Before any of you think we are studio jumpers, let me give you a little history of
LuLu’s dance journey. She began at the tender age of two at a studio where the teenaged teachers would discuss their
weekend dates over our kiddo’s heads. Mommy was pretty concerned when her two year old was telling me what
Miss Point-Your-Toes did over the weekend instead of what she learned in class (come to find out, “Dime and Nickel-toes studio owner was one of these teens discussing who she kissed over my two year old’s head so many years ago.) After a year of dealing with this, a new
studio in town opened, so I carted my three year old over to the year old studio in town that everyone seemed to love.
Fast forward four years of not moving forward, yet another new studio opened up in town, “Dime and Nickel-toes.”
The studio owner had a strict “no dual studio” policy because of the other two studios in town, and of course me, the rebel, broke all the rules and
took my lovely daughter to “the big city” for ballroom lessons. Little did I know LuLu’s loyalties would fall with the ballroom studio and the rest would be her-story.
Dance her-story August 28, 2011
Before any of you think we are studio jumpers, let me give you a little history of
Have you ever belonged to something that you just felt
“nickel and dimed” you at every turn?
Last year, we were at a studio that did just that (and news flash—this
studio seems to be taking notes from Abby Lee Miller’s—one of the instructors
is rumored to be yelling at the students like a banchee every chance she
gets. Not good for business,
Every month we were writing checks, in addition to monthly
tuition. Not costume fees, or anything
you would expect, but for weird stuff that just made you raise your
eyebrows. And the entire month of
January, classes were missed, as well as December. We were still expected to pay full
tuition! At the beginning of February, I
had to write a check for not only that month, but the full month prior that we
did not attend any classes, cancelled by the owner due to horrid icy
weather. “I won’t charge you a late fee
this time.” What? I couldn’t get out of my driveway ¾ of the
month. Damn straight you’re not
“charging me a late fee.”
By the time we left that studio, I felt as if I should have
given the owner a pad of my checks, all signed, just for her to write to
herself. Ok, naysayers, let me have
it. It was my fault, we stayed in it
anyway, blah blah blah. We all know what
they say opinions are like…please try not to be one commenting on my blog.
Breakfast with friends is the best. Breakfast with gossip on the side is even
better. There has been a good bit of
gossip going around as of late regarding a studio in town closing. My firneds daughter, the Tapper, and mine go
way back, dancing together since they were three. We have lived through our share of dance
momma drama together and have lived to tell the tales.
The studio in question had some serious problems from the
get go. Our daughters enrolled there
during their second year in business, and continued on until twon years ago,
until we wisened up and switched studios.
Why did we switch? Unfair and preferential
treatment in the studio that made us feel as if we were just another paycheck
and our kids didn’t matter. One of the
first rules of good business: Treat
others as you would want to be treated.
I’m not saying our girls are strong in ballet, or jazz, or
tap, or any of the other classes they were taking. Between the two of us though, the studio was
milking us for around 500 a month. Our
kids took a lot of classes. Year after
year, they were held back in “Ballet II.”
This is fine if they belong there, but they didn’t. Truthfully.
When it was time to move on up to “Ballet III,” our girls were bypassed,
and newly enrolled kids who couldn’t discern position one from a plié were
moved into the higher levels. So what
did we do? We took our monthly payment
to another studio. One that nickels and dimes you for every red cent, but
treated our kids failry nonetheless.
We had the misfortune to
see this studio at competition last year. Your girls were in a musical theater routine
together. This particular school (the
opposition) boasted an amazing team of young students who in all honesty, very
talented. They of course, beat us, and I
had the luck to run into LuLu’s old teacher the next week at the Mexican
restaurant in town, half lit and slurring, telling me how well our girls did. Whatever, you just miss my money.
Anyway, back to the point.
Opposing studio is not closing.
“The owner just lost interest” is the word on the street. I am curious to hear the real reason and
discuss over many more breakfasts.
Yes, people do this!!!
I found out the other day that my daughter, LuLu, will be competing in
New York in March. She (we) have six
months to prep for this trip, choreograph routines, save money (see my frugal
living blog!) and just in general anticipate the trip. As these things are in the forefront of my
mind, Lu is planning tourist stops.
“We have to go to the history museum, the World Trade Center
memorial site, the Today show windows…” and the list goes on and on. No sister, you’ll be dancing.
Did I mention I author a frugal living blog as well? Yeah.
That’s what I’ll be doing for the next six months. You see, I am a single mother. My dream is to make a living writing, so I
slave tirelessly behind the laptop screen while kiddo is dancing. My day job is that of a nurse. The hours are long and difficult, and on any
given day I could be exposed to tuberculosis,
chemical toxins, crazy family members,
or violent psychiatric patients.
It’s a glam job. Aren’t you
So behind the glowing screen of my trusty netbook is where I
prefer to be working any given day.
Socrates learned to dance when he was seventy because he felt that an essential part of himself had been neglected. ~Source Unknown August 24, 2011
Yet another evening on the couch at “our” studio. Foxtrot is the group class taking over the floor right now, and my lovely daughter is entering her third hour of dance for the evening. She began at 5:45pm. It is nearly 8:45pm, and she will dance until 9:15. My doing? Not so much, but i did allow it. Am I complaining? Not at all. However, it is a school night and we will not return home until 10 tonight because our studio is fourty-five minutes from home.
This is standard practice, collectively, for the hard core dance mom. Long hours paired with a very tired kiddo at the end of several hours of dance.
A lot has transpired this evening. The kiddo was super excited because she recieved her critique from some nationally renouned judges, and got high marks all around, especially for her timing and body placement in general. I couldn’t help but to think of her signature “chicken wing” that her right arm tends to make when she does a turn, and wonder how that was somehow missed.
We learned this evening that she is going to be able to compete in New York in March. Ballroom is different than other styles of dance in that you know about comps WAY in advance and begin to prepare long long before the comps come around. So you could potentially create a routine as a bronze student only to rework the same routine throughout your ballroom career.
More about that later. This post just got interrupted by a child crying about blisters that have somehow formed on her feet (probably due to that pesky pedicure she enjoyed tremendously last week.) Oh the drama…
One thing I have learned is that people take their children’s activities way too seriously. Some of these crazy parents act like Julliard scouts are out prowling the halls of the dance studios. Screaming at the kids when they miss a step for the recital, bad-mouthing the other dance moms, threatening to take away play time if the kids don’t make the dance team. Whew! It’s exhausting! And I’m not just referring to “Dance Moms” on Lifetime. This stuff actually happens!
The ballroom thing is completely foreign to me. The nine year old is the boss with this one, as is her instructer. They are in charge of letting me know what shoes, outfits, and other gear she needs. I watch and just nod and smile when she talks about lock steps in the Cha Cha and arm positioning. The funny part? She is actually very good. It helpss her love it. Which is unfortunate because it is SO expensive. However, it is what she loves, and its not like she is smoking crack, so I will support the habit however long I am able to.
In addition to my misadventures in dating (if you were a follower of datingmissadventures.com,) you all are about to learn about my journey as a “dance mom” and the misadventures I have experienced in being so. Enjoy reading about all the crazies!!!
Dancing is wonderful training for girls, it’s the first way you learn to guess what a man is going to do before he does it. ~Christopher Morley, Kitty Foyle August 23, 2011
Oh, the Drama! This blog has moved to it’s new home, as of today. Being a “dance mom” has been my reality long before Lifetime decided to grace us all with the psychos of Pennsylvania with their fearless leader, Abby Lee Miller. The fierce competition, hours of waiting back stage, layers of makeup that make you want to grab a dipstick to make sure the girls aren’t a “quart low” before they go onstage…I’ve lived it for years.
My dancer has now graduated to a whole new level…ballroom. Ballroom is a style that most washed up ballet dancers move on to at 18 because they realize that there is no where else to go. There is a natural progression between ballet and ballroom that is intriguing for these girls. Mine just has gotten a head start, entering this new sub-culture at the tender age of eight.
Halfway through nine, she is six years into dancing. Ballet, jazz, tap, musical theater…we’ve been there. Her love of the balloroom started almost two years ago at her “regular” dance studio, began taking a ballroom medly class, and decided to move to private lessons. Holy smokes were they expensive for what we were getting. We soon discovered Arthur Murray dance studio in “the big city” and jumped right on that train.
A year has nearly passed since she has been learning here. She is simply the belle of the ball, the little engine that could. A little nine year old powerhouse on the dance floor, the only child among thirty adults most nights.
So why the drama? Oh there is plenty. The costumes, makeup, false eyelashes, partner heights, heels coming loose, brushing out the shoes…magnified by a nine yar old drama queen. And lucky you, folks, you chose to visit my world and learn all about it.
This is a whole new learning experience for me. The terminology is totally different, the levels, everything!
Here we go!