Teachers Sound Off: Dealing with Excessive Absences


We all get sick. We all miss a day here or there. But what does our teacher panel say about those students missing rehearsal after rehearsal. This week, we wanted to know,

How do you deal with excessive absences when prepping for a performance?

My rule is, if they’re not there, they’re not in the choreography they miss.
Miss Kathy 

If it’s due to an injury, obviously we want to be as smart and cautious as possible so they can get back. However if it’s just not being present for rehearsals before a show that’s a different situation. I think the key is having a clear attendance policy and sticking to it. None of my students can participate in the performance if they haven’t been to the dress/tech rehearsals. If it’s a dance company situation with excessive absences, that student may either be pulled from that number or excused entirely. We try to always drive home to our students that you are part of a team and one person missing affects the entire group. It’s no different than missing practice and expecting to play in the game. The place for it to be all about you is in a solo, not when you’re in a group.
Jake P. 

They could be removed from the number.
Miss Sharon 

It depends on the student. I try my best to stay flexible with my recreational dancers. Honestly you have to in order to keep a full studio. The competitive students are different though, they know that their attendance will directly affect their placements for next year.
Eva M. 

So cut and dry. If you aren’t in class or rehearsal I cut you from the number  There is a commitment that you have made to your team and to me. If I am only in town setting a piece for three days, I expect the dancers to be there. In my professional life I would be fired for excessive absences. If you aren’t there, I choreograph you out of that section. It doesn’t help me to save a spot for someone who doesn’t care enough to show up. I would rather reward another dancer for showing up and working hard. I couldn’t care less if they were more or less talented than the absent dancer and it is teaching them a lesson about this industry. You get hired by being present, putting in good work, and being first in the heads of any given casting director or choreographer.
Chip A.

I have a very strict policy for absences. I primarily work with the more serious company kids, so attendance is so important. Of course there are always extenuating circumstances, but I reiterate constantly that a dancer’s absence only hurts the dancer’s ability to advance and holds back the group.
Mr. Brian

It depends on if it is a recreational or a competitive class. Company members are only allowed so many absences until they are taken out of the dance. I stress the importance of attendance with recreational students, but if they don’t know the dance as well as the other kids it’s on them. I don’t expect recreational dances to be perfect, rather to show what the students have been learning over the year.
Elise H. 

Teachers, share how you deal with excessive absences. Dancers, do you think the teachers are fair?Time for you to sound off, in the comments!

** Each week our panel of teachers will answer a different question. Got a question? Get in touch. Know someone who should be featured on our panel? Nominate them. **

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