When your dancers quit....
So this can happen more often than not. Especially in sports of any kind. Kids quit. People quit. Parents quit. It happens all the time! So the first thing you need to accept and understand is that it's totally normal for a dancer to come up to you at the end of the season and let you know they are quitting. Here are some reasons why it may have happened and how you can deal with it. Helpful tips for any coach not just in the world of dance.
STEP #1 - LETTING THEM GO....
Easier said then done. In many cases you have already seen the signs that your dancer or member has already "CHECKED OUT" on what your expectations are for your team. Signs include *lack of commitment* (they are missing more practices then attending) (They very rarely participate in any outside team bonding activities) (They always have SOMEWHERE TO GO. So their the first out of the door or they are constantly asking while their at your events "When Can I go?"....) IN THAT CASE IF THAT IS WHAT YOUR EXPERIENCING - What I like to say is "SO SAD BUT NOT MY BAD" - meaning See Ya or as other's would say "Bye Felicia" - WHY BURDEN YOURSELF OR YOUR TEAM WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS NO HEART OR DESIRE TO EVEN BE THERE THE BARE MINIMUM EVERYONE ELSE HAS COMMITTED TOO....
Why does this happen? Time for you to evaluate did you do everything you could have to avoided this situation in loosing this member? Can be a number of reasons:
1. Parents feel like Dancer isn't getting their STAR center status - Jealousy is usually the number one key factor in the disconnection with their team and your studio team philosophy. Sometimes you just have to accept the fact that Parents see their dancers bigger than the reality of what their dancers are. And in those situations it will never matter what you do with this dancer - that parent will never be satisfied with what they get or achieve. This parent will always find someone else in the studio who is getting the more star attention they feel their child deserves.
2. Dancer is burning the candle at both ends and have just too much on their plates. This dancer is burned out. They can't juggle everything in their lives and unfortunately sometimes it's dance that they drop to maintain some kind of focus in their lives. These are the kids that are in 5,000 activities, sports, clubs and are super achievers in their school work. They are usually your most talented dancers that don't see their potential because they have so many irons in the fire.
3. Financial - Come one people the number one reason why anyone is motivated to do anything in life comes down to that green dollar! Even though we provide the most near to almost free dance program around we still to this day loose dancers due to the almighty "CAN'T AFFORD DANCE" excuse! During this time in the world it's becoming harder and harder for families of limited means to be able to participate in programs and extra curricular activities like dance. So when this happens you have to remember no matter how much you love that dancer and their potential. This is a business and you have to pay your bills too. It's not fair to every other dancer that struggles to pay their bills to you if you let another one get away with a free ride because of financial woes. Now there are options you can do to help them make their needs for the team; encourage fundraising, help them find donations and sponors offer to let them do some studio work (like cleaning, assistant teaching or maintenance ) in exchange for paying of lessons.
STEP #2 - HOW TO LET THEM GO.....
It's easy. First of all say thank you for letting me know ahead of time and we wish you the best of luck in the future. Then let them go. Literally. Bye! Move on and put your focus on the other 20 plus dance kids that are wanting and willing to give you their full attention to what you can provide for them. Secondly don't be jealous if they end up on another dance team or participate on another dance studio. This is harder said than done. In most cases you can just be happy for them that they continued dancing and you still have a pretty good relationship with them. However there are those nasty few cases where it seems like those parents have moved their dancers to another studio to hit you where it hurts most. They spread rumors saying all the bad things they experienced at your studio to others because they didn't get whatever it was they wanted. (Again back to that being jealous of another dancer) They will do whatever they can to tarnsih you for some unknown reason - they are disgruntled customer and think it's totally okay to take you down. In most cases you can just kill them with kindness; do what the good lord suggests and turn the other cheek. But then in some instances you have to hit them back where it hurts the most. ON THE DANCE FLOOR. Karma is real and I do believe every dog has it's day. If your the type of person who holds onto grudges and purposely tries to destroy someone elses happiness it will come back to you 10 times worse so watch what you say or how you treat others that you depart from. It's totally normal to have a morning period for the loss of that dancer or group of dancers (believe me sometimes a mean person will try and rally others around them and will pull others from your studio in groups!) We have seen an entire squad of dancers disappear literally in 1 season because of situations like this. You just have to rise up and move on the best you can. Also remove yourself from situations where you will not run into individuals like this that have "BURNED YOU". Don't attend competitions or performances or festivals where the enemy so to speak travels. It's best to avoid confrontation then look for a fight. However; when it does happen and your in a moment where it's time to put up or shut up... Just let the chips fall where they may and in the end you will always prove why it was best they left. If you beat them they storm off or pout then it proves what disgruntled problems they were when they danced with you. If you loose to them with grace and they brag and dig the knife in deeper to intentionally hurt those who remained with you. (Being bullies to your dancers making them feel guilty for staying loyal to your studio) Not too worry in time those wolves will reveal their sheep clothing and turn on the very people they pretend to befriend in order to take you down. Seen it happen time and time again! KARMA is always on your side - Remember always what ever you do to someone can come back to you 10 x's worse.
STEP #3 - MOVING FORWARD....
Things to do as a dance coach to move forward and letting go of the past.
1. Get excited for your new members, new season and new team. PUT ALL YOUR ENERGIES IN A POSITIVE WAY INTO THOSE THAT SOW THEIR TRUE LOVE FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE AND WHAT YOU WILL CONTINUE TO DO FOR YOUR DANCERS WHO ARE HERE FOR ANOTHER SEASON!
2. Plan a fun bonding activity - get the new season of members together - go bowling or see a movie - go out to eat or visit a theme park. More than likely your not the only one at the studio feeling the loss of a member or two. Your dancers will also feel the loss and will see your stress too - help them feel at ease with this by showing them appreciation for their willingness to stick it out with you!
3. RECRUIT for new members! Bring in fresh faces to mix up the old tensions by recruiting for new dancers! It's always fun to keep bringing in the new rookies that will add a little spark of life to your teams. BUT BE VERY PICKY ABOUT WHO IT IS YOU LET IN TO YOUR INNER CIRCLE! Many studios think it's all about numbers - gotta have X amount of kids on your competition squads and honestly in the past we have fallen to that same way of thinking. However; this season for 2019 we have redefined that goal. Yes we welcome new dancers to our family. However; If you want to be a part of our dream you have to commit to the same philosophies and standards our other dancers have lived up to years of understanding and achieving. I can't see that through just 1 audition or videos submitted to us to know if your a TEAM PLAYER or not. So it doesn't matter if you were a championship dancer from another studio or not you will have to pay your dues before you can be a part of our most elite opportunities or be given special roles and placements. We have decided come to have the belief - YES! COME ONE COME ALL - WE'D LOVE TO HAVE YOU JOIN OUR FAMILY - BUT IF YOUR HERE BECAUSE YOU WANT X, Y & Z .... ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO WINNING OR PLACING OR BEING ON A CERTAIN TEAM WE OFFER.... Well then maybe we're not the studio for you. If your wanting to join our family because of that reason YOU WANT TO BE A PART OF OUR FAMILY first then you will blossom and grow quickly! Everyone will welcome you with open arms and your talents will eventually prove where you should be placed and the honors of special routines etc., will be naturally granted to you based on your work ethic in class, unity with your teammates and appreciation for being accepted into our dance family no matter what the level. So make your focus on what it is your recruiting for. Ours is finding like minded dancers like ourselves that put value of family, team and unity first before self. If your studio is about numbers then do what it takes to make those numbers climb each year! Just be prepared you will see more students swing in and out of those doors if you don't focus on what your main priority is to keep the ones you do have then chasing the ones you don't!
On a final note.... To those dancers and parents who aren't happy where you are just do me a favor; Show some class. Be respectful. If you were blatenly wronged or cheated then yes you have every right to complain and warn others of their terrible business practices in the dance world. HOWEVER; if it's because you just didn't align right with the philiosophies of the coaches, or other parents or fellow dancers. Then please be kind. Leave. Find somewhere else to make yourself and your dancer happy but don't ruin it for others that are happy where you left. Be bold and gracious but be understanding to those that are left behind. Keep this in mind as well. YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE KNOWN AS A STUDIO HOPPER PARENT - YOUR REPUTATION IS JUST AS CRITICIAL FOR YOUR DANCERS FUTURE AS IT IS FOR THOSE TEACHERS WHO TEACH - SO BE AWARE THIS IS A VERY SMALL COMMUNITY AND STUDIO OWNERS TALK WITH OTHER STUDIO OWNERS IN FACT IN MOST CASES WE WARN OTHER STUDIO OWNERS OF "TROUBLE MAKER PARENTS AND DANCERS" - So watch what you say about who your talking about - you never know who is listening and who has a connection with this person or that one.... FOLLOW THIS GOLDEN RULE AND YOU WILL BE TRULY HAPPY IN YOUR DANCE TRAINING EN DEVOURS.... Do unto others that you would want done to you.
Check out this awesome informational video that was posted by a fellow former dance studio owner that I truly look up to and respect! Her words of wisdom ring so true during this time of year! Check it out here: