The Princess, at her request, started ballet classes before Christmas.Â We paid for the gear and we paid for the lessons.Â After two weeks, she said that sheÂ didn’t like it and she wanted to give up.Â I wouldn’t let her on the grounds that I think it’s bad for her to be able to take up and give up things on a whim (we have previously had a similar experience with swimming, IÂ can only rejoice that I have never succombed toÂ requests for a pony).
The ballet teacher has already taken me aside and told me that the Princess shows no interest in class. Last Saturday, I was called aside again.Â They are having a show at the end of March.Â As I understood it, the Princess was to be the seventh snowdrop of seven.Â No longer.Â The ballet teacher said that since the Princess was inclined to wander off, she was worried that she would fall off the stage.Â The stage is very high.Â In my heart of hearts, I believe that the ballet teacher’s real problem is that she does not want one of her snowdrops to be out of time and wanderingÂ aimlesslyÂ around the stage andÂ she is using health and safety concerns to achieve thisÂ objective.Â Â I do sympathise but, at the same time, they are only 5; how much canÂ the PrincessÂ be ruining the performance?Â The ballet teacher is obviously very keen to get rid of the Princess as she has offered (enthusiastically) to refund me the fees for the term.
The Princess is, understandably, a bit upset that she won’t be in the concert but I think she would bear up very well, if she knew that she could give up ballet. We have given her a chance to put her defence which goes as follows a) she cannot hear the teacher b) it is too complicated c) it is too cold d) she does stay with the group and e) it’s not fair.
Internet, what should I do?
Beth Fish says
Well, I let my daughter give up ballet, but only because I thought the teacher had no business working with children and fully supported her decision to quit. She’s doing the swimming though, like it or not.
I would let her quit. But then, my parents let me quit my activities all willy-nilly like, and I probably would have benefited from being somewhat more compelled to apply myself.
Sounds like the class isn’t a good fit. Is there another school that’s convenient? Some ballet schools are all business – teaching real technique and such and that can be a real downer to someone who just wants to dance around in a tutu (speaking from experience here). Maybe try again another time if she is still showing interest.
I agree with Letter B – she may like to just dance around a bit at home and then go back somewhere else another time. There’s precious little to be gained from pushing it especially as she’s offering the money back. (but what a horrible person not letting her be the seventh snowdrop for gawd’s sake.)
As long as the teacher is offering the money back, I think it’s probably alright to let her quit. You should be able to sell the kit fairly easily.
I desperately wanted to do tap instead of ballet which I was rubbish at, my mother thought tap was “common”. I would suggest something else similar – maybe a more child-friendly teacher too – but I have no idea what’s available for little girls. If you were in the UK I’d say Rainbows but I’m biased.
I would let her quit; it may be good for her to be made to apply herself, but this doesn’t sound like a happy situation. If she shows interest again in a few years you could be sterner then, or make her wait a bit to make sure she really means it. My mum wouldn’t let me start ballet until I was seven. Also, she said that before I learnt the harp I had to try the recorder. I suspect there may have been some canny financial calculating going on here in addition to small-girl psychology (and I never did learn the harp)…
I think I see the problem: Princess is smarter than the teacher. Unlike her teacher, she has grasped the essence of snowflakeness. After all, what do snowflakes do if not wander!