It happens every year, despite my best efforts. I am sure it happens to you, too. I send out the dancers’ placement for the fall and inevitably, there is one parent that loses their grip on reality and shows a side of themselves that is so hideous that I wish I had never seen it!
But wait, before you assume that I just sent out placement emails all willy-nilly, throwing caution to the wind, let me take it back a step.
In January (yes JANUARY) I have 30 minute, one-on-one goals meetings with our company dancers and parent, to discuss the work the student is doing in class, whether they are on track to reach their goals, and what they can be doing to improve. I make it very clear that NOW is the time to be doing the work.
Prior to placement being released, I send a masterpiece of an email (if I may say so myself) to all the dancers, explaining that there are 3 rungs of the ladder in each class, and a dancer must achieve success on each rung before moving to the next level.
At first, the dancer is new to a class, adrenaline is pumping, the material is unfamiliar and the dancer feels challenged simply by stepping into the room. Next, the dancer becomes more accustomed to the routine, and begins to execute steps with more proficiency. Finally, the dancer reaches the top of the class and is ready to refine and perfect the details. Parents struggle the most when they fail to appreciate the value in that third (top) rung. In their haste to see their child succeed, they want to skip over the part where the dancer spends time at the TOP of the class. This is such an important place to be!
I will say that this approach has reduced the number of parents who push back significantly, but there is always ONE!
My advice to studio owners who are consistently struggling with this is to be very clear about the expectations and policies regarding student placement well in advance, and repeat yourself throughout the year.
Also…NEVER budge! Once you do that, you will have lost all credibility and the walls will come crumbling down.
If you are interested in seeing my letter (which seems to work 99% of the time) join our Member Vault! This is the type of stuff we will be sharing with our Members to make their lives as studio owners easier.
Whether you use my letter, or your own, be sure to hold your head high and stand firm. Doing the right thing always pay off in the end!