Monday, February 9, 2009
In sports and performance, the boundaries are not clear to say what is considered abuse or crossing the line. People also have different thresholds and tolerances.
If you are told in the middle of class, "You are too fat for a tutu? I can never allow you to be put in a tutu." Is this abuse? (This actually was told to a dancer weighing 115 lbs.)
Is this teacher being appropriate and respectful? NO.
Alternative approach to dancer in private -- Discuss wght matters privately, if necessary. Make best choices for piece with staff.
More is tolerated. Less is discussed because of the potential ramifications. It does seem to me that after the situation is out of control then maybe someone speaks up.
Many years ago, when my daughter was in grade school. I spoke up. She was a child. I am her parent. A teacher was exercising the dancers in a way that was not appropriate. They were not being warmed up at all and had to do something (I forget now). I heard parents complaining about injuries and then my daughter and I talked. She told me what was happening.
Part of this experience was for her to learn what is correct and not correct. She would then have information to compare.
I spoke up to the director and it was resolved. My approach was one of curiousity, asking, not entirely sure but here is what could be happening. I did not storm the castle or make accusations. I simply was asking for clarification. The director agreed that it was inappropriate.
VERY IMPORTANT - Most dancers I work with love most of their teachers. If you teach, your words go with your students for many years, just as you have already experienced. You make a difference.
Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT