As a former professional ballerina myself, and, now, the owner/director of the new Hinsdale Dance Academy, I have recently found myself pondering this question over and over again.
This topic has been around long before Abby Lee Miller took center stage on Dance Moms and long before I ever entered my first dance class. However, no one wants to talk about it and “rock the boat” or “stir the pot” because they are afraid of the adverse effects it might have on themselves/their dancer or they believe that that is how the dance world operates.
Yes, the professional dance world can be very competitive and rough, but the people that work in it (for the most part) are all adults. I also want to say that in every professional company I have danced in, I always felt that I could go to my director and ask them why I was not cast or what I could do to help improve myself. Never once was I met with defensiveness, but rather with gratitude for taking the initiative.
Being a dance teacher/coach means being a leader, mentor, and a disciplinarian in the classroom. But, what happens when this position of power and authority become abused? Instead of challenging and inspiring the student, the teacher becomes a detriment to a young dancer’s self-esteem. Why in the dance industry do some people believe its okay to treat a child as you would an adult? Should one sit back and be seen but not heard, or should one dare ask the question, “Why”?