How do you tell a family that you would not welcome them back?

Q: I have had terrible issues with a particular family. The kids come to class without appropriate clothes or shoes. They are lazy and don’t seem to want to be there. And the parent is rude to my instructors. How do you tell a family or student that you would not welcome them back?


A: There are times when you will encounter a student or family that becomes uncooperative and disrespectful to the point where the disruption requires you to take action. First, be sure you’ve done all you can to remind them of your studio’s policies and procedures. Encourage your faculty to routinely address desired behavior in class as a helpful reminder for all students. And we recommend attempting to resolve the dress-code problems directly with the parents by reminding them of why it is necessary, where they can get the proper dancewear and your policy on the consequences of coming to class unprepared.


If it is clear that they are not willing to comply, you may decide to request their withdrawal in writing, such as:


"There have been ongoing challenges in regards to your child's participation at our studio. Our faculty and staff have made the effort to create an environment that supported each of our goals, and we have done our very best to serve you. After assessing the choices made regarding the policies and concerns addressed in the past, it is our request that you seek another studio or school for future dance training. It is in the best interest for all concerned that we discontinue our association. We wish you future success and happiness."


Have the courage to make the right decision for the future of your studio. Don’t let the fear of any perceived negative consequences hold you back from maintaining a safe and respectful place for your students to learn and grow.


Kathy Blake is the owner of Kathy Blake Dance Studios in Amherst, New Hampshire. She and Suzanne Blake Gerety are the co-founders of

Teacher Voices
Getty Images

In 2001, young Chanel, a determined, ambitious, fiery, headstrong teenager, was about to begin her sophomore year at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, also known as the highly acclaimed "Fame" school. I was a great student, a promising young dancer and well-liked by my teachers and my peers. On paper, everything seemed in order. In reality, this picture-perfect image was fractured. There was a crack that I've attempted to hide, cover up and bury for nearly 20 years.

Keep reading... Show less
Health & Body
Getty Images

Though the #MeToo movement has spurred many dancers to come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and abuse, the dance world has yet to have a full reckoning on the subject. Few institutions have made true cultural changes, and many alleged predators continue to work in the industry.

As Chanel DaSilva's story shows, young dancers are particularly vulnerable to abuse because of the power differential between teacher and student. We spoke with eight experts in dance, education and psychology about steps that dance schools could take to protect their students from sexual abuse.

Keep reading... Show less
Nan Melville, courtesy Genn

Not so long ago, it seemed that ballet dancers were always encouraged to pull up away from the floor. Ideas evolved, and more recently it has become common to hear teachers saying "Push down to go up," and variations on that concept.

Charla Genn, a New York City–based coach and dance rehabilitation specialist who teaches company class for Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre and Ballet Hispánico, says that this causes its own problems.

"Often when we tell dancers to go down, they physically push down, or think they have to plié more," she says. These are misconceptions that keep dancers from, among other things, jumping to their full potential.

To help dancers learn to efficiently use what she calls "Mother Marley," Genn has developed these clever techniques and teaching tools.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.