Q: We’re competing in a Nationals this year, and I’m being pressured by my parents to improve one teacher’s routines, because they haven’t been scoring well. I’ve tried talking to her about it, but little has changed. I’m considering letting this teacher go, mid-season. What do you think?
A: I noticed that you didn’t mention how the dancers feel. I have learned that if a teacher is loved by the majority of your dancers—even if parents are not 100 percent impressed with her choreography—it may be best not to let her go, mid-season.
A few years ago I had a young, talented teacher whose ego was out of control. Many parents complained about her favoritism and said their kids were scared to go to class because she picked on them and told them they were the reason the routines weren’t doing well. Talking to this teacher only got her back up. I did let her go at the end of that season, but I was very surprised by the response from the same parents and dancers who had complained about her. They now said their kids were sad that we let her go and that they were going to miss her—and then they immediately wanted to know who was going to replace her.
In your case, since it’s a Nationals year, I wouldn’t try to rock the boat (unless you’re at your wits’ end and already have a stronger teacher ready to take over until the end of the season). Yes, the routines might not be as strong as you want, but treat this year as a learning experience and move on.