Well, this is probably going to be a rant, one where I criticize the studio where my daughter attends-without giving any names!

While I could do this, and be totally expiated for venting my feelings, it might hurt my daughter. It might also hurt feelings of people whom I wrongfully accuse, and slant opinions of an amazing place to dance. So, I have to stop, check myself, and decide what I am going to do. How does one handle oneself in any situation involving the administration of a school? Whether it be teachers, front desk people or staff, students or parents, what is the appropriate way to address something that upsets you, bothers you or concerns your child, treatment of another child, a criticism, advice, gripe, and what else? A money situation.

I like to think that every person has a conscience, somewhere. If you ask them outright if they meant to hurt another person’s feelings, even if they did act with malice toward someone else, or their actions inadvertently hurt someone, when you bring their attention to it, or they realize it, they will immediately seemed shocked. Shocked that they did it, got brought up for it, were found out, and/or (I like to think), numbed, realizing someone else is aware of their guilt or behavior. This is not always the case. But cumulative actions by a person or organization can be a very good indicator of that person or organizations personality, and yes, I think an organization has a personality.

By nature it is guilt-free, acting as a business making money, so a lot of its actions, as seen from the perspective of a money-making machine can be attributed rightly to either performed in the interest of making money, or advancing the image of the company to make more money. But some actions are not justified for either of these reasons, particularly where children are the essence of its livelihood. For instance, deliberately ostracizing one child to make other money-paying customers believe that their children are better or twice as deserving because they have paid or are willing to pay more money for these privileges. I think in art/dance this is very dangerous. Is it possible to not hurt someone’s feelings? probably not. Art is a business, too, but is the teaching of dance, at a school, at the level of the art form to be cruel? Nietzsche said, “yes.” At the top of any organization sits someone who is supposed to be responsible for all the actions of an organization, but cannot always be held accountable for every little thing. When students of a school become some of those little things, then we wonder if greed and an agrondizing opinion of self, has overshadowed the personality of the organization not in favor of tutelage, but rather of standing or fame, or pride.

About my daughter’s school-I looked up reviews, finally, last night. I never did before. People who write them are usually moved to do so because they are offended about their own treatment by a business where they are paying good money to take lessons (!), imagined some sleight taken too personally, or are just in the habit of speaking their mind (I am a bit of all three). It is a lot of money, they have a right to complain if they want to. But I think public statements, verbal utterances, AND complaints should be given at least a count of ten before they begin broadcasting them, and then should be very well thought out, perhaps drafted and then be supported in some way by evidence to be understandable, relevant or even valid. Since I can present no evidence without hurting someone, I have opted to wait more than 30 days to vent. This is the result-a late post, but better nice than nasty….

Validity is one area that I cannot actually address, because every complaint might be valid, but expressed poorly, is not one that will be taken seriously, and what hope can someone have when they write such complaints-that other people may see them? To stop other people from going there? To shine a light on a situation that was not addressed properly by the administration? Somehow this seems petty, doesn’t it? And small. I once complained to a government agency about a situation involving a home. I asked for copies of all similar complaints and received a somewhat small pile of (mostly) letters, most very badly written, but nonetheless valid, and sad, due to their unfulfillable intent and likely unanswered status. The fact is the squeaky and intelligible wheel gets the oil. It is also a matter of skill in conflict, confrontation and conditions (to analyze) which I have researched and become fairly good at over the years. I simply like a good argument. I decided my complaint is general, not specific, and is best dealt with by examining the complaints of others, those like my own, possibly, and those not.

And yet, when one steps outside a ballet school and talks to the parents, one will find they all have some complaint, usually having to do with their own children. However, they will often refer to the ill treatment of other people’s children, instead. “It is so unfair, the way they treat xxxx, don’t you think?” Or, “it is a shame that xxxx got the part that  xxx2 worked so hard for, deserved, expected”, and “notice the way xxx works so hard, but just does not have the talent apparently to wit.” Mostly, I’d say the most common and unexpressed complaint is a perceived favoritism by the teachers toward students (or a particular student) who are better than others. In ballet, this is no mild complaint or problem, but it should not be unexpressed. I find these wildly funny and entertaining and can barely go into the studio without laughing and making a fool of myself compromising their progenitors.

I simply will not allow someone to bring me down, impede me or my daughter from our goals and finally, to stand around and discuss gossip with a lot of people who would probably whisk me and my daughter away, if they could, on the next space shuttle. However good we are, or how we perceive ourselves has little to do with how we are perceived by others and has little to do with reality, apparently. If you have haters, it can be viewed as a good thing, in dance, at least, or in any competitive sport most likely. But, I vow, this is no reason to get a big head, which proves its uselessness in so many ways, I need not write them. There are just some things to not worry about and that is one big one.

I guess we have haters, and more than one by the looks of it. Jealousy is very over rated. What is there to be jealous of? One “friend” asked me. Some friend. She was the worst hater my daughter has, and we have talked about her stalking before, but even she may prove innocent compared to future others no doubt. But, my expression (finally) of her actions did result in her leaving the studio, and her finding (happily) another place or places where she currently is not hating-the best place to be. If I am not hating, it seems I am in the best place for me (and for others). Or if I am merely hating teachers who are mean to my daughter, or are only guilty of teaching her her lessons, then at least I am not spreading malignant gossip and being part of the problem. I would rather be part of the solution.

She is as happy as she can be, while not being the prima donna, and goals are being worked on and met. I hope. Such as it is, this is the every day motif if your daughter is somewhere in the middle and getting better. I can think of her as a catalyst, making others work to their very best potential and thus making the learning environment optimum. Otherwise, how can greatness come from mere goodness, or the ability to work harder, without shear anatomical or flexion perfection? Is it also beauty? A number of other attributes? Who can say? I know a lot of dance students begin to work less hard, less frequently, or not at all during high school, and drop out. Have we reached that point? I hope not-it would be a lonely place then.

They are happy when my daughter is sick, relieved when she is injured, and pleased when she has a blemish or gains weight, or grows the wrong way. It is a time of not sharing accomplishments, acceptances, or compliments. It is a field where the use of incendiaries includes commenting upon someone’s slight weight gain (and body acceptance is so vital right now.) I feel the need to set the score straight. Not one of them is perfect and they are all amazing! Not all of them have amazing personalities, but they have certainly worked hard. If they could only see that how nice it would be.


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