Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Dance

A faliure. For now. Not to say I don't find this terribly depressing. We just arrived home from the fourth, and what I decided would be the last, dance class. I am SURE we will be back but right now it is only an extended exercise in frustration for me.

What I find extremely difficult are the 'I told you so' s some of which have come already from the likes of my mother and sister and some of which I know are coming. The saddest part of all is that the reasons most people tried to convince me NOT to put her into dance yet aren't really the problem. Those reasons mostly consisted of 'she's too young' and 'she won't want to follow instruction'. Both of these contributed to my decision to temporarily remove her from class.

But the main reason is that her class has SEVENTEEN kids in it. Seventeen. Imagine if you will Mamas, your child in a class for 2-5 year olds, sitting on their little bums while their teacher takes attendance. And they are all decked out in their dance gear. And ballet shoes, don't forget the shoes! And then also imagine these seventeen having to stand with their backs to the wall as they are calling one by one to skip, or jump or gallop across the floor to give their teacher a high five. Can you picture how excruciating it might be for some children (especially any who find it difficult to stay still unless they are sound asleep, and even then it's a stretch) to have to stand there watching as sixteen other kids do this ahead of them? And lets not even talk about the nightmare of getting them all to hold hands in a circle. For pete's sake.

To recap: Yes, she is young. Yes, she does have some difficulty following instruction. But I have to wonder... If there were say, ten kids instead of seventeen, would she have an easier time because it wouldn't take so long to do everything? Because they would be spending more time doing stuff instead of trying to organize SEVENTEEN kids to do said stuff? Did I mention there were seventeen kids in her class? Under the age of five?

People often say if you are going to complain you ought to have a solution. And guess what? I do! The trouble is I know that the studio won't give a crap because it involves capping the class size which would also mean capping the profit. See the problem? I did speak to A's instructor today who also happens to be the studio owner. I casually mentioned that I thought the class was large and this was partly the reason she was having difficulty. She listened attentively and said "Let's just see how it goes today." And I guess you can tell by this post it didn't go very well at all.

So yeah. We'll wait for a few months. When she'll be able to listen better (we hope), follow directions more easily and have more patience. And then we'll go back. And I'm sure I'll still be frustrated because the class will STILL be too large which will still be a problem. Miss A will just be one of the kids waiting patiently to dance while the other kids are running around. Welcome to the wonderful world of parenting right?

9 comments:

bon said...

Seventeen kids?! I think my THREE year old would not be able to hang with it!

crazy!

jen k said...

that would be so frustrating...
would love to put my girls into dance..but after reading your post i may wait..they have no patience right now.

i think you made the right choice.

Kelli in the Mirror said...

Gillian started dance when she was two and did well and we all loved it- but there were FIVE girls in her class. I can't imagine trying to do anything productive with seventeen!

Is there another school you could try?

elizasmom said...

It is not A's, or your fault that this didn't go well. There is a huge difference between 2 and 5, and I think the school would've been better off to split the ages and offered a class for toddlers, and then one for 4 and 5 year-olds. To say nothing of the class size — trying to corral that many kids is like herding cats. It just won't work.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

That is way too many kids. You're doing the right thing- making the choice to do it in the first place because you know YOUR CHILD and also deciding to wait a bit because you know YOUR CHILD. Good Mama.

Steph

Lynanne said...

gads, *I* wouldnt be able to sit quietly in a class of seventeen 2-5 years olds - I'd be running from the room with my hands over my ears. Many activities (tae kwon do!) require advanced students to help out with beginning students as part of their training. It's too bad the dance studio doesn't do this for groups that size (though capping class size obviously would be better).

Could you ask around for the name of an experienced senior student (age 15+) who would be willing to give Miss A "lessons?" 2-yr old's can only manage the very basics so a studio probably isn't necessary. I'd ask for someone who's good at babysitting because she (he?) would be better at getting a child to follow instructions. One-on-one lessons would also allow her to nurture her creativity and self expression. I bet she'd love dressing up in her outfit and wearing her shoes to practice. :)

Anonymous said...

I can understand what you are feeling. We also tried dance classes when Claire was 2. It didn't work. She had about 10 in her class and the ages were quite varied. Same problem. She didn't want to stay still and listen. i continued to try putting her in classes the following year which was better but she still wanted to do her own dance moves, and told me she already knew how. By age 4 she was ready to listen and follow along with the class. This fall we aren't doing it for other reasons, but next year is a definite go cause she loves it. The last suggestion of 1 on one sounds like a great idea. I know too that in skating we don't like to have more than 10 kids in a class, and for myself when working with little ones from ages 3 to 5, I like to get the parents involved and keep extra helpers on hand. As well as being spontaneous with the class and keeping it moving so kids don't run out of patience with our boring adult routines. Sabrina

Sugarmama said...

Actually, it sounds like a pretty poorly designed class if it was really supposed to cover that big of an age range. Maybe 5-year olds can wait while other girls show their stuff to the teacher, but a 2-year old? What frigging planet is the instructor from anyways?

I think you just need to find the right class for that age. Maybe something calling itself "movement" class instead...

snicketyone said...

Holy cow! There were about 20 kids in my little boys' comparable class, but there were THREE TEACHERS. They split the class into little groups, and each teacher worked with her own little group. And still, with the trouble! It was still chaos! I can only imagine what you and Miss A suffered through. *shudder*
Sounds like Miss Dance Teacher let her class get too big (so she could make more money? I'm just sayin'...)