A Soul is Worth $32 GST Included

When you decide to screw a person over for money, you calculate the risk that the amount of money saved is directly proportional or greater than the amount of grief the person you are screwing can dish back at you. More importantly though, you are calculating that your karmic footprint will not be so weighty as to dictate a future stint as some kind of insect.

At least that’s how I roll.

I learn over and over that this is not the case for most people.

Dee’s dance experience ended on a sour note. Hindsight, with all her clarity, tells me I should have made the decision to quit for her after the festival competition fiasco, but I allowed the owner of the dance studio to sway me (and make me feel as though it was my fault Dee wasn’t enjoying dance and a bad mom to boot) and I, inadvertently, swayed Dee by reminding her of her completely non-reciprocal responsibility to the other girls in her group who were counting on her to show up for the end of the year performance.

The studio owner, however, was being shrewd at Dee’s expense. She has a policy of requiring 2 weeks notice for termination of lessons and then refunds the balance. With nearly six weeks to go, she would have had to refund 4 weeks times 3 classes worth of funds.

No, I didn’t see that one coming. She suckered me good.

The dress rehearsal for the end of the year performance was its usual fiasco. I don’t think anyone involved has even the slightest idea of how to manage that many children at once and as I have mentioned, the teacher in me seethed at the lack of foresight and the blatant waste of adult time.

I had mentioned my concerns to the studio owner, and she ignored them as she does everyone’s concerns and complaints. It is her modus operandi. Nod, smile in a non-committal manner and then pretend the conversation never took place when she is called to account later.

Did I mention that after Dee missed the ballet rehearsal (because of the issues that I brought up weeks before) she stood in the back stage hallway and sobbed for nearly 10 minutes while people from the studio hurried around, casting uneasy little glances as they passed but not saying a word to me or Dee?

Yeah, that’s why I issued the executive order – way too late – and decided that Dee was done for the year. No one at the studio cared about her or her feelings. The ballet instructor is a teenager who has an agenda that centers squarely on herself. The more dance groups she teaches and choreographs for who go off to competitions and do well – the better her resume. That’s bottom line for her.

When the stage manager offered to let the ballet group rehearse again – 4 minutes tops – with Dee, her teacher said, “They don’t need to.”

And fuck you too.

The studio owner called the next night. It was the usual dissembling attempt to get me to take the blame for Dee having missed her curtain. Nothing is ever her fault and, rather than argue, I simply stated facts until she changed her story – three times and still without accepting responsibility or apologizing.

Apologizing, by the way, goes a long way and should usually be the go-to when a customer, which I am, is feeling slighted, which Dee and I were.

The conversation ended abruptly when I heard my cell phone ring and I knew it was Rob calling from the airport. Nothing was resolved, but after discussing things with Rob, I sent an email asking for a refund for the tickets to the final performance on June 4. $32.

Today, I ran into one of the other dance moms at Costco.

“Did you get the tickets?” she asked.

“Excuse me?”

“For the performance last night, ” she said. “They gave me your tickets to give to you when I saw you last night, but I never did. Did you finally get them?”

“Um,” I thought about trying to explain but decided against it. “Don’t worry about it. It worked out.”

It’s not worked out. Not by a long shot.

3 responses to “A Soul is Worth $32 GST Included

  1. I had an experience like this when I was about your daughter’s age. I think I’ve blocked a lot of the details out at this point, but it involved a teenage dance instructor and me as the teary-eyed child.

    Today I’m a 27 year old actress and performer working with a dance company in Turkey. For 20 years I wanted to dance but was too afraid I might find a repeat of that incident way back when.

    Maybe your daughter likes dance; maybe she hates it. But for her sake, give her some time off and then find another studio and offer she give it another try. It could be the best thing you both do.

    Cheers.

  2. If karma is real, I’ve met a few people who are going to be doing time as bacteria in somebody’s large intestine during their next lives. 🙂

    I’m sorry you both had such an unpleasant experience with dance. I had a run-in with an evil ballet instructor when my daughter was younger – not a teenager with an agenda, but someone who clearly thought she was running a professional ballet company and not teaching preschoolers to plié – and can definitely sympathize.

    The whole children’s dance-school culture seems to be one of those things where you’re either all the way in or you’re out, which is hard when you just want your kid to be able to take a class or two and have fun dancing. I don’t know if they have this in Canada, but here, the dance classes that are run through city parks and rec departments are a lot more suited to that goal; they’re offered at regular dance studios, and there’s usually a recital involved, but it’s all very low-pressure and there’s no expectation that you’re going to commit to multiple classes every week, out-of-town competitions, etc. Might be something to look into for the future, if Dee still wants to dance.

    • I’m uncertain of the future of dance. Dee just seems relieved to be done, so perhaps we are at an end.

      She is enjoying soccer and there is a summer camp that runs every Monday that Rob is going to take her too. Maybe that is her future? I am enjoying the soccer folk (mostly, there have been the oddly rabid parent here and there) more and am tired of the whole Toddlers and Tiara atmosphere of “the dance”.

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