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Dear Katie: Help! There's A Culture of Bullying at My Dance Studio

In our Dear Katie series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

I just moved to a new dance studio that provides great training. But there's an awful culture of bullying there. While I'm not getting bullied myself, I see girls being picked on constantly. It seems like the teachers must be aware of it—it's happening in a really obvious way in the studio—but nobody ever says anything. What can I do to help the situation?

Emilie


Dear Emilie,

This is a tricky situation. The hard part is that as much as you want to help, you can't change other people. So the number-one thing is to make sure you are staying positive and being kind to everyone else. (And it seems like you're already doing that!)

If you think the bullying is creating a dangerous situation, start by speaking with your parents, who will likely have valuable insights. They might recommend that you talk to your teachers yourself, or they might decide it's best for them to have (or mediate) that conversation.

But above all, make sure you're focusing on yourself. Don't let others' bad behavior ruin your training. Keep being that positive light!

For more of Katie's helpful tips and advice, click here.


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A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi, dance friends. It is a strange time to be a person in the world, and an especially strange time to be a dancer. As the dance community faces the coronavirus crisis, a lot of you are coping with closed studios, canceled performances and competitions, and a general sense of anxiety about how your world will look going forward.

Yes, dancers are super resilient, and there's been a lot of inspiring community-building happening. #LivingRoomDances and Instagram dance parties and virtual ballet classes with the pros are wonderful. Dance can, and should, be a bright spot in the darkness. But that weird, empty feeling you have? It might be grief. The loss of the certainty of daily class, the loss of the promise of that big end-of-year performance—that's real. The dance studio has always been a safe place; it's especially hard not to have that outlet now, when you need it most.

We're here for you. We—and our friends at Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Teacher, The Dance Edit, and Dance Business Weekly—are doing our best to document the hurdles facing the dance industry, and to advocate for dancers in need. We're developing more online content that will help you maintain and improve your technique while you're at home, and process the mental and emotional fallout of all this upheaval. (You can keep up with the latest stories here.) And we're still making our print magazine. We have issues planned and shot, full of great dance stories and beautiful photos. We're not going anywhere.

We want to hear from you. Talk to us. Or dance to us. Or both. We won't stop moving, and you shouldn't, either.

Margaret

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