almost NO dance teacher allow parents to even see the dance class? It's almost a carved in stone rule that parents do not get to watch class. It is very disruptive to the flow of teaching and almost always kids have a melt down when they catch sight of their parents.

If you think this problem is going to be ongoing and that you can't understand then talk to the owner of the dance studio. Perhaps the teacher has better things to do than try to teach a recital dance routine over a 2 year old having a temper tantrum, or whatever you'd like it called, meltdown, what ever, but she does not have to allow your child to cry and lay around and be disruptive if she is not participating. It often makes a better impression on the child if she is removed from the class and really wants to be in there so she acts differently when she gets to go back in.

I can honestly say our dance studio teachers would send her out too. But they would not wait that long, she would go out at the first sight of crying and not being able to calm down. The dance class is supposed to be fun but recital time is stressful for the little ones, they only have so many hours to learn their routines, even if it is simple. If one child starts crying then others are going to become upset too and all control is lost int he classroom.

Talk to the owner, if she is the teacher ask her how you can help your child to stay in class for the full time and participate better. She may have some good ideas. If she's not the teacher then perhaps she can give you insight on the policy or talk to the teacher about the actions.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I teach ballet in my home and I used to have a class that included 2-3 year olds. Now I start them at age 4...LOL Anyway, my 2-3 year olds acted exactly the way you described. I only had their attention for a nano-second at a time. I tried to keep them engaged as best that I could. I taught them 3 dances too to perform!! Some days, if they were tired, it was hard to get them to do anything. They'd lay down or run around and most of the time I was the only one doing the dance. BUT I did have their attention sometimes and they did try and participate sometimes. Sometimes I even had all of their attention at the same time...LOL They did learn and I did see improvement, even though it's a hard age to teach dance. I tried to do fun activities where they were having fun and learning at the same time. When it came to performance, what fun it was to see them remember and perform their dances. These kids continued to take and now they are my best dancers. Now that they are all 4, I stopped taking 2-3 year olds. =) Having said all of that, yes, you should say something. Having been a teacher of 2 year olds, I'd say that your daughter sounds like a typical 2 year old taking dance. I'd have a couple pouters etc, and I'd try to encourage them to participate in a fun way so they'd keep dancing. It's not easy which is why I don't teach them that young anymore. =) Talk to them about it and ask what is expected from a two year old. If she can't take the class, get your money back. It's not right for them to take your money and not let your daughter take the class. Good luck!!



answers from Harrisburg on

She's too young to be in a class without you. When my kids were that age...I took them to gymboree or theYMCA, where kids and moms participated together. Wait another year and try it again.

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