Bullying is definitely not something anyone of us wants to experience. But when we learn how to respond in a way that deescalates the situation, it can be truly empowering. And learning how to handle various forms of relational aggression will certainly be a life skill you’ll be glad to have honed early on. Sometimes, though, dance studio bullying can get out of hand, and you simply can’t handle it on your own. What then? It’s time to get your dance studio’s leadership involved.
When To Get Others Involved
In an earlier post, we suggested sharing your experience with relational aggression with someone you trust – outside your dance studio. This was an important early step, allowing you to get the support you needed without bringing unnecessary drama into your dance studio. But sometimes even after responding appropriately, bullying continues. If you’ve tried to ignore or address the issue in some way, but the aggressive behavior is continuing and getting to the point of continually affecting your happiness and/or performance, it’s time to talk with your instructor.
Why To Get Others Involved
Remember, this isn’t about encouraging conflict or getting someone to take sides: the purpose of any intervention is to arrive at a peaceable solution. If your teacher has noticed the behavior, hopefully she has discussed the issue with the offender. But often this kind of relational aggression is subtle enough to go unnoticed by others. So by talking with your dance teacher, you’re letting her know about a problem in her dance class. Assume that she will be glad to know about it and eager to help you resolve the issue. To give that the best chance of happening, do your best to keep your emotions at bay and stop short of insulting the bully.
How To Get Others Involved
Make sure your teacher knows that you aren’t trying to pass your problems along to her. Instead, ask her to consider mediating a conversation between the two of you or ask her for advice on how to handle the situation. Be sure to communicate the steps you’ve already taken and your desire to be part of a positive atmosphere in your dance studio.
If your dance instructor doesn’t respond to your request or model appropriate behavior herself, it might be time to take the conversation to another level. Leadership should definitely care about the kind of culture your dance studio encourages, but sometimes they may not realize what is taking place among students in the classes.
How To Encourage Positive Relationships
Your dance studio might already have some traditions in place to encourage a positive atmosphere. Maybe they encourage you to show respect to your fellow dancers by clapping after they perform. You can take the next step and individually congratulate your fellow dancers when they perform well in competition. The more that positive actions are encouraged, the more likely that negative ones will be eclipsed. Be sure that you support any positive policies your studio already has in place, as well as any new ones that they implement.