Ask Rhee Gold | Setting policies for dance trips

Advice for Dance Teachers

Q: Dear Rhee,

Some of my studio parents have backed out of our upcoming performance trip to Disney, causing a lot of issues at the studio and stress for me. These same parents still want to attend this spring’s competitions. The Disney trip was our original plan—the competitions weren’t added until later. Now some parents say they don’t want their children to go to Disney with the team. Have you ever canceled a competition or performance based on parent behavior? —Shawna

A: Dear Shawna,

I see it like this: when a large trip such as Disney is proposed, parents who wish to attend should sign some sort of contract and make an initial deposit, with the final payment due soon after (even if the full payment to Disney is not due until much later).

When planning a large trip, owners must decide if the trip will be optional or mandatory for team members. There is no right or wrong answer, but if the owner decides team dancers must go, that commitment should be made crystal clear to the parents—and be put in writing. Since this decision might impact choreography for competition, owners also need to think about who will or will not attend competition.

The key is to set clear policies and stick to them. I suggest you move forward with a “live and learn” attitude, knowing that things will be easier in the future because you’ll know exactly what to do. I hope this helps, and enjoy Disney! —Rhee