Is your child a number? Many times parents pick a dance school because their friends go there or it is THE place to go in the community. Then they start there and realize their child is just a number. There are 15 or more students to one instructor. The instructor does not know their child’s name or even notice if their child is not in class. The instructor puts a few company dancers in the front of the class and all the other dancers are just background dancers to the front row. Usually you are paying a lot of money to be treated like a number.
A lot of parents never danced so they think this is what it is supposed to be like. There are no rules or guidelines in the dance school world other than the ethics of the studio owner or manager. Sometimes it can go the other way and you get in a small school with 4 or 5 dancers in a class and all of a sudden it is very intense and if your child is not there you are getting questioned as to why they missed and your child is afraid to miss class. This is no better than being a number.
There has to be rules at any school but there also has to be a sense of reason that goes along with the rules. You want the teacher to notice you were not there but you also want them to understand when you were not there that life happens and sometimes you will miss class to participate in life. Most parents look at dance as an extracurricular activity, but few look at it like a sport. They will not allow their child to miss soccer or baseball practice but dance class is ok to miss. I think that is because sports have a season of 6 to 12 weeks but dance is all year round. As dance teachers we need to make the classes exciting enough to keep the dancer wanting to come back and not miss so I would say to the teacher whose students miss a lot make your class more exciting and more challenging, it is our job to keep them coming back because they love it, not because they have to or because Mom paid the bill so you need to go.
Dance Studios need to respect the families that come to them and ask themselves what we can do as a school to make sure all of our students are benefiting from their time here at our school. Young dancers need to be praised and corrected to make them better. The praise will help them gain the confidence, grace and poise they can learn from dance. The corrections will help them understand that nobody is perfect and we all are learning. It also helps them learn how to learn. Dancers that are well trained learn very quickly that a correction from a teacher is a compliment. It means the teacher was watching you and they want to make you better. They also learn that when they do a step or combination well the teacher that gave the corrections on the previous attempt will be the teacher to give the praise on the next attempt and that reward is the most amazing feeling.
As a parent trust that little voice deep down inside of you that says this is right for our family or this is not what I want for my child. Just make sure you know what you want for your child before you move and make another choice you may regret. Talk to the studio owner or manager and let them know how you are feeling don’t just leave without saying anything. Your imput is very valuable to them and even though it may be hard for them to hear it is what they need to hear, good and bad.