Dear Dance Comps…Stop asking my dancers to miss school!

I love dance competitions.  I love how it keeps my dancers hungry, I love that my kids get excited to watch other dancers, I love watching them support kids from other studios and I love how they love really great competition!

I also hate competitions.  I am finding that many competitions these days are not aligning with the culture I am trying to create at my studio.  I am striving to create a whole dancer, really a whole, thriving, self supporting young adult by the time they fly my nest.  In order for that to happen these dancers need to go to school.  I am not ok with my dancers, or my own daughter, missing school to compete.   Now, let me just say, if we only competed once or twice a year I may not feel so passionate about this cause; at my studio we compete 6 times a year and attend a national competition.  Missing school 6 times a year to go to a dance competition is unacceptable.

It really disgusts me when a child centered business can completely disregard the needs and well being of the exact children they are supposed to be serving.  I completely understand they need to make a profit and I am all for the competitions making a big profit, but at what cost?  When will competitions draw the line and put the needs of the kids before their wallets getting fatter?  I would rather see competitions charge a bit more and cut off the entries so kids don’t have to make the choice to miss school or be competing at 10:00 on a Sunday night, with school the next day!

It has become normal protocol for solos to be scheduled on Friday morning.  All the competitions I have dealt with will offer to refund the fee for those dancers who cannot miss school.  So very generous. So lets break this down.  Mom and dad are investing $2,500+ into little Suzy’s solo, but they are not on-board with pulling Suzy from school to perform.  If all of Suzy’s competitions are scheduling her solo for Friday morning that means she will never be able to perform that solo she has worked on all year and her parents never see the dance they invested in performed on stage.  The next year Suzy’s parents may say no to investing a solo again.  That is sad for Suzy and bad for the studio business.

The bad news is competitions seem to be getting greedier and greedier with the sheer volume of entries they take.  Yet, we haven’t given them any reason to change; parents keep pulling their kids out of school and studio owners keep sending them checks.  Here is the good news, as studio owners, dance teachers and as parents WE drive this competition business.  If WE demand our kids get a schedule that will allow them to finish their school week, if WE call the competitions in advance and tell them we will not attend unless we know our dancers will be supported in their education and if WE as parents refuse to pull our kids out of school, the competitions will stop making these ridiculous schedules!

My final plea is to the dance competitions, please respect our kids education.  Please put the needs of our kids first.  There is no amount of profit that can justify asking a child to miss school to participate in their extra-curricular activity.  Raise fees if you must but cut your entries off to keep a reasonable schedule.

Reasonable meaning:

1.Nothing on Thursday…let’s just face Thursday competitions are UNACCEPTABLE!!

2. Nothing before 5 on Friday.  Kids need to finish their school day at 3:00 or 3:30 and have to DRIVE TO THE COMPETITION.  Last I checked we cannot teleport to the next city!

3. Nothing after 9:00 pm on Sunday (9:00 is pushing it but I am trying to be reasonable)

Schedule at 7:00 am Saturday and Sunday, dance until 11:00pm Friday and Saturday.  Or here is an idea, if a city is so popular that you routinely have 800+ entries get another date in that city!  Whatever you do please look out for our kids and let them go to school!

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Kathi Regan says:

    Great article, love love the message, i beleive this message ahould be for all children and parents. As no matter where your talent is or what extra activities your child is doing. Yhe conflict is the same.
    If its a team sport the whole team pays the price when a member can not attend a competition on a school day, and puts everyone in a hard no win place.

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