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Jan 17, 2017

dance mom



I had a very strange encounter at work last night. As a precursor to this story, I'll have to  quickly explain something. When I teach, I typically don't wear a leotard and tights or put my hair in a bun. I'm in them so often throughout the rest of the week that it's nice to just wear some athletic pants, a sports bra, t-shirt shirt, some dance sneakers, and to throw my hair up into a ponytail. I have had many teachers dress this way, whether it be at Maine State Ballet, or various summer programs I have attended at establishments like Boston Ballet or the American Academy of Ballet.



 I pulled up to the studio at 3:50 to teach my 4:00 class, and set my bags down in the lobby to wait for the rehearsal going on in my classroom to let out. As I waited, peaking in and out of the classroom's small window to watch the dancers work on their contemporary piece, my little ones were arriving. Skipping inside, their little legs poked out from underneath their winter coats.

I turned to smile at them and one of the mothers caught my gaze, looking like she had something to say to me. She took a step closer, ushering her daughter over towards me and said, "So, I think you should wear a bun sometime."

I wasn't sure what she was getting at, so I turned to her daughter and asked, "Oh yeah, would you like me to show you how to do one? Is that what you mean?"

"No, I just mean in general," she said with a shrug as she motioned to her daughter. "It just came up the other day and we think you should be wearing your hair in a bun." She patted the tightly wound bun she had no doubt fashioned on her daughter's head.

I was taken aback.

Was this woman actually trying to tell me how I should be wearing my hair to do my job? 


I wasn't sure what to say, so I ended up going the route of explaining how I have extremely fine hair (and if you have ever seen my hair down, you would know how thin and pin-straight it is), and that taking it up and down from a bun really damages it, so I try to leave it down whenever I'm not dancing myself. I felt silly justifying why I wear my hair a certain way to a woman I've barely ever spoken to, but there I was. Her daughter turned away shyly as she chuckled at my explanation. She turned to follow and said, "Oh ok, well we wouldn't want you to break your hair."

Honestly, guys, I really am not sure what to make of this encounter. Should I be wearing my hair in a bun to teach all the time? Even if I go from teaching ballet in one hour and jazz in the next? Should I have let her speak to me that way? What a strange occurrence! Would love some insight as to what you would have done. Leave a comment below to let me know what you think!


2 comments:

  1. You absolutely do not need to have your hair in a bun. I have taken classes in many ballet schools and I do not recall any of my teachers having their hair in a bun. Generally hair is pulled back into a ponytail, as you stated. Also, that mother put you in a very strange position. Is there a decent response to that kind of a statement? Regardless, you handled it well!

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  2. I can't tell you how many mothers have put me in difficult positions when I was teaching. You had a particularly strange encounter though. I literally had a woman tell me how to run my studio and constantly berate me on silly little things. I just kindly listen and then thank them for sharing their opinion and then do whatever I feel is best for me and my studio.

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