Confessions From Dance Limbo

This is my first post in a very long time and I confess I needed some time away to collect my thoughts. In fact after receiving a few nastygrams from parents of our original Irish dance school I decided to keep a low profile. That is until I had ice cream with a friend (and fellow ID mom and dancer herself) who convinced me to get back in the blogging saddle. It has been an eventful and interesting few months for me and I now feel I can share this journey.

Let’s refresh shall we?

In December of 2011 we made the decision to change Irish dance schools to a new and exciting Irish dance school that opened in town and started quite a stir.

I resisted a change to this school for several months because I wasn’t sure this was a good fit for my daughter. My husband predicted that if we switched to this school she would be out of Irish dance in four months. Then after the Oireachtas and the poor performance by our teams I knew the time had come to make a change. It also helped that several other families were looking as well and we were all looking to the new school in town for answers. My family visited this school and found it was professional, organized and focused on coaching the dancer.  They were also starting to prepare for the Oireachtas much, much earlier than our current school had and the teachers have outstanding credentials. My husband approved so we decided to make the switch.

For the first two months everything was fine but it soon became apparent that perhaps we had a made a mistake – not in changing schools but in changing to this school. While the discipline and work ethic we were looking for was there the fun aspect was not. It really hit home one night when my daughter broke down in tears while I was playing “Siamsa” – not just tears but uncontrollable sobbing. Our now former ID school uses “Siamsa” as their entrance number for performances (dance-outs, displays, etc) and while my daughter admitted she didn’t miss her teacher – she missed the atmosphere. This new school was too much the opposite extreme for her. For us the costs were rising not only in monetary terms but also in the time and emotional commitments. I was elected to a certain office on the parent association board and I won’t deny I sensed tension from a couple of board members that and their friend did not have that position. I don’t play games very well and I could have resigned this position but if our daughter was truly unhappy what difference would this make? In our minds once we wrote the checks  and made the commitment to the teams there was no backing out. We had another decision to make and that decision was to leave Irish dance all together. It was no longer worth it for any of us. It was exactly four months – just as my husband had foreshadowed.

The week that followed our announcement that we were leaving the school was filled with numerous phone calls and emails from other parents begging us to reconsider our decision. I asked my daughter if she wanted to return and the answer was a emphatic no. We were in dance limbo and looking into options. We considered a “traditional” dance school, which our daughter really enjoyed yet she couldn’t stop Irish dancing around the house. We knew she was still an Irish dancer and we couldn’t throw five years of our lives away. We also knew we couldn’t go back to the original ID school – nor did we want to. Instead we decided to check out a CRN school in the area, which looked like a strong possibility until we realized this would be a big step backwards. Plus I couldn’t stand the thought of feising and not seeing my friends – OK I’m selfish I admit it. Finally another dance parent offered a solution in the form of an Irish dance school that is a 45-minute drive from our house. After speaking with the TCRG/Owner it appeared we’d found our answer and made the commitment with the understanding this would be the last change in ID schools we would make.

The decision has turned out to be the correct one and I regret we did not switch to this school in the first place. We now have the best of what our two former ID schools offered and is the perfect fit for our daughter who is enjoying the school’s atmosphere and being challenged as a dancer. The down side is that she has to sit out another six months from feising which I don’t quite understand because she did not compete for the other school so why impose another six months suspension? If we would have moved out of the area there would be no ban but unfortunately there’s really nothing I can do. If I appeal it may do more harm than good.

Instead of feising we’re enjoying an extended vacation in dance limbo while my daughter serves her almost yearlong sentence for switching schools – twice. However, I’m finding that we need this time to heal and get things sorted out but our daughter is very happy in her new school and for us a happy Irish dancer is what it’s all about!

Until next time – Slainte!

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2 Comments »

  1. Glad to see you’re back!

  2. What a journey! It is so hard in our system to make a switch that will benefit the dancer as well as the teachers. I’ve had dancers that I wished hadn’t switched and are sorely missed for the personality they bring to class, but other dancers I bid a fond farewell because we were not a good fit and we’re happier without them, as they are happier in their new place.

    Thank you for blogging about this… I will be bookmarking this blog and am excited to hear more from a parent’s perspective!

    The Irish Dance Teacher

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