Q: I have an amazing group of polite and dedicated dancers, but their moms are constantly at each other's throats. What's worse, they spend all of their time at the studio, stirring the pot. It really changes the mood here. What can I do to stop this?
A: Ah, yes—we call these ladies "studio-lobby moms." They are always around, watching class and talking negatively about other parents' dancers. Behavior like this stems from jealousy, and it really brings down the energy of the group. Over the years I have found that I can stop drama with these moms by giving them jobs to do, like working on costumes (alterations, steaming and bagging are great distractions). I'm sure to give different groups of moms different jobs in order to keep them away from each other.
I've also had many competition meetings where I've talked about how everyone should be supportive of all of the dancers. I explain that our children watch us and take cues from our behavior, so we should lead by example. Learning to deal with all types of people and rising above pettiness should always be our goal. I recommend you talk to these moms as a group and ask them to only bring positive energy to the studio space. Hopefully this will encourage them to change. If not, just continue to keep them busy!