Everyone deals with bullies at some point in their lives, but in a dance studio it is unacceptable. When students have been dancing together from the time they are nine to eighteen years old there should be a sense of comradery among the dancers. Of course, some students are going to have more in common with others, but students shouldn’t ever feel they are being left out or that there is favoritism in the classroom, at a performance, or at a competition. As an instructors, it is our job to protect, encourage, and support students in their dance endeavors; and parents should be setting this example.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where their are mean girls and boys, and no matter what their age, bullying has a tendency to be inevitability. Growing up at a studio the owners were a second family to me. They always supported me in my desire to go to college for dance by allowing me to become an assistant dance teacher, giving me the opportunity to take more classes, as well as took some of my suggestions to heart by creating a competition team to give students the ability to be on stage more as well as developed opportunities for more classes. I would love to say that the competition team was always a great experience, but their became this inner turmoil that was unnecessary during my senior year of high school. The twenty-three year old competition team instructor still had a high school mentality and treated certain students like they were the stars and that the rest of the students didn’t deserve to be there. It created small cliques within the eleven person dance team, put a wedge between students that had been together for years, ultimately ended the job of the instructor, and led to the disbanding of the Saturday competition team by the time I left for college.
So, how can you prevent this from happening in your own dance classroom or studio? Firstly, know the instructors you hire. Not everyone that comes through your dance school or studio as a student should be teaching. Watch classes and see how the instructor interacts with the students. View the student’s reaction to the instructor’s direction. Second, create a team player mentality in the classroom as well as at performances. Having a support system between the students is the key to a successful choreographed routine and harmony among the students. And thirdly, have the parents understand and execute kindness and support between one another as well as the dancers. As the old saying goes there is no I in team and you need everyone to be a team player if you are going to be successful in the dance world.