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Friday, January 05 2018

 

At Symphony Dance, our students love us! (& We love them right back.)

You can tell our dancers love us, because at least half of our students take more than one class. We have some extremely talented and dedicated students at our studio. This talent and dedication excites us!

We do have students who leave us, or who don’t take as much dance as they’d like. The reason? We normally are told that parents want their child to try all different things, do small samples of many different activities, or don’t want them missing out because they were at dance. We usually try to explain that once you find something you are good at and love, you should foster that. Since our answer doesn’t always change their minds, we went out in search for answers from other dance teachers around the world.

Miss Katrina thinks there is a balance between life outside of dance and life at dance. She also loves dancing and spending time with the #SymphonyDanceFamily, so she sometimes feels like she might be biased. (Also keep in mind that as a teen dancer, Miss Katrina was in the studio at least 4 hours a week per dance team she was on, in addition to student teaching, and helping her mom clean the studio, and working to help pay for her hobby. Miss Katrina was also involved in band and chorus, because she loved music.)

We asked are students spending too much time at the studio and are they missing out on things?

We took what they had to say and applied it to Symphony Dance to see what we might be missing as a dance studio.

Here’s what other teachers had to say about dancers wanting to dance a lot:  

  • The passionate ones are just that, passionate. They have found their passion, and it would be a shame to take that away. (Matt-Swing Dance Teacher from Australia)
  • I find that the parents who don’t want to commit, or who lack the passion that their child has, end up crushing their child’s passion. The parents put such a negative light on it, whether they mean to or not- complaining about the cost, or driving them to dance, or how they do so much for the child, the child begins to feel like they are the problem, and they quit something that could be so good for them and they could be so good at doing. (Sheryl, Teacher from Michigan)
    • Symphony Dance offers many discounts, and as a dancer who grew up with less money, and therefore less opportunities, Miss Katrina understands and tries her best to help out the dancers she can with scholarships, rides, fundraising, and more.
  • They can only dance this much and be the best dancer when they are young. (Beth, dancer/dance teacher/artistic director/company founder from Buffalo, NY)
    • Miss Katrina says that as someone who was in dance at the age of four, but not really heavily involved in dance until middle school then high school and college, she can say that she wishes she had done a little more sooner, or had the opportunity to train more when she was younger, when she was more flexible, when she  was more athletic, when she wasn’t considered an “older dancer.” She says “I love dancing and push myself every day, but I still feel like it would’ve been easier and I could have done way more, if I had done it sooner."

 

Here’s what they have to say about dancers who might be missing “something” because they are at dance:

  • Danielle, from Nebraska says “As a parent of a dancer who is at the studio almost as much as me (a full time dance teacher) I want to know what parents think their kid would rather be doing. My daughter does miss out on some things. However, she is doing what she loves to do. She almost gave up a solo role in her elementary school musical, because the show was the same day as our dress rehearsal. Luckily, our studio director said she work out the conflict. Before the studio owner offered that, my daughter had already told me if it is the same day, she would decline the musical. Nine times out of 10 this would be her response. I mean she’s only 9, so occasionally she might get a little down about missing a birthday party or something, but dance cheers her up and she knows that dance was her choice. “
    • *Symphony Dance has options for having birthday parties at dance, so you can combine two great things in one if you want.
  • It’s a balance between the loves in their life and sometimes they miss things they love for something else they love, but they are doing what they love. (Aviva, Dance Instructor/Director in Alabama)
  • Growing up my friends were from dance! I didn’t feel like I missed out on school stuff, because I always felt like I was missing more if I wasn’t at dance. (Melissa, Dance Studio Owner in Ohio)
  • Analiese (a mom and gymnastics coach from California) says her daughter loves to dance! She’s only 5 though and dances 6 hours a week at the studio and spends other hours at the studio where Analiese works. She says her daughter is adding more dance after winter break also. As a parent Analiese doesn’t want to remove any opportunity her daughter has right now to explore other things, but as a teacher she wants her to excel at what she currently loves and enjoys. She says it’s a hard balance. Analiese says they very much value family dinners and doesn’t want to sacrifice time for her daughter to build a relationship with her siblings and her dad if she spends all her time dancing or with mom when she’s working.
    • At Symphony Dance we have many siblings and cousins who dance together at the studio and if you as Miss Genesis and Charley about their dance classes together, they like getting to spend time together doing something they both like and sometimes they fight like sisters do, but they feel like dance and the performances and steps to practice and friends they have in common and experiences they go to together gives them something else to bond over. We also have a lot of families who come and watch from the lobby including other brothers, grandparents, and younger siblings and we foster a family feel in our studio and at our studio events-we never want dance to feel like a separate world from your family and many of our students love the support Symphony gives to their family time and the support their family gets to give to their dancing time.
  • My daughter played soccer, but then practices and games started to conflict with our schedule. This gave her an opportunity to practice serious decision making. She did not want to dance less, so she passed on soccer (at least for now.) My daughters and all the dancers at our studio have incredible work ethic because they treat it like their job. We do miss Family dinners but we plan them for days when none of us are dancing like Fridays and Sundays.  (Elizabeth, a dance teacher and mom from Florida)
    • We have a lot of #dancefamily meals together at Symphony Dance (sometimes dancers and teachers, sometimes dance parents and dance students from many different families) . Whether we are eating lunch together during a camp, enjoying a snack on break together, eating breakfast before early Saturday morning classes, going out to eat as a dance family, or having a party together we find time to make family memories on and off the dance floor. 
  • Essentially what many kids miss out on while they are at dance are: being on social media, being exposed to drugs and sex, or sedentary lifestyles. I hate to be harsh, but personally I think keeping them too busy for trouble is a good thing. I am always happy to let them take off for a birthday party, school dance, or a special night with friends and I think that’s a happy medium. (Andrew, from Australia)

 

Some of the teachers could relate to losing students to being overbooked or having student who participate in too many different activities.

  • It’s important kids are not a jack of all trades and a master of none, but when they can focus on those few things and excel at them, then they can be masters of their passions. Colleges look for well rounded students, but students who specialized in areas or who are trained well in those areas, not students who did a little bit of everything for a little bit. (Kim, Gymnastics and Dance instructor in Fulton Co, NY)
  • Don’t half way do two things, do one thing with full effort and focus. {Edited for a curse word “Don’t half ____ two things, whole ____ one thing.”} (From Lainey-a dancer, mom, and dance teacher in Washington)
  • A lot of American parents have what I’ve termed “Ben Franklin Syndrome.” They want their kids to be involved in so many things, incorrectly thinking they are able to excel in multiple areas. The truth is this is just not possible for most; & in order to really hone a skill, it takes focus, discipline, and consistency.  Even if the student does not go on to dance professionally, there are so many life skills to be gained in getting a dance education, including that awareness of knowing exactly the kind of dedication it takes to hone a skill. People don’t normally go to college & select 5 different majors. They select one, maybe two, and focus on the prerequisites & courses necessary to excel in their desired field.(Kelly, Dancer and Instructor from Georgia)
  • I think it just depends. My kids spend a lot of time at the studio but they are younger and I don't want ro commit to lots of sports but I also won't let them join the company yet because they personally are not ready for the commitment. I loved being at the studio but I'm glad that i was able to participate in other things if I wanted. You can't go back in your 30s and try other sports and you can't go back and dedicate more time for dance. It is a decision each child has to make. My sister decided basketball was for her and went on scholarship. If my parents hadn't let her dedicate more time to basketball though, I think she would have missed an opportunity. For me, I dropped all sports for dance. However, we didn't make those decisions until High School. Before that we were only at the studio 5 hours a week.  (Emily, Dance studio owner from Illinois)
    • Notice that Emily said “only” and “5 hours” in the same sentence. She isn’t talking about dancers who are doing one or two classes or who take class for a few weeks at a time who get too involved in dance too early.
    • Miss Katrina decided at the beginning of middle school that she could no longer do cheerleading. She wanted to participate at school but it was so much more expensive than dance and wasn’t as much her passion. At the end of middle school/beginning of high school she had to quit soccer because practices and games and tournaments were much more frequent and didn’t allow for the expression that dance did. Miss Katrina says she made choices and as someone who is still dancing to this day and occasionally kicks the soccer ball around, she feels like she made the right choice-if she had stopped dancing she doesn’t know that she would be able to occasionally do a multiple turn pirouette or a grand jete and she likes that she does these things only a daily basis instead of once in a while.
  • One studio owner and founder said “I like the idea of 10 activities by 10.” So before 10 is the time to let your kids try it all and see what they like and become well rounded. By 12 they should have a major (some activities support each other and could be a double major like dance and cheer or gymnastics and dance) and 2 minors. And then really concentrate after that. This is a rule another coach mentioned to me and I really liked it as a guideline. It’s not a matter of missing but a matter of missing fundamental skills. Kids who do a lot of physical activity young are the most physically literate and most likely to stay active throughout life. (Richele, British Columbia)
    • At Symphony Dance we have students of all ages who do many different extracurricular activities. We have football, lacrosse, soccer, basketball, field hockey, tennis, rugby, and volleyball players. We have marching band and color guard members, we have musicians, we have actors and actresses, we have singers, we have artists, we have cross country runners, and dancers with part time jobs-all ages 5-17. We also have adults who one or more of these things in addition to dance and working a full time job or more than one job, who are parents, who have other hobbies, who volunteer, and who have kids who do multiple things.
    • Our studio knows that this is time for business and people are busy, but we work to accommodate schedules and makeups for missed classes and we have students who want to dance but know they are too busy and they chose to take certain classes without committing to recital or competition and/or performances, because they want to focus. We understand and we are happy to help!

 

This Texan dance teacher essentially summed up what all the others had to say:

  • Being involved in dance and being committed to one activity is really beneficial. There are so many social aspects to these activities and lessons besides just dance. Parents get worried that children will regret missing social events but they forget how many of those same things they get from being involved in dance. (Jessica)

 

We’re not saying that dance class is for every student. We are also not asking students who are good at dance to be at the studio all day every day (Miss Katrina (and Miss Genesis for the most part) chose that life because this is what they love.) We are simply saying that if dance is something you enjoy, it is okay to indulge a little.

If your daughter wants to take tap class and do a tap dance in recital, why limit her to 6 weeks of tap once or twice a year? If your son wants to do clogging, acro, hip hop, and lacrosse and he can manage that with school-what is stopping him? If you daughter likes karate and ballet (and Symphony Dance is happy to work around schedules) who says she can’t?

 

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do, than by the ones you did do.”- Mark Twain

Posted by: Symphony Dance AT 01:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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Symphony Dance
1300 East Ridge Rd.
Rochester, NY 14621
585.713.9127
katrina@symphonydance.com