DT on Dance Moms: Competition vs. The Mall

 

In this week’s episode of Dance Moms, I am happy to report, Abby Lee Miller seemed to be on her best behavior. The outbursts were minimal, the routine was age-appropriate, and even when Vivi’s mom, Cathy, changed her daughter’s routine on her, she stayed (relatively) calm. This week’s conflict came mostly between Brooke and her mother. Now a teenager, and more passionate about a day at the mall than a day in class, Brooke puts up a fight about attending this week’s competition. Not to mention that she’s injured and dancing on a team who’s average age is about 8. Abby Lee and her mother don’t really do all that much to address the problem—they just keep pushing her to come back to dance class. As Abby Lee says, “It’s very hard to say to them, ‘You have this gift. Don’t throw it away.’” So what would you do with a student who’s on the verge of retiring her leotards? Here are DT’s tips:

 

(Tips based on “Calling It Quits” by Fiona Kirk)

 

 

When a student is feeling family pressure:

 

Parents may start steering a child away from a career in dance as the child gets older. So try to educate both parents and students about the real world of dance—encourage parents to take their kids to professional auditions, and bring in professional dancers to share firsthand stories about the business. When parents and students have an understanding of the world of dance outside the studio, including the availability of dance scholarships, they are more likely to consider it a viable option.

 

When a student is type A:

 

Often, dancers are overachievers in other areas of their lives, including athletics and academics, and are eventually forced to choose between dance and another activity. Sometimes it helps to sit down with both student and parent and discuss what she thinks she can handle within her busy schedule. You might also try offering your student a job as a teaching assistant or asking her to mentor a young dancer. By expanding her role in the studio, she may deepen her commitment to dance.

 

When a student is experiencing burnout:

 

After winning trophies and dancing leading roles at a young age, star students may feel that there’s nothing more to strive for once they hit their teens. And it’s also tempting for teachers to overschedule their talented dancers with competitions, classes and recitals.

If a student feels burnt out, you can suggest that she cut down the number of classes she’s taking each week for a few months. That allows her a chance to rest without leaving the studio behind, and it gives the student time to reevaluate her future in dance.

 

This Quote of the Week brought to you by Brooke and Chloe’s dance moms as they discuss Brooke’s injured hip: 

 

“She’s falling apart. It’s that old age.”

“I was just gonna say, you turn 13 and you’re no good anymore.”

 

 

 

 

Teachers Trending
Evelyn Cisneros-Legate. Photo by Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West

Evelyn Cisneros-Legate is bringing her hard-earned expertise to Ballet West. The former San Francisco Ballet star is taking over all four campuses of The Frederick Quinney Lawson Ballet West Academy as the school's new director.

Cisneros-Legate, whose mother put her in ballet classes in an attempt to help her overcome her shyness, trained at the San Francisco Ballet School and School of American Ballet before joining San Francisco Ballet as a full company member in 1977. She danced with the company for 23 years, breaking barriers as the first Mexican American to become a principal dancer in the U.S., and has graced the cover of Dance Magazine no fewer than three times.

As an educator, Cisneros-Legate has served as ballet coordinator at San Francisco Ballet, principal of Boston Ballet School's North Shore Studio and artistic director of after-school programming at the National Dance Institute (NDI). Dance Teacher spoke with her about her new position, her plans for the academy and leading in the time of COVID-19.

Keep reading... Show less
News
The author with Maurice Hines. Photo by Anthony R. Phillips, courtesy Hopkins

In March, prior to sheltering in place due to the coronavirus outbreak, my husband and I traveled from New York City to Miami to screen our award-winning documentary, Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back, at the Miami Film Festival.

Our star, Tony Award–nominated dancer and choreographer Maurice Hines joined us in Miami for the festival—stepping and repeating on the opening night red carpet, sharing anecdotes from his illustrious seven-decade career with local tap students, and holding court at a cocktail mixer with lively female fans.

Keep reading... Show less
News
Haruko Photography, courtesy ABT

Gabe Stone Shayer may be American Ballet Theatre's newest soloist, but he never dreamed he'd be dancing with the company at all. Though he grew up in Philadelphia, his sights were always set on international ventures—especially The Bolshoi Ballet and The Royal Ballet.

Even in his early training, he was learning from Russian educators: Alexander Boitsov at Gwendolyn Bye Dance Center, and Alexei and Natalia Cherov, from the Koresh School of Dance. At age 13, he transferred to The Rock School for Dance Education, where he danced until his acceptance to The Bolshoi Ballet Academy at age 14. At 16, Shayer returned to spend his summer in the States and attended ABT's summer intensive—fully intent on going back to Bolshoi to continue his training in the fall. Four weeks in, he was offered a studio-company contract. "I was so surprised," Shayer says. "Having come of age in Russia, I was very Eurocentric. Of course ABT was on my radar, I just never imagined it was for me."

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.