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Plies and Thank You: Where's the Discipline?

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As I watched Aurora twirl her way through the Tiny Tights class, I let my mind wander to her very first dance recital, which is scheduled for May. She loves her ballet class, and although she's only been going for a month, I see some real potential. Unfortunately, I also see three bratty kids who are about to ruin everything.


Karyn Bryant: Aurora's class only has four students. The teacher is competent, and the exercises are age-appropriate and fun for 3- to 5-year-olds. Aurora can hardly wait for Sundays, because she enjoys ballet so much. Yet each week I have to stifle myself as I watch three obnoxious girls detract from class because they refuse to listen to the teacher. I know it's not Juilliard, but I'm paying good money for my kid to learn the fundamentals of ballet. Apparently, the other kids are there because their parents wanted someone to baby-sit them for 45 minutes.

That being said, I figured everyone would commit to the recital. I never took dance as a child, but even I know that the cuteness factor of teeny ballerinas on a giant stage is off the charts. But when I asked the mother of the pain-in-the-butt-kid-who-brings-class-to-a-grinding-halt-whenever-she-has-to-pee if she would be signing her daughter up, the woman told me she wouldn't, because, "Marisol doesn't listen, and she would probably just do her own thing and be distracting." Um, kinda like what she's doing now? Whose freaking fault is that, hmm? 

The mother of the kid-who-comes-with-her-best-friend-and-chats-and-plays-her-own-games-during-class told me her daughter wouldn't be participating in the recital, either. Turns out, one time the school tried to have a performance for about 20 parents, and her daughter refused to go on, freaked out, caused a scene and the family had to leave. As this story was being recounted to me, the woman's newest bundle of joy was picking up and throwing everything that wasn't bolted down in the room. (As to whether or not her daughter's best friend is coming to the recital, I don't know. Her parents never come to class, so I couldn't ask.) 

Aurora is shy, so without the three girls she's familiar with, I know she'll feel intimidated by the other Tiny Tights who are set to join her class for the show. As a result, she's not participating, either -- so my cuteness overload will have to wait. 

I've thought about changing classes, but I know it's way too soon to get crazy. It's all for fun at this stage, anyway, and Aurora is having a blast. If the talent that's peeking through really starts to shine, then maybe we'll look for a more serious school. I just wish parents would take responsibility for their bratty kids. Plies?

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5 comments so far | Post a comment now
Black Iris February 25, 2010, 7:49 AM

I think you’re taking a class for 3 to 5 year olds too seriously. Most people are not there so that their kids will become ballerinas, and that’s good. The kids are young and most of them shouldn’t be ballerinas.

Aprilcot26 February 25, 2010, 8:52 AM

It’s nice to see a parent who gets it. As a dance teacher myself, I am often appalled at the behavior of my darling little dancers in class. However, at the studio where I teach, overly disruptive behavior like this is not tolerated. When a student becomes a problem, he or she is sent out of the classroom; end of story. We know the kids aren’t there to become professionals, but they are there to have fun and learn (which they can’t do with these “angels” disrupting the class)!

Kathy February 25, 2010, 9:30 AM

When my son was 6 yrs old he joined a karate class with his best friend (4-6 yr. olds). He loved karate but the 45 min. class was disrupted every 5-10 min. by unruly kids, including his friend. After his first free trial week, they asked him to join the school and he told the Sensei he would like to except he didn’t think he would enjoy it because the kids were so misbehaved!
The Sensei let him join the older kids class (7-9) because he was well behaved and used him as an example to the younger kids if they listened better. I was very proud of him :)

Lisa February 25, 2010, 12:06 PM

My husband’s parents and grandmother were professional dancers and our 3 year old daughter loves to dance, so we enrolled her in a ballet class. She loves it and looks forward to it every week. One of the 5 year old girls in her class is completely disruptive and it is obvious by her running in and out of the class the entire hour that she does not want to be there, but mom is in her own world and completely oblivious to the distraction. After the class recital, we plan to take her out and enroll her in another ballet school.

Mike February 25, 2010, 11:37 PM

I think you have a good take on this, if a dad can have an opinion here. We put two kids through studio classes, arts high school, and now one onto professional training at Miami City Ballet. You will find the same situation at all levels, although the ratio of attentive versus inattentive students shifts dramatically as disinterested students drop out as they age. My wife taught for a few years and constantly complained about the lack of attention (and I saw the same a few times when I substituted for her tap classes when she was sick). As you say, it’s all just for fun at this stage, there’s time to get serious when they turn 8 or 9….and only if they want to get serious.

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