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How and when to choose a new dance studio?
By DanceMom2013 Comments: 1, member since Fri Apr 07, 2017
On Fri Apr 07, 2017 11:18 PM

Hi!

My daughter is 6 yrs old and she's currently in her 4th year of dance, 2nd year of competition dance. She started in NYC after watching a Rockettes performance in person and decided that's what she wants to be when she grows up.

We had an amazing studio there. She grew so well. The teachers were strict, yet patient and it was almost always fun and positive. They won so many awards, they are amazing! I got very lucky with her first studio. I'm not a dancer, I have no experience so I had no idea what I was looking for. I just knew I wouldn't tolerate someone constantly yelling and belittling my daughter. As long as it was fun and she was happy and learning, I was good with it.

We had to move out of state due to my husband's job, and I got her in one of the only studios I could find that would let her audition so late in the year. Big mistake. She loves competing, she lives for that stage performance high. But I found a little bitty newer studio (3 yrs old, 16 girls on Team/Company). It started out good. Then I don't know what happened. They held "evaluations" 2 months in. Every girl was torn down. Told my 6 yr old she's arrogant, not as good as she thinks she is, and really lacks technique. Wanted to move her to baby classes. I was furious. 2 other girls quit that day and several moms were angry. We're in studio 6 days a week, up to 3 hrs a day. I had to fight for several months to get her into private lessons. I really tried.

The studio then started the Pyramid from Dance Moms. There really isn't rules to it, just whoever the owner likes and hates that week. They're very degrading and negative to the girls. Never good enough. They take first in competitions and can't get a congratulations or good job. Just a chewing out on what was wrong. I wish I hadn't signed a contract. My daughter hates going. She loves her new friends, but her personality clashes with the teachers and owner. This studio isn't a good fit for us. I know that much.

I've been scouting competitions for other studios to see what styles I like and see how other dancers and teachers interact with each other. What else am I looking for? And when can I start visiting these other studios? This owner is horrible to students when she learns they're leaving for another studio. We're stuck until after Nationals in July, but I don't want to miss out on a chance to find someplace better. And I really don't need the owner making my daughter's life even more miserable for the next 3 months. Help? Thank you in advance!

4 Replies to How and when to choose a new dance studio?

re: How and when to choose a new dance studio?
By SDAdancerLIM Comments: 37, member since Tue May 17, 2016
On Sun Apr 09, 2017 06:32 PM
Yikes! Sounds like it's definitely time for a studio change. When I switched studios two years ago, my mom contacted several other local studios and asked if I could observe/participate in a class. I would definitely suggest doing this! While visiting other studios, pay attention to the way teachers treat current students and how the dancers seem to feel about the studio and its staff. As far as the current studio owner goes, don't tell her anything about it. Just stay quiet until your contract is up, then get out of there!

While your child is stuck at the current studio, just remind her how much she loves to dance. Although the studio sounds awful, the corrections CAN help her improve. On the bright side: If she can learn to deal with that kind of environment at 6 years old, she'll be all set for the professional dance world!

Good luck!
re: How and when to choose a new dance studio?
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 34891, member since Wed May 22, 2002
On Thu Apr 13, 2017 07:46 PM
Not a lot of studios let their 6 year olds dance this way though, so be ready that her hours might be cut. My SO has made the argument, and I'll make it here too - if your 6 year old has to be at the studio 25 hours a week in order to be a good dancer, something has gone wrong somewhere. Someone has made some mistakes.

Don't have her trying classes yet - it's a little early for that, just because you insist on making your 6 year old stick out the verbal abuse for three more months. And it'll get WAAAAY worse if they figure out you're jumping ship anyway.

Ask for a meeting with the SO. Maybe try one of the adult classes yourself. You'll get a feel for how the studio works. I mean obviously, they'll handle 6 year olds differently then they'll handle adults, but cheerful and happy to be there is cheerful and happy to be there, whether you're with a 6 year old or a 36 year old.

Don't mention names, to the new studio or the old one. Everybody figures all this stuff out eventually anyway.
re: How and when to choose a new dance studio? (karma: 1)
By Sumayah Comments: 6875, member since Wed Nov 12, 2008
On Fri Apr 14, 2017 09:34 AM
If your girl loves being onstage, then while you're at competition, stay and watch other groups perform, especially groups in her age. While you're backstage, look at how the directors interact with their kids. Then visit the studio, watch the classes, listen to the dancers waiting for class, to other parents, look at the atmosphere the studio gives off.

For instance, the studio I teach for, I adore. But it's not for everyone. Finding a new dance studio is almost as difficult as finding a new doctor or even finding a new church. Just because the training or teachings are the same, the personality and congregational spirit means just as much. You're not going to settle for a doctor with a poor bedside manner who doesn't listen to your concerns and you're not going to attend a church where you feel unwelcome. You'll try places out until you find a doctor or church where you feel valued and cared for - same with dance studios. Just because studio performs well at competition doesn't mean it's the right fit for you, and until you find a place where you get the energy you need, don't feel bad for looking around.
re: How and when to choose a new dance studio?
By kandykanePremium member Comments: 16415, member since Mon May 01, 2006
On Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:56 PM
I second Sumayah. Keep an eye on the other studios at the competitions and check them out privately. Don't just look for the studios that score well, also look for the kids that have fun and camaraderie and have an obvious love for their teachers. You'll know when you see them.

As far as leaving your current studio on good terms, that's a toss up. Just say it wasn't a good fit. And don't badmouth them at the new studio. Word does indeed get around.

Good luck, kk~

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