Communicating with Dance Teachers

Are you concerned with your dancer’s placement or progress? Do you think your dancer needs private lessons to gain more individual attention? Are you confused about a decision that has been made that directly affects your child’s outlook and self-esteem?

These are all valid questions. Dance Mom Devo contributor Meghan Way Stinson helps us out with some answers from her perspective as an experienced dance instructor.

We, as dance teachers, know that sometimes even tiny decisions we make seem to bring an avalanche on your child’s fragile self-discovering world. In my 27 years of dance training, I have been led by some pretty incredible dance mentors, as far as teaching dance is concerned, and I’ve been able to see all sides of the spectrum.

Parents, you can trust us.

I am the first one to be guilty of reacting immediately to a situation that could bring stress into my life. I’m constantly working on trying to step back, assess those moments from multiple perspectives, and find peace in responding to these “not life or death” situations.

If you have concerns and questions about anything dance-related, here are some helpful truths to remember:

  • We have your dancer’s best interest at heart, and we truly care for them. Sometimes we sit for hours and weeks at a time making the difficult placement decisions for the coming year. I’ve never once seen this happen with flippancy. We truly find so much reward in watching young dancers grow and being a part of their life journey!
  • Like yourself, we also have very busy schedules, and sometimes cannot respond to you as soon as you would hope. Please help us keep our personal boundaries intact, and communicate through e-mail or by phone at appropriate times of day. My own personal preference is handling all correspondence through e-mail. Creating boundaries is a tough thing in our culture, and we ask that you remember to respect ours.
  • We are human, and we make I’ve definitely had my fair share of them. Unfortunately, sometimes our mistakes can cause a negative situation to form. Please try to show us grace in these times, and accept our apologies when extended.
  • Ask good questions! I personally love when a parent asks me my thoughts on their dancer’s progress and I am so much happier responding to well thought out questions rather than assumptions and demands.

Examples: What are my dancer’s strengths? What are their weaknesses? How can I encourage practicing at home? Does my dancer have a future career ahead of her at this point?

  • As your dancers reach the teen years, I encourage you to guide them in approaching us. Teach them to ask us, “What can I work on this year?” or “Can you help me with (whatever technical element) today in my private lesson?” This practice teaches them to be more aware of their own strengths and weaknesses, which will send them off into the world with a bright future.

Dance is an incredible vessel for growth, change, and life lesson learning. While it can seem like dance is your child’s whole world, it’s also important to remember that it’s unhealthy for it to be the absolute #1 most important thing in their lives. With God at the center, all things fall into their divine place.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” (Matthew 6:33, ESV).

To connect with Meghan Way Stinson, reply to this blog or visit her website.

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