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Old 08-29-2014, 01:13 PM
 
323 posts, read 567,752 times
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I haven't read through all the posts, but one thing I really disliked about my child's dance school was the way they talked to the kids. Cutesy phrases, made up names for ballet positions (e.g. "Happy Feet" for first position), etc. Maybe that sort of thing is normal I don't know, but I was never talked down to like that and I would never talk down to my kids that way either. I kept trying to picture some Russian ballet instructor telling her students to sit "kriss-cross applesauce" and stand with "happy feet." Just... ugh. No.
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Old 08-29-2014, 01:25 PM
 
5,413 posts, read 4,816,219 times
Reputation: 9351
Quote:
Originally Posted by OnlyWhnChasd View Post
I haven't read through all the posts, but one thing I really disliked about my child's dance school was the way they talked to the kids. Cutesy phrases, made up names for ballet positions (e.g. "Happy Feet" for first position), etc. Maybe that sort of thing is normal I don't know, but I was never talked down to like that and I would never talk down to my kids that way either. I kept trying to picture some Russian ballet instructor telling her students to sit "kriss-cross applesauce" and stand with "happy feet." Just... ugh. No.
Oh my!! That would just floor me! Well...not the criss cross one...since that is common enough got sitting cross legged. .. but too not use proper ballet terms is a huge red flag.
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Old 08-30-2014, 04:08 PM
 
118 posts, read 174,422 times
Reputation: 294
We just started dance, but immediately ruled out certain places because of
1) useless website - almost no one lists their prices or schedules or trial class policy. Even a range of costs would be helpful info since we weren't even sure if we wanted to try dance or not, and needed to see if we could afford it
2) no communication - we emailed 3 places. One got back to us within 2 weeks...guess where he is enrolled? =)
3) age and gender information - we have a 4 year old boy who saw a profile of ballet dancers on sesame street and wanted to try it. We have no problem with a boy in ballet, but not one place had any information on boys or suggested they were allowed/welcome (all pictures of girls on the site, 'she' only pronoun used)...I don't want him to feel like a freak either. Suggestion: offer very specific mixed-gender class for preschoolers. If I knew there was a chance of other boys being there and that the girls wouldn't look at him funny, I would have enrolled him in almost any class. We ended up doing Irish dance because it seemed more likely to have boys, and there are 2 others in his class. Yay! Also, just say "dancers as young as 5 welcome" or what have you so I don't have to make a bunch of phone calls to places that don't teach that young, etc.

Lastly, it would be nice to offer a class/program in which competition was not required/the goal, especially for the youngers. Like those above, I'm not a fan of "happy feet" or whatever - either learn the real thing or stay home - but at this age (I have a 4 year old, and a 2 year old that when she hits preschool I'll feel the same way) I want my kids to simply try new things, enjoy themselves, and see what they like without feeling pressure to be good at it. So many places required recitals or competitions that we 1) couldn't afford (many cost extra and/or require service hours) and 2) we didn't want to do in the first place. My father, when he retired, finally took up tap dancing like he'd always wanted, and loved it, and was good...and quit as soon as they made him perform. He wanted to do it for himself, not to show off (he felt) and it ruined the whole experience that they made it competitive. Both kids and adults sometimes just like to try new things.
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Old 08-31-2014, 09:00 AM
 
6,124 posts, read 5,149,377 times
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It has been almost 25 years since my oldest daughter was involved in dance class, but my biggest peeve was the way they used to push us to enter our kids in those pageants. The ones you see on the reality tv shows like Toddlers and Tiaras and Honey Boo Boo. I only put my daughter in dance because she was very shy and a thought it would bring her out of her shell a little. Those pageants cost over a $100 to enter, even back then. We were encouraged to get "sponsors"...in other words, go around begging for the money to register. Then the cost of costumes, hairdressers, makeup...

Years later, my daughter confided in me how much she hated that dance class.
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Old 08-31-2014, 10:11 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
16,481 posts, read 15,913,707 times
Reputation: 38756
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs. Skeffington View Post
It has been almost 25 years since my oldest daughter was involved in dance class, but my biggest peeve was the way they used to push us to enter our kids in those pageants. The ones you see on the reality tv shows like Toddlers and Tiaras and Honey Boo Boo. I only put my daughter in dance because she was very shy and a thought it would bring her out of her shell a little. Those pageants cost over a $100 to enter, even back then. We were encouraged to get "sponsors"...in other words, go around begging for the money to register. Then the cost of costumes, hairdressers, makeup...

Years later, my daughter confided in me how much she hated that dance class.

Wow, dance programs certainly can be different.

My daughter took dance lessons from the time that she was three until her mid-twenties and broke her knee cap in an accident (just a few classes while she was in college to keep up her skill level) and not one of the several different studios ever mentioned pageants even once.

All of my pet peeves were already mentioned by other posters.

Good luck to you.
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Old 08-31-2014, 10:25 AM
 
Location: SW Florida
9,152 posts, read 6,332,122 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LLCNYC View Post
After 35+ years of training & teaching, at age 40, I am opening my own studio. I am not new to this as I have helped many people open their own school. I have seen many positives things over the years but the negative ones pushed me into opening my own.

Looking for opinions as to what you would change if you could in your own/child's studio?

I'll start with a few things:

Ridiculous costs.
Costs for every. little. thing.
Costume costs.
Playing favorites.
That one student that is out front in every routine.

I could go & on...etc...

Your thoughts are appreciated. I will note that this business is not necessarily for income, this is something I can do without relying on the money hence less pressure. My own children are just about all grown so I can focus on this & this alone. I hope to create a place where everyone can enjoy excellent, affordable training without the "Dance Moms" hype.
It's been a long time as my kids are grown up, but for those of us parents who enrolled our kids in dance classes merely for the fun of it, the exercise, balance, poise ( all the good things dance is supposed to do for a body) and cameraderie- and only if the kid liked it and wanted to do it- I always thought that offering competition dance resulted in some of the things you mention, as well as that "Dance Mom" scenario that IMO is so obnoxious.

I'm not in the business, but I remember the owners/teachers in the dance studio my daughter went to commenting that competition dancing is big business, and meant to bring in money, for those who sponsor competitions, costume places, and even the dance studio- at the expense of the parents who are expected to shell out $$$$$$$$$ for the privilege.

My daughter attended one dance school for a couple years which had several competition teams- and while we didn't get involved in that ( my daughter was 4-5 years old then), I'd swear some of those mothers there gave the "Dance Moms" mothers a run for their money as far as the self-entitlement, aggressiveness, and cutthroat competition between the parents and their children- and frankly, it made me sick. I also thought that the owners and teachers' priorities were finding and grooming dancers for their competition teams, the trips and activities for those teams, and they really didn't give a happy hoot about the kids who weren't there for the competition, or actually teaching the kids in the non-competition classes. In fact, there were several times that we caught instructors who were supposed to be teaching these beginner classes actually working with a competition routine with a group of those kids, while the kids they were supposed to be teaching ( and whose parents paid for those classes) sitting on the side.

My daughter still wanted to dance, so the third year she went to another dance school, which did not emphasize competition, and the difference in the atmosphere was amazing, the teachers were good, and dedicated. There was a group there of teenage students whose mothers, and the kids wanted to be involved in competition dancing, and I think they did some, but again, my daughter didn't get involved in that.

That's my two cents. Anyway, good luck with your new endeavor.
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Old 08-31-2014, 05:46 PM
 
Location: NY to NJ
644 posts, read 773,801 times
Reputation: 1009
Quote:
Originally Posted by thursdaymcgee View Post
We just started dance, but immediately ruled out certain places because of
1) useless website - almost no one lists their prices or schedules or trial class policy. Even a range of costs would be helpful info since we weren't even sure if we wanted to try dance or not, and needed to see if we could afford it
2) no communication - we emailed 3 places. One got back to us within 2 weeks...guess where he is enrolled? =)
.
The place I switched my daughter to, the owner responds to emails within hours. My only gripe is that her website is not good. While the tuition is listed, ages, there still is NO class schedule up, and classes start in 2 weeks. I needed to call the studio to find out the schedule. It has said "Class schedule coming soon" since June. I'm not sure how you forget to update your website after 3 months.
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