November 2013 | On My Mind

Words from the publisher

No, parents don’t tell us when their children should do a solo. We decide when.

No, parents don’t tell us what should be in the choreography. We decide that. The music and costume choices are ours, too.

We are the experts, and we are confident in what we know is right and when it’s right. If a parent wants to be in control, then we have no problem telling her our school isn’t the right place for her. Certainly we will explain our philosophy and do our best to educate the parent about why her child isn’t ready for that solo, but the parent can’t talk us out of what we know.

On the same note, we believe that “mandatory” really does mean mandatory. If a dancer doesn’t show up for a mandatory rehearsal, she cannot be in the piece. End of discussion. But we aren’t cruel—when there’s a death in the family or a legitimate emergency, we’ll excuse the dancer. But we can’t excuse her because she has a soccer game or because Aunt Susie is visiting. Commitment doesn’t work that way.

We have learned that in most cases the child knows what is right when it comes to commitment; the problem is the parents who believe their child is more special than the other kids. But since we know a dance education includes teaching life skills like commitment, respect, and dedication, we know we must stick to our policies.

The first time we make an exception to what we know is right, we open the door to allowing ourselves to be taken advantage of. We are no longer in control of what happens in our schools and classrooms. That loss of control makes us more stressed and less focused on what we need to accomplish; consequently, we’ll probably feel burned out sooner than we might have if we’d had the confidence to stick to our policies and beliefs.

Standing up for ourselves and what we believe in is liberating. When we do, we ensure that our students and their parents come to us for dance training because they believe in our philosophy and trust our judgment. In that kind of atmosphere, everyone thrives.