It Takes A Village
I take what we do at Elite very seriously. I think our staff has a huge responsibility in working with children to help them navigate life, not just the dance rooms that they are in with us. I think that the world is currently full of a lot of “not so great” examples in mentorship in pop culture and on social media. It is important to me to help our instructors to be great role models and great dance teachers, desk staff and leaders.
Beginning With Respect
With that, we nurture and encourage RESPECT at Elite. RESPECT looks like a lot of things inside of our classes and lobbies. It can be listening to others give their opinion or tell about their day or asking a question about a dance move. It can be giving someone else a turn in front of you going across the floor or at the water fountain. It looks like waiting patiently when a teacher is breaking something down or a desk staff is checking someone else in while you need a bandaid. Respect can also come through complimenting another student or staff on a job well done. I see examples of respect when dancers pick up after themselves in the student lounges and lobbies (sometimes with a little reminder :)). I also love to see respect in the form of help when one dancer sees another in need with a dance move, their dance bag or something else. One of my favorite examples of respect is when I see a child being so respectful to their parents. We teach respect along with dance moves and point it out when we see to encourage our dancers in that behavior.
Out in the World…
We love our class environment because we have control over what happens there in terms of respect. It is contained, we can educate and correct easily with love and talk through any events that might confuse our dancers.
It is a little harder for us to navigate for respect once we go out into the world. Sadly, the dance world has some negative attention surrounding bad behavior and lack of respect in its competitive environments from the popularization of shows like Dance Moms. I, personally, have boycotted anything to do with shows like that for so many reasons but nevertheless, they have an influence on people.
I struggle with disrespect to parents, teachers, and other children. I have seen it for years in the competitive environment before I opened the Elite studios and made a pact with myself that Elite dancers and staff would NEVER show up or behave in the ways that I saw some other owners and dancers behaving. Competition sometimes brings out the worst in people who don’t have a strong sense of self or their values. I wanted to rise above that for our Elite kids and staff.
I am proud to say that every single time Elite dancers are out in public – performing or competing, someone will comment to me or to one of our staff about how kind, respectful and well-mannered our students are. Every. Single. Time. We love that we are training beautiful dancers but the notice of our dancers being respectful human beings goes WAY further in my mind. Isn’t the world going to be a better place if we nurture respect for others in our children all while they fill that world with the beauty of dance too? I look forward to seeing that happen and will work hard with the Elite team to continue to GROW RESPECT at every turn we can.