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  • Writer's pictureShannon Gallagher

Hey, Dance Teachers - Skip the Drama

Hey, dance teachers, your studio doesn't have to be filled with drama. No, really. There's no need for drama and you can eliminate it. And, you can keep it that way. It's really not that difficult. You just need to provide the healthy atmosphere that keeps the drama at bay. Here's a few things that I try to do at my studio to keep it drama-free:

I try my hardest to live by The Golden Rule; treat people the way you want to be treated. So many times I've heard dance teachers and studio owners complain about parents yelling at them. And, for a long time, I thought I was just lucky to not have parents at the studio who would yell at me. But then one day someone (not in the dance community) was complaining that people are always yelling at her, and I sat back and thought about that person's behavior versus my own behavior... it dawned on me that she was often complaining and "yelling" or "scolding" people, and I try not to complain and I never yell at people. Ahhh, the good old Golden Rule. Who knew the answer could be that easy? Parents at the studio don't yell at me or treat me poorly because I treat everyone the way that I would like to be treated.

Make it a point to treat every dancer at your studio like a star. Or to put it another way, don't let one dancer dominate everything that happens at the studio. When one dancer is treated as though he/she is special, it creates jealousy and drama. Every dancer at your studio is paying for lessons. Treat them equally. That doesn't mean that the little dancer who can't remember a routine or has "two left feet" needs to stand in the front and center on stage. But give everyone a chance. It's hard for a parent to watch their child dance in the back row all the time while another dancer is front and center for the entire dance. In my regular classes (so not competition teams), it's a rule for the teachers that everyone gets to dance in the front row at least once during a routine.

Try not to engage in negative conversations regarding other dancers or parents. This seems obvious, but sometimes you don't even realize that a parent has changed the subject away from their own dancer and is now talking negatively about another dancer or parent. By the time you realize it, it could be too late and you've agreed (or even disagreed) with them, causing more problems than you had before. I ask my teachers to change the focus back to that parent's child as quickly as possible. Of course, there are times when you can't avoid it - a case of bullying, for example. But, hopefully, if you and your teachers live by The Golden Rule at your studio, your dancers will do the same and bullying won't be an issue.

Encourage your dancers to cheer for each other. I saw a neat post on social media recently that said "Her win does not mean you lose. Just clap for her. You aren't even in the same race." We need to teach our dancers that by raising each other up, we raise up ourselves. We stand on the shoulders of every dance teacher and fellow dancer who encouraged us, and we need to do the same.

It's not always easy, but we can avoid drama at our studios. Let the dancers and their parents know (by your actions) that you and your teachers will not engage in gossip, negative behavior or drama of any kind. Once your message is out there, they will follow suit. You'll be happier, and your studio will be a better studio because you are all living by The Golden Rule.

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