Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Can someone just shoot me now?

Trea had her first dance class tonight. She's been begging for months to dance; I called around to some studios, but it seemed ridiculous to spend $35-40 a month, pay a registration fee, a costume fee, a recital fee, and buy her a bunch of dance clothes. She's three. She changes her mind a lot. I'm not making an investment until I'm sure she really likes it.

So, I found a class in our community learning catalog. Six weeks for $39, no performance, no special clothes. The class description was "basic creative dance steps in a fun, positive, and nurturing environment" and stated that children would learn "creative skills of expression." Excellent. I took dance at Trea's age, and I learned "I'm a little Teapot" and danced around with a scarf. I loved it. She can try it and if she hates it, no big deal.

I told Trea in the morning that we were going to dance class that afternoon. She asked every half hour after that, if it was time for her class. She told everyone who sat by us on the bus, TRAX, and the bus again that she was going to dance class. They were all thrilled to hear it (actually, everyone was very nice to her.) She kept talking about dancing with a boy, and how she HAD to wear a skirt, not pants, because the boys wanted to see her dance in a skirt (I really don't know where that came from, but I kept telling her that her class might be all girls, and she kept insisting that there would be a boy there for her to dance with. Whatever.)

So. We arrive at the high school, and the teacher starts talking. First, it's ten weeks instead of six; oops! Not that big of a deal, except that we were also thinking of doing swim lessons down the line, and her cousin wants to take with her, and I don't want a bunch of classes dictating our lives. But okay. Then, there IS a performance. Ugh. Don't want to deal with that. No reason, I just don't. Then, all the other little girls showed up in little pink leotards. Some even had tights and shoes and little skirts. Some of them had tights but no shoes, which is a bad, bad combo with a wooden dance floor. Trea wanted to wear her black tulle skirt with sequins on it; you're probably wondering why she has such a skirt. It was a gift from Ariana, my old roommate, who whips stuff like this out in her spare time. It was intended for dress-up, and has been frequently used for that purpose. Today it was also used for dance. I paired it with a green t-shirt. I talked her into forgoing the matching cape. I thought she looked cute, but she, um, stood out amidst the sea of pale pink.

Then the class starts. The teacher spends several minutes teaching them first position. And you can tell she really thinks they need to know this, because she keeps drilling it. "What position is this? Remember? It's FIRST POSITION. Can you say that? FIRST POSITION. " She even went around and corrected them. They are THREE. Then she moved on to plies (where's my little accent mark?) and simple movements. She even had them do leaping over a piece of paper on the floor. Some of them can barely hop; running and leaping is a bit much to ask, you know?

Fifteen minutes into the class, a little boy and his mom walk in. Trea had to call out to me, "Mama! Look, it's a boy! This is a boy!"

Yes, sweetheart, I know.

The intro to ballet was followed by a trip to the water fountain, because you know 3 year olds can't last an hour without a drink. The teacher lined them all up, placed their hands on the kid in front of them, and made train noises as they inched towards the door. They almost made it before one little girl slipped and tripped up three girls behind her, and they all came to a halt. A total train wreck. I secretly think the teacher was killing time. I would too.

You know the worst part of it? The music. Would YOU choose the theme from St. Elsewhere for a class for 3-4 year olds? Would you choose it for anything? NO!

I don't get where the fun and creative part of it is. After class I asked the teacher if this was a typical class, and she said it was. I expressed my concerns about it being so structured, and she said, "This is what I do."

Thanks for the reassurance. I don't think you have any clue how to teach preschoolers, by the way.

The teacher approached all the parents after class and admitted that the class was overly full, there were 15 kids and that was too many, and she needed some to switch to Thursday. I obviously can't switch, but I might drop.

Only Trea LOVED it.

Dang it.


Ariana said...

Aahhhhhhhhhrrrrggggg. Yeah, what part of "3 year old" do they not understand. hahaha She obviously has no 3 year old or has delusions of grandeur. And sorry that skirt is black -- you know me, not a fan of girly things and especially pink. hahaha Actually the black fabric was on sale after Halloween one year so I bought a whole bunch figuring I could find something to do with it. Dress up skirts seemed like fun for some reason even though I just have Preston. ANYWAYS. hahaha I'm glad she likes it and I hope the class gets better. :)

Kate said...

Black is good. Way to stick it to those Othermothers.