Q: At our last competition, I was approached by three families from a competing studio. They asked if they could come and try some classes. How should I handle this situation, given that they're still dancing at their present studio and have a commitment there?
A: I've been in this position many times. I believe we have to hold high standards of ethics and integrity and lead by example. I have too much respect for my fellow dance educators to allow their students to come and take class at my studio behind their backs. I can't do something to someone else that I wouldn't want done to me.
I would ask the parents inquiring about making a studio change to e-mail you and set up a meeting to talk. But when it comes to taking classes, I would tell them that they have to fulfill their obligations at their current studio first. That means finishing the entire year—recitals and national competitions—before they can take a class at your studio.
I've heard horror stories about studios that allowed students from other comp teams to jump ship, mid-comp season, and be added into the new studio's comp routines. How can we expect our students to be respectful and have integrity if we don't behave that way ourselves? The fact that you're asking this question tells me you're already choosing to take the high road.