Forum: Adults / 30 Something

30 Something
Not allowed to take class with the senior kids...
By pharmadancermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3459, member since Tue Mar 16, 2004
On Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:24 AM

After being at my dance studio (on and off) for 9 years, I've been told that I'm no longer welcome in the senior level classes (with the high school kids). I'm allowed to take the single adult ballet class that the studio offers once a week.

I'm just really bummed.

I know that there was a long stretch where I was away from class (3 years because I went back to school; a couple because of injuries) - but I started at this school at the age of 28, the SO led me through two ballet exams (RAD Intermediate and Advanced 1) within three years, and I spent a year teaching there. I feel like I've been told that I'm too old to dance with the high school kids, or that I'm worthless now that I cannot advance or improve any more...

I thought that I would always be welcome at the studio - I know I'm twice the age of the kids, but I figured my technique was more than sufficient to keep up with the kids, and was shocked that the SO would essentially kick me out.

I took the adult ballet class last year because I was still recovering from an injury. While I have no problem taking lower level classes (loved being able to concentrate on technique!) - the pace of the class was so slow, we only ended up doing an average of 5 barre exercises and 3-5 center exercises in a one hour class... It was just much slower - I didn't get as good a workout as in a faster paced, longer class, and the teacher spent all of her time working with the beginners.

I know that, logically, ballet was not kind to my body, and that I will benefit from doing jazz or modern instead of strictly ballet. But it's hard not to think that it's because I'm too old for ballet, when I love ballet so much. I know that I get down on myself in class when I feel that I cannot dance at my previous standard, but I still felt that my technique was good enough to keep up. I was looking forward to getting my body back into relatively better shape by taking 3 ballet classes a week with the senior kids.

Now I'll be looking for advanced level jazz/modern/contemporary classes with the other studio in town. Unless I get told by them that I'm too old...

I guess this was more of a rant and cry for sympathy... anyone else getting any grief for trying to dance at a more advanced level as you get older?

14 Replies to Not allowed to take class with the senior kids...

re: Not allowed to take class with the senior kids...
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 34891, member since Wed May 22, 2002
On Tue Jul 28, 2015 11:30 AM
Had that happen to me too.

I danced at a studio near my house. They were advertising that they needed competitive dancers, so I asked if I could try out.

Too old. I was 23. And I'm baby faced, so other than that I would have had curves that the average 18 year old didn't, I would have physically fit in.

It wasn't that I physically couldn't. It wasn't that she was worried about the time commitment, or the financial commitment, or whatever...I was too old.

I was taking a class with kids 10 years younger than me! (I wanted to hip-hop, and they only had just the one beginner class). So I'm good enough to dance with them, but not with the GOOD kids that age?!

Dance is weird. There's such a time limit imposed, for no real reason what so ever. Like, somehow I'm supposed to enjoy dance until I'm 18, then that's it. It's been real, get out. Uh, I'm not done. I might not physically be able to do what I did when I was 18, but that doesn't mean I don't want to keep trying to do what I CAN do!
re: Not allowed to take class with the senior kids...
By Tishwah Comments: 586, member since Sun May 17, 2009
On Wed Jul 29, 2015 12:23 AM
This happened to me, but I was almost 30. So I went to the rival school in town, who were happy to let me take an appropriate class once they had seen me dance. Then when I "quit" my school I had been with for many years and they asked me why, I told them exactly why and where I was going!
re: Not allowed to take class with the senior kids...
By LoriCook Comments: 1762, member since Mon Aug 17, 2009
On Wed Jul 29, 2015 04:51 AM
I can see why women frequently lie about their age. :(
You say you get down on yourself, I wonder if the teacher saw this and thought to save you from yourself. Did they give you a reason? I would be asking some questions. Maybe there's been a misunderstanding.
re: Not allowed to take class with the senior kids...
By Tishwah Comments: 586, member since Sun May 17, 2009
On Thu Jul 30, 2015 12:32 AM
I think there is becoming a greater and greater hesitation about putting adults and kids together due to Child Protection, even being a high school teacher (with all the appropriate Working With Children paperwork) it is hard to convince a dance school to put me in a kids class.
re: Not allowed to take class with the senior kids...
By fairy_dustmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 6584, member since Sun Jan 20, 2002
On Thu Jul 30, 2015 12:15 PM
Edited by fairy_dust (19771) on 2015-07-30 12:16:49
I know which studio you're referring to (though I'm not going to name names), and I've also had the feeling that I was being excluded. I took adult beginner classes there when I was 19, but also teen beginner classes at the studio across the street (which was my main studio for years). The studio across the street never had issues with me taking classes with the teenagers (even if many were junior high age and I was in university), but a few years later when I wanted to supplement my dancing with ballet classes from your studio, the SO told me I'm too old for the level I would be taking and many of the kids in that class might not feel comfortable with me in the class (I was in my early-mid 20s at the time).

Also, at the master class where we met in person for the first time (Remember that? Haha...), I was one of several girls from the studio across the street who had signed up (the SO had sent an invitation to some of our studio's classes), but when we were in the class, we noticed that the SO was looking at us as if she was waiting for us to mess up (possibly a rivalry, though I've known lots of people who have taken classes from both studios). Also, one of the girls had shown up in clothes she normally wears for ballet class at our studio (capri leggings and a snug t-shirt), but the SO gave her crap for it, saying she can't wear that and making her wear a spare leotard and tights from a closet full of "appropriate" ballet clothes at the studio (if she's that picky about the studio's dress code, she should have let us know about it in advance instead of giving this girl crap on arrival for wearing the wrong clothes). Because of this, we had a negative impression of that studio and SO, who seemed really snobbish compared to the SO and teachers at our studio.

If you want to take class at my old studio, I'm sure they'll welcome you there with open arms (it's more recreational than the one where you've gone - no syllabus, exams, etc - but also more inclusive and less strict about things like dress codes). I danced there for years in my 20s, and have known several other dancers older than me (some were even middle-aged) who have taken classes with teens there.
re: Not allowed to take class with the senior kids...
By Moonlitefairy06member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 7177, member since Fri Apr 16, 2004
On Thu Jul 30, 2015 07:55 PM
Tishwah wrote:

I think there is becoming a greater and greater hesitation about putting adults and kids together due to Child Protection, even being a high school teacher (with all the appropriate Working With Children paperwork) it is hard to convince a dance school to put me in a kids class.


That was my thought too. That it might be a legality thing or a parent complained or something.
re: Not allowed to take class with the senior kids... (karma: 1)
By LoriCook Comments: 1762, member since Mon Aug 17, 2009
On Fri Jul 31, 2015 03:28 AM
Pretty sad if parents see all adult dancers as a danger to children. Ridiculous.
re: Not allowed to take class with the senior kids...
By pharmadancermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3459, member since Tue Mar 16, 2004
On Mon Aug 03, 2015 05:43 AM
Thanks everyone for the validation - I feel a little better that it's not just me, but it just stinks so much how older dancers are treated!!

I'm going to have to have a conversation with my SO about the whole thing - I just don't understand and it's making me feel really badly. I can kind of understand her reasoning for the ballet classes, since she gets the kids ready for RAD exams, and it can be a lot of work for her. But she's also told me that jazz classes are out for me as well, which just doesn't make sense to me at all.

I don't even do the recital at the end of the year (I did for the first 2 years when I started, then bowed out for the next few) - I feel a little awkward dancing with younger kids, and also feel like it's their time to shine, so once the SO would start focusing on the recital dances, I would phase out my attendance for the last 4-6 weeks of the semester (had done it for 2-3 years, and never a problem before). She neither encouraged nor discouraged me to do the recitals, so I felt like she didn't care (or that she really actually didn't want me there, but was too polite to tell me).

Fairy_dust - thank you for not outing anyone on here - that wasn't my intent! I agree with you that "your" studio (as opposed to "my" studio, for simplification) is probably my best bet, as I've also been taking some drop-in classes there over the last few months and hopefully I can find a jazz/contemporary class there that fits. I am optimistic that your studio will be more welcoming - I've always felt that the SO was very welcoming to me when I did drop-in or master classes there... I'm just so disappointed that this happened, and I don't want to spread any rumors or dissatisfaction within the local dance community, you know?

Will update this thread again once I talk with the SO - hopefully will get a straight answer from her.
re: Not allowed to take class with the senior kids...
By fairy_dustmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 6584, member since Sun Jan 20, 2002
On Wed Aug 05, 2015 11:19 AM
The SO you probably took the drop-in classes from at my old studio actually teaches a lot of the intermediate and senior/advanced jazz and modern classes there, so she'll probably be very happy to have you in her classes. Age was never an issue for her when I was there - most of the people in the class were high school age, but I took jazz from her when I was in my 20s, and there were a few others in the class who were older than me (30s and 40s).

The other SO from my old studio teaches ballet, and though she didn't initially want me taking classes with younger kids, she later started teaching a teen beginner ballet class (specifically for teens who have other non-ballet dance experience) that I took when I was in my early 20s (the first year, it was taught by another teacher who isn't there anymore, but the ballet SO taught it the next year), and many of us who started out in that class eventually took the "regular" intermediate/senior ballet classes (with other teens around the same age who had started young) and many of us even took pointe. She actually mentioned once during the "open house" night (where parents/relatives/friends can sit in and watch) that this was one of her favourite classes to teach because it has a lot of diversity when it comes to previous dance experience.
re: Not allowed to take class with the senior kids...
By pharmadancermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3459, member since Tue Mar 16, 2004
On Mon Aug 10, 2015 06:36 AM
So here are the results after emailing the SO about the situation:

I asked her to clarify her reasons, because I was really trying to understand them but couldn't quite get there. Especially since I realised that there were 3 other adults who had been taking those classes for the last 2-3 years (all in their early 20s).

She basically backpedaled. She blamed it on trying to prevent others from the adult ballet class that are at my level from asking to take the senior ballet classes (there was only one mid-20s dancer who would be at that level). And the pressure that she gets from pressure to only teach children. And the fact that she "didn't think" that the jazz teacher would be comfortable with adults in her class (apart from the 3 that currently take her class, apparently).

She said I would be welcome to take class, as long as she doesn't get any pushback from these sources, at which point she would need to rethink the situation...

Not exactly the welcome I was hoping for.

So I'm done with her studio. I've spoken with the other studio in town, and feel confident that I can find a couple of classes that will suit my needs well. The teacher there says that I would be more than capable of keeping up with the highest level kids, so that's good. And I think jazz/contemporary will be a lot better for my body and more fun for me.

Anyway - just a little update for those who were curious!
re: Not allowed to take class with the senior kids...
By LoriCook Comments: 1762, member since Mon Aug 17, 2009
On Tue Aug 11, 2015 04:33 AM
Interesting. Those of us who are adult dancers need to keep pushing back so we aren't pushed out. Dance is for all ages and genders not just female children. Glad you asked for clarification and will be taking your money and talent where it will be appreciated.
re: Not allowed to take class with the senior kids...
By tellaboy Comments: 66, member since Wed Sep 29, 2010
On Fri Aug 14, 2015 07:51 AM
Its hard getting older ...I am 40's and I still feel like I am 13(ok 21) so I can Drink.
I started an Adult Ballet stretch class....I would be so out of place if I took class with high school kids.
As far as your school I don't think the teacher or the school think you are worthless!!!.I have a question?Is the Adult Ballet class to basic? Take the Adult Ballet class and Bring it up to a higher level.Take ownership of the class.
Maybe you are not the only dancer they have told this to. If you get all the advance Ballet loving adults all in one class you will Draw more dancers at your level to that class. We all want to cry out for sympathy.Its funny the owner of the school or the Teacher our age can teach a class to the High school dancer so why cant you stay in your class all the other in that class grew with you so its not like you walked in the class yesterday...PS jazz/modern/contemporary are all fine and good but if Ballet Is your love don't give in just yet


RC
re: Not allowed to take class with the senior kids...
By smileywomanmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 11032, member since Sat Sep 17, 2005
On Sun Aug 16, 2015 04:24 PM
I'm in my 50's and just don't feel comfortable in a studio anymore regardless of the ages of the students. I never felt comfortable when I started back dancing at 40 and now at 55 I just don't. My passion to dance is still there, but I now just stick to my home studio and videos.
re: Not allowed to take class with the senior kids...
By hummingbird Comments: 10414, member since Mon Apr 18, 2005
On Sun Aug 16, 2015 09:57 PM
That's such a shame Maria, I've had some wonderful students who were a joy to teach who were older than you and I feel very sad that you don't feel comfortable in the studio.

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