Livid About Dance Class!!

Updated on May 23, 2011
C.M. asks from Bartlett, IL
24 answers

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.

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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!

Featured Answers



answers from Chicago on

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.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Augusta on

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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answers from New York on

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.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Cumberland on

Enjoy the show-she's nine! It will be adorable!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

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?


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

CALM DOWN. it's JUST recital. It's not a competition.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

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?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

It's just a recital, for goodness sake. Tell her it's for fun and that you will cheer her on. She is having her own little crisis due to her first, possibly first, time on stage with this type of activity and she is having her own bit of stage fright. How about trying to make it more fun and less "Oh My Goodness".

All teachers add stuff and tweak the routine until the last minute. I agree they should be doing fairly well at knowing it but the may just have a lousy teacher. You may have also caught them on a bad night, after all, Spring Fever is rampant at this time, plus school getting out, stress from practicing to perform...I can only imagine the stress she is feeling.

At this point our dance teacher is tweaking things like head positions, she even changed the front line and the back line around last week. There was one woman who decided she just could not afford 2 dance costumes so she dropped her daughter out of one, her girl is my girls dance partner in one song, they do things together. So, the teacher had to change the dance around again.

It is chaos until they enter the stage then it all comes together. If it doesn't then so what, it's not a competition or something that is required for life.

BUT it can be a good or bad experience that can influence her ability to be in front of people for the rest of her life if you don't turn it around and tell her it looks wonderful and that she is doing a great job, that it's is looking much better.

It's up to you momma to turn it around to a positive. If it stinks at recital you can chew the owner out and demand a refund or something. But her spirit needs you to lift it up and build it up right now.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

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.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Ask to meet the teacher at the studio and video her performing the routine, so your daughter can practice while watching.

If she's competed in othere activites before, then it sounds like you are used to more organized and structured teachers/coaches. I don't see any harm in expecting the same thing of this dance teacher.

That being said, there is no way in the world you should be THAT out of the loop when it comes to something your child is involved in.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

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!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Owensboro on

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!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Eugene on

Why is a dance school having a recital after one year? I studied dance for 9 years very seriously in NYC. One day a week is a joke. Twice a week would be the beginning of some kind of training. Half a day Saturday and twice a week.
The owner of the school is out to lunch. Where has she been all year counting the money of the naive parents who think she runs a real program. She should have been checking on the teacher at least once a month unannounced.
Now for your daughter. Just tell the family the truth. If you know you are going to look for a serious school for her then she does not have to subject herself to the recital. I would never put a girl or boy through a recital until they were 12 years old and knew they wanted to be a dancer.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I also think Metro Mom is correct - but I also think that as a parent you are somewhat responsible asking the teacher about the progress of the class in general and your child in particular. Also (and I know this is uncomfortable to say) if you're daughter is just beginning dance at 9 years old and taking one class a week, it's not really an intermediate class - it's a beginning class for older girls. Your expectations should be in line with that and you can share that expectation with your extended family if you're concerned about how they will react. In a more formal dance school your daughter would have been taking dance since she was at least 4 years old and by now would be in class several days per week. She's not - she's just beginning and she'll be ok if you and your family support her. The school - the teacher is only partly to blame - the owner should know what's going on too and should have given parents a progress report during the dance class as well.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Let your daughter see you remaining calm and let her know to relax and have fun with it. Watch some Lucy shows, many a great dance came out of some silly botched sketches and your daughter will not feel humiliated. And people will be greatly entertained! Some people (perhaps the dance teacher) work really well under pressure, but as parents we want them to do it our way. As a mother the best you can do is to let your daughter know how proud you are, how you are loving her participation and that she is loved by such a great family. I have seen many a Christmas pageant turn out wonderfully despite the last second rehearsals. Since you can't move the teacher along to finish it at least give your daughter the confidence she needs. She will always love you for it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

NY Metro Mom I think is on the money on this one.

She's right that it's just a recital. It's not a grade. It's not required. You will be fine and so will your daughter. Please reassure your daughter that she will do fine. And she will. And you're going to be in the audience with tears in your eyes anyway, you won't see the goof ups!

Seriously, how about bringing a blank CD to the teacher and asking her to burn off a copy of the song so your daughter can practice it at home. Go over the steps she knows and ask the teacher to fill in the blanks at the last rehearsal. I did this with my 6 year old. I even wrote some of the steps down on a piece of paper so I could prompt her when she practiced. It helped a great deal with her feeling more prepared. It will at least calm your daughter a bit more and give her the confidence to go on stage.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Green Bay on

I would talk to the owner and demand she hold additional practices for the girls between now and the recital until the girls know and are comfortable preforming the routine. Of course these additional practices should be free of charge since it is the instructors fault that the girls do not know their routine yet. That is unacceptable. My daughter was in dance for 7 years and that has never happened even when she was really young. Typically they start practicing these routines in January so there is plenty of time to learn and be comfortable with the routines by the time the recital rolls around. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My 8 year-old daughter was in a theater class. One practice before the final show she told me they didn't have a play put together. I was concerned, as you are. The day of the play they were great! It came together just fine. Help your daughter calm down and just do the best she can. Treat this as a learning experience, NOT as a disaster.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

The girls are obviously not that nervous since none of them have mentioned it to their parents. I would enjoy the performance and not sign er up for the same studio again. I don't think it's that big of a deal!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

That's ridiculous...If I were you, I would be there as much as possible and idk? make sure they get a different teacher, next time...I would def. explain to my child, that they still need to respect elders, even if they DO NOT know what they are doing?? lol! That's a tough one. Good luck.


answers from Kansas City on

Couldn't they postpone?



answers from San Francisco on

I think they need to pospone the recital. Its not fair for the kids to have worked so hard and their teacher the one who is supposed to be leading them is not prepared and hasn't even finished the routine! So unacceptable! I would get a few more parents on board with you and all of you come and talk to the studio owner. Tell them they need to do something about this and you will wait until they figure something out. So sorry this is happening! Let us know what happens...




answers from Portland on

Gees! I wouldn't get upset until after the recital. As others have said, practices may look bad but somehow it all gets put together at the actual recital. I've seen it happen.

By making a fuss now you are undermining everyone's self-confidence, not just your daughter's. You are saying this recital will be a flop, etc. And it's likely to happen. We usually get what we expect.

Back off! It's too late to do anything about it. Put a smile on your face, Realize that whatever happens it will be OK. It's just a recital. Nothing big depends on it's being the best one. What counts is that everyone enjoy themselves. Isn't that the whole idea of dance. We dance for fun unless we're doing it as a career, in which case we still have feel confident and be enjoying ourselves on some level.

Tell your daughter it will be OK so that she can relax and do well. By telling her it's not going to succeed she will be even more tense, scared, and unable to perform at her best. Tell yourself it will be fine. And it will be.

You get to choose what you'll be upset over and what you'll accept as what it is and make the best of it.

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