March is an exciting time of year! We’re in the middle of the competition season, recital planning, and preparing for summer and next school year. Our instructors worked so hard on class evaluations and recommendations, which just went home via email a few moments ago.
The Pointe’s Unique Evaluation Process
Our faculty and staff are dedicated to utilizing a great curriculum and evaluation system. These elements set our dance studio apart from the rest. The Pointe uses one of the most detailed evaluation reports in our industry because we know that students and parents value feedback. By giving as much information to students and parents as possible, we partner together to help our students achieve their specific goals.
Every instructor fills out an evaluation form for each class (dancers in three classes will get three evaluations) using our syllabus for each level. The evaluation forms have three sections: Attitude, General Technique, and Key Skills. Each item receives a 1 for a new skill/needs work, 2 for developing skill, and 3 for a mastered or completed skill.
The attitude section includes attendance, work ethic, listening, showing respect to other dancers and the instructor, etc. The technique section covers fundamentals of that dance style (for example, in ballet: straight knees, pointed feet, tall posture, and musicality). The third section covers specific skills to that class level (for example, a key skill in Ballet 3 is a double pirouette). Following these, teachers write comments and their recommendation for classes for the next season. Our teachers have done an incredible job preparing thoughtful recommendations. Know that our instructors invest a lot of time in each form for your student! We want students to know objectively how they are progressing. Students take written feedback to heart when it’s sometimes easy to forget comments said during class.
Tips for Parents to Make Evaluations Positive
Parents, please remember that most students spend at least two years in every Graded Technique level. Sometimes, dancers who have progressed quickly through the early levels catch up to that average of two years in levels later on. Every dancer’s journey is completely unique. Your dancer may not progress at the same rate as their friends or classmates, and that’s OK.
We email recommendations home because we know that kids may have a big emotional reaction. I remember going through exciting audition or evaluation results as a kid and wanting to yell with excitement but knowing that wasn’t appropriate. I also remember getting disappointing results and wanting to cry, but not feeling OK doing that around my friends. It was so awkward and uncomfortable! We know that kids feel things deeply and want them to be able to get those feelings out at home. We also know that sometimes paper notices get thrown in the bottom of the dance bag. Nobody wants to touch the letter from the bottom of a dance bag beneath stinky jazz shoes!
We hope these evaluations serve as practice for kids to handle both exciting news and disappointments with grace. Class placement seems like a big deal right now, but in a dancer’s career, placement for one year does not make a huge impact. All of our advanced dancers have had disappointing recommendation or audition results, and they grew to that next level of skill and passion after working through that. This can equip kids with strength and the ability to have a difficult conversation that will be an asset to them throughout their life!
I was so disappointed when I got placed on the “C Team” in middle school basketball. That was the lowest team, my friends made the “A Team”, and I cried. I almost quit when I saw the team lists posted. My parents reassured me that the mission in basketball (or any activity) is being a part of a team, improving my skills, and the name of the team doesn’t impact that mission. I reluctantly continued and one week later, the name of my team didn’t matter anymore. Because of my placement, I was able to score several points in our “C Team” games. I realized when watching the “A Team” that I NEVER would have had the chance to get off the bench in any games – or if I did, I wouldn’t have been set up to succeed.
All of our teaching staff shares one goal: the success of each and every student. Our recommendations for each student are designed to help them be successful in dance.
Next Steps: After Reading the Evaluations
If you or your dancer has a question about their recommendation, please have them ask their teacher! Dance uses its own terminology, and written or typed comments about movement quality may be hard to understand. If your student needs some clarification on their comments or evaluations, we’re happy to help!
If your dancer feels disappointed by their evaluation, encourage them to turn that into fuel to do what it takes to level up. Doubling up on a class for the summer and extra practice on a specific skill at home can change a recommendation! Ask your instructor for their guidance and help in planning. These evaluations show recommendations based on performance today. With a focused plan and some extra work, they can change! A conversation with your instructor can equip your dancer with the knowledge they need to meet the requirements for the next level.
Register for the New Season!
Our 2019-2020 schedule will be posted soon, and dancers enrolled in summer dance get the first chance to register. The second tier of registration is for current students who will take the summer off, then we open registration to the public. Register for next year early – our most popular class times fill quickly!
We are so thankful for you and your dancer, and know that we can work together to make this evaluation process a positive one! Our staff is always available to answer questions and to make a plan to help your dancer reach their goals.
Miss Vanessa & the PSD Staff