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Re dancing classes

(39 Posts)
jollyfrenchy Sun 17-Apr-16 13:46:00

DD1 is nearly 10, and has always enjoyed dancing. She changed dance schools in January because she has no opportunity to perform with her old teacher, and it seemed a shame not to be able to show off her skills.

However, I'm getting really peed off with new dance school teacher. DD attends a 2 hour session a week, and they are due to do an exam in a couple of weeks. With her old school, they had a brief exam run-through the week before just to check they were familiar with the exam conditions. With this school they are having three 1.5 hour extra sessions in the three weeks before the exam, which we have to pay for, and which "all candidates are expected to attend". AIBU to expect them to do enough in their normal classes to suceed at exam? We have very little family time at a weekend, and pay loads already for her various activities.

Also, her teacher has complained to me about her having had her haircut. The info about the dance classes stated that for this exam they are supposed to have their hair in two plaits, pinned on top of their head. When she started there, DD had bob length hair, so the two plaits thing was never going to happen. She has since had it cut again in an inverted bob (short at the back) something she had chosen herself and been really keen to have done. I assumed that for the exam she would just have to clip/gel it back off her face to be tidy, as it would obviously not go into the prescribed hairdo. However, her teacher has whinged at me about today. AIBU to think that DD should be able to wear her hair however she wants to look on an everyday basis, rather than based on criteria for a single 30 minute long event. Presumably she is not the first dancer ever to have short hair???

I appreciate that if you are a professional dancer you may have to have your hair a particular way, and that getting everything absolutely perfect is essential, however, we are talking about a child that just wants to enjoy dancing and performance.

As you can tell I completely disagree with the ethos being put out by this teacher, however, I am unable to withdraw from classes without giving a whole term's notice or paying fees in lieu. Grrr. I'm tempted to pull out anyway, and hope that the annoying woman wouldn't bother to take me to court over £100.

thatcoldfeeling Sun 17-Apr-16 13:49:48

As they go up the grades exam coaching increases. DD has had her bobbed hair put in cross over plaits for an exam before - lots of hair gel needed.

CotswoldStrife Sun 17-Apr-16 13:56:46

We've always had extra sessions before exams, I consider that to be standard practice tbh.

Sometimes their hair needs to be in a 'style' for an exam is it a modern exam by any chance . Why didn't you wait until after the exam to have her hair cut if it's only a few weeks away?

A term's notice period is also standard IME.

Ickythumpsmum Sun 17-Apr-16 14:05:53

Hi,
This might come across bitchier than I intend, but I think you should let your daughter do the exam and then pull out. Find a different dance school. It's perfectly acceptable for the dance teacher to make these requests - it's also perfectly acceptable for you to say 'no thanks, it doesn't suit my family'.
It's not acceptable for you to expect the dance school to change their standard practices to suit you.

GoblinLittleOwl Sun 17-Apr-16 15:20:43

You are clearly not cut out to be a dance mum. Just hope she doesn't take it up professionally.

watchingthedetectives Sun 17-Apr-16 15:30:40

Virtually all dance teachers are like this in my experience. They are a type apart from any other.

donadumaurier Sun 17-Apr-16 15:35:49

As a child I went to a ballet teacher who did not do any of this, and believe me, the quality of the teaching was such that it was hardly worth bothering. I was at that school for 10 years but I only started learning proper ballet technique when I took it up again two years ago. Knowing what I know now, I would be running a mile if the teacher WASN'T insisting on extra practices leading up to exams.

Thisisnotausername Sun 17-Apr-16 15:36:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RunnerOnTheRun Sun 17-Apr-16 15:43:48

Going against the grain here, clearly, but this experience is nothing like ours. DD has been dancing with a lovely local dancing school for 4 years and has had loads of exams (ISTD) and a stage show, and friendly competitions. There is a suggestion for hair (ie, please wear your hair in a bun, or high ponytail etc) but there is always someone with a style that won't work so an alternative is easily arranged. The dance school teacher is not the type to pressure anyone, we don't even have to wear the uniform or special dance shoes if we don't want to buy them.

Everyone is having fun...isn't that the point? We aren't in this to become professional dancers (although a few of the girls clearly will be/want to be). Such a shame that something as simple as a hair style can be such a touchy subject.

RunnerOnTheRun Sun 17-Apr-16 15:45:30

Also forgot to say we NEVER have extra practice before an exam - they use the class time for this!!! If there are girls who aren't entering the exam they dance anyway, or do something in the other half of the hall with another teacher. The only time we had to attend (for free) an extra rehearsal session was when they were going on a huge stage to do a 2 hour performance and had to practice coming on and going off etc.

fredfredgeorgejnrsnr Sun 17-Apr-16 15:50:19

I've wondered so much why so many childhood activities - generally the more female attracted ones, although that might just be because they are more skill and appearance based. Seem to be so elitist in outlook, extremely proper behaviour at all times, 100% commitment or don't bother doing it etc.

Sure, to become a professional, or even just very good in dance or gymnastics or similar you need that infinite commitment, part of which is the rules on appearance etc. But it's the same to be a footballer, cyclist, or pianist, but there seems to be much more opportunity for kids interested in those but not committed to still learn and play in activities which really do need tuition - is it maybe the different teachers and history?

OP, you need to just work out with the studio what is expected on both sides, it does seem like you're incompatible, so I'd run a mile negotiate a leave to a more balanced place if there is one. Unfortunately though you might need to give up the 100 quid, although they might be happy to be rid of a short-haired girl spoiling the look of their school.

Gizlotsmum Sun 17-Apr-16 15:56:08

I deliberately chose DC's dance school because it was low pressure. They love the classes and do well in exams and the shows but to me it was important to be fun. I would look for an alternative school

LIZS Sun 17-Apr-16 15:56:49

The hair is because there are presentation marks in ballet exams. However we've never had to do the plaits , just gelled back into a bun. One girl in dds class has always had a bib and didnt even put it up for early exams. It was an option to do plaits for gr 4 but may vary by board.

We've always had a few extra sessions in the run up to exams unless they have private coaching or are later taking exams so well prepared. If you going to balk at the typical system maybe dancing isn't a good long term choice or you need to look for a different school. Does she want to take exams as ours can move up anyway if ready.

GreaseIsNotTheWord Sun 17-Apr-16 15:59:08

The ds's always have extra mandatory dance classes before a show (no exams, just performances). I thought it was pretty standard tbh. They usually have one class a week but they do 3 or 4 in the week before a performance.

MiaowTheCat Sun 17-Apr-16 16:01:18

I guess that's dancing for you - my two dance at the very basic level just above toddler ballet, and no one really cares much what they're presented like for classes on a week by week basis. For their "exams" (they're only doing the rosettes I think it is) though it is a case of breaking out the hairspray, gel and toeing the line appearancewise - same for their dance school show they had recently. The kids love it, so I go along with the occasions where they're fretting over what I think is total minutae and grit my teeth over the angst of whether a hair ribbon is in to perfection.

They've always been quite accepting with people doing the best they can in terms of hairstyles and willing to help out as much as they can (obviously with being the youngest class in the studio we've got a lot still with quite "toddlery" hair for whom buns and ponytails are an achievement and a half).

We have to do a month's notice even at our fairly laid back place to quit completely - not sure what it is to decrease class amounts.

I think if you're going to go down the performance/exam route though you have to accept the appearance pickyness as part of the territory though (and just arm yourself with enough gel and hairspray to freeze an army into place in order to stop DD2 looking dishevelled for long enough to go on stage, twirl and come off again).

pearlylum Sun 17-Apr-16 16:17:14

I'm a dance mum too- sounds normal. My DD could never have a bob cut, although no competitions. My DD dances 19 hours a week, new ballet shoes every 6 weeks at £50 a pop.

Scholes34 Sun 17-Apr-16 16:46:19

Think you need a different ballet school, OP. You don't sound compatible. DD has danced since she was 4 and got a distinction in Grade 8, thanks to excellent coaching, including additional paid for sessions prior to exams. No intention of doing it professionally, but she's now doing it as an extra-curricular activity at uni, where she can see that the discipline she had at her school has paid off. She's understood that some sacrifices are necessary to succeed.

EverySongbirdSays Sun 17-Apr-16 16:54:58

It seems like you want to dictate terms to the teachers - moved from one school because your DD didn't get performance opportunities - unhappy with the next because you don't like their organisation and rules. You sound pushy/backseat driver OP.

Gatehouse77 Sun 17-Apr-16 17:01:58

Does she want/have to do the exams?
One of mine has been doing ballet, tap and modern for 12 years. Initially she did exams but after Grade 2 decided she didn't want to. She still gets moved up because she is capable but has just not done the exam.

However, she dances because she enjoys it not because she is seeking to be professional.

jollyfrenchy Sun 17-Apr-16 20:32:13

Songbird, well yes, I suppose I do want to dictate the terms seeing as I am paying a lot of money for my daughter to do something she enjoys, I do object to the person I am paying for her services dictating terms to me to be honest.

Also, considering money is fairly tight, when I signed up for one class a week, it is quite annoying to be told you actually have to pay for two classes a week for a month. All they are doing in their regular classes is practising for their exam so I really don't see why they need extra. I believe it's because she's pushing for them all to get top marks, so that she can say "all my students got Honours" or similar. My daughter does want to do the exams, because she likes getting the certificates and medals etc but she'd probably be quite happy with a pass or a highly commended or whatever it is.

I do accept that if you are doing a show you may need an additional practice session, for example in the venue where the show is going to be or similar. But her drama class put on full musical stage shows in a theatre type setting, and they do all the work within their normal class time, with maybe just a dress rehearsal or two extra beforehand.

Re the haircut, yes she could have waited until afterwards, but then it would be in the run up to the next exam in June, in which case she'd have waited 4 months for the haircut she wanted on the basis of her appearance for half an hour or so. Also I actually did speak to the admin at the dance school about how her hair was too short to go into the plaits on top style and she brushed it off like it didn't matter.

TrainBridge Sun 17-Apr-16 20:44:01

We've had to do those Heidi plaits, plaited double buns, single buns and (by far the worst) ringlets. I hate the over-emphasis on appearance, perfect hair, brand new ballet shoes, identical hair ribbons etc. It feels like (yet another) job for mums, and nothing to do with dance. However, dd1 loves dancing so much that I've come to accept that I'm doing it for her, not for her ballet teacher or the examiner, and that's much more acceptable to me.

EverySongbirdSays Sun 17-Apr-16 20:48:57

But unless you yourself run the school, you can't tell them how to run it just because you pay fees. It is their business and you have a choice.

Skivvywoman Sun 17-Apr-16 21:05:13

My dd competes in dance competitions and on the build to a comp at least 6 weeks before she dances 5 nights a week!

At class they must have hair tied up and in the correct uniform if not they don't dance and get sent home

She doesn't do exams

nonicknameseemsavailable Sun 17-Apr-16 21:10:13

we have strict hair codes, a bob would be frowned upon, fringes aren't allowed etc.

No extra classes here though before exams, they take a long time to get to exams but they are completely prepared in their classes unless a child is really struggling with something, or has the potential to achieve more with a private lesson, this isn't standard though.

It is part of the industry though I think, even when just for fun, ballet is a discipline.

donadumaurier Sun 17-Apr-16 21:25:50

But how many kids are there in your daughter's class? Imagine the chaos if all the parents dictated the terms like you want to hmm

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