I have been looking at what search terms bring people here. One of the searches is “don’t like my dance studio.” I’m not sure what the person who was searching for it hopes to find, but I suspect maybe advice on what to do.

My first question is why s/he doesn’t like the dance studio. Is it the environment (catty students)? The teacher (incompetent, ineffective, just don’t jive)? The classes (switching times, offerings)? The physical space (too small, cold, far from home)? Once you know why you don’t like something, a solution is easier to find.

If you don’t like the students, how much do they affect you? I’ve been non-dance situations where I don’t like the people but I have to take a class. I’m polite and civil, but I’m not best friends with them. I learned to make the best out of it that way, because I like other things about the class.

If it’s the teacher you don’t like, I would be more inclined to leave the studio, depending on the situation. Students come and go all the time, teachers often stay at a studio for awhile (or forever). Figure out what you don’t like, though. If she lacks skill or you can’t learn from her for whatever reason, I’d leave. If she isn’t the warmest person, I’d reconsider. I’ve had good teachers who I don’t love and I’m not close to, but I’ve learned a lot from. If the teacher is just plain mean or abusive (insults students), I’d definitely leave without a second though. A former dance teacher of mine once said “I’m not paying money to be insulted and feel bad about myself.” I think that is excellent advice. You do want a teacher who’ll correct you, but there is a difference between correcting you and making you feel awful.

If you’ve talked to me in the last few weeks, flakiness annoys the heck out of me. I can empathize with people who have issues with unreliability, especially with classes. In that case, I’d suggest talking to the teacher/director about that matter in a polite way. Ask why it is and is there any way to ensure that the classes always run. If what you’re after isn’t being offered, you have two options. Find a new teacher or see if your current one is game for starting a new topic. I know both of my teachers were always interested in suggestions; I think some of mine have even helped start classes. Sometimes, teachers don’t know if their students want to learn new stuff. I know Sonya has honored requests, if there are a lot, for class time changes.

If you don’t like the physical space, I’d step back and figure how bad it really is. If it’s cold, you can always layer on clothes. Working in a small space may or may not be an issue; in Middle Eastern dance, there isn’t always a lot of traveling or moving about the stage. The stage sometimes is only 4 feet by 4 feet! Sometimes people carpool if the class is far; you save gas and you have a friend along for the ride.

The last thing, before you call it quits at a studio, is figure out if it isn’t them but you. I’ve been there about getting discouraged by my lack of progress at times. I know sometimes people feel like the teacher is “jus jellus”, but perhaps you really aren’t ready for the next level or to perform. If you have a good teacher (knows his/her stuff, is honest and helpful, etc.), you should trust and respect their opinion.

Ultimately, you have to weigh out the pros and cons and figure out what’s most important to you. Your money and time are important, so why waste it if you are unhappy somewhere? Shira’s site has an amazing directory of teachers; it is the largest one on the internet. If you want more of a recommendation for a new teacher, ask around on Bhuz, tribe, Livejournal, or the many other communities; people are always willing to recommend others. Good luck!

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