Ask the Experts: Comp Girls Feel They're an Exception


Q: One of my competition families feels their two girls are an exception to my team rules about missing class. I'd hate to lose them, but how do I justify bending the rules for them?

A: This is a problem we all face. Rules are in the best interest of our comp dancers. I believe in updating and revamping them when necessary—but once they're in writing, I feel we must uphold them.

We make sure ours are published with our class schedule before registration begins. We state that no full-time comp student can miss class, from the start of choreography until our last competition. The only exceptions to this rule are illness, religious commitments and a one-time pass for a school commitment (we have many students who attend art schools, so we try to accommodate school performances). Optional school trips or family vacations are not exceptions.

I know it can be hard to stick to rules that you know are going to cost the studio, both financially and talent-wise. Before you make your decision, think about how it will affect you and your team—not just this year, but in the future, too.

I once had a dance mom lobby for me to bend the rules for her. “We've been with you for 10 years and never asked for vacation time before," she said. My answer was, “Well, if you've been with me for 10 years, then you know the rules." I learned long ago that if you make an exception for one person, you have to do it for everyone.

Teachers Trending
Alwin Courcy, courtesy Ballet des Amériques

Carole Alexis has been enduring the life-altering after-effects of COVID-19 since April 2020. For months on end, the Ballet des Amériques director struggled with fevers, tingling, dizziness and fatigue. Strange bruising showed up on her skin, along with the return of her (long dormant) asthma, plus word loss and stuttering.

"For three days I would experience relief from the fever—then, boom—it would come back worse than before," Alexis says. "I would go into a room and not know why I was there." Despite the remission of some symptoms, the fatigue and other debilitating side effects have endured to this day. Alexis is part of a tens-of-thousands-member club nobody wants to be part of—she is a COVID-19 long-hauler.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending

Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.