ED Magedson – Founder
Ballet Petite & Youth Performing Arts School4701 Sangamore Rd. Bethesda, MD 20816 Bethesda, Maryland United States of America
Ballet Petite & Youth Performing Arts School is a well known for-profit arts school located in Bethesda, MD. It is known for exposing children to the world of classical dance in an enchanted environment. Though the service seems to be "on point" for parents who register their children for classes within the community, little do they know of the abuse that takes place behind the scenes.
Ballet Petite staff usually quit every 3 to 4 months. Which is not a good sign for a company. There is always either a staff shortage due to the abuse and stress of the job, or new faces that constantly enter the work place with no proper introduction or release for the students and staff. The dance school has a mission to rear up students under a consistent teacher, but are not able to simply because employers are unhappy. Students rarely have a consistent teacher throughout the session, and therefore are never able to create a bond with their teachers.
Parents are paying a large amount of tuition money, simply for the enchanted environment, and not the quality of the class. I had several parents report how most of their child's classes consist of running around, but no technique is taught to the children. When they do reach a age of taking technique based classes, it is definitely poor quality. Teachers who are not qualified to teach ballet, but are qualified to teach jazz and musical theater, are teaching ballet classes off of a previously written lesson plan in which the children are not learning terms that most children their age from different ballet schools already know. Several teachers complain about how they feel that they are a "sell out" in teaching the arts. The children are definitely not challenged artisticly. Though it is understandable for the younger children, it is not understandable for children at the age of 5 or 6 years old.
The atmosphere of the work place is "condemning". Their staff training is absolutely terrible, and there is poor communication among staff throughout each session. Rarely is staff appreciated for their hard work. Consistent reprimand is their way of getting the job done. A healthy business has a balance of praise and reprimand. However, Ballet Petite is strictly reprimand. Staff is consistently receiving emails from arrogant site directors, Sophie Nusinov and Elizabeth Ferrante, along with IT director, Mei-ling, that reflect no sort of appreciation. The gossip amongst staff members is to a high degree where, staff members feel uncomfortable in the work place. They use you for tasks that need to be done, but instead a kind thank you, you are reprimanded for how it was done incorrectly. There is no healthy balance of reprimand and praise. Several teachers have complained of how they are never appreciated, but are used all the time to keep the machine running. Ballet Petite is known by the staff as a "running machine". The physical health or emotional health is not acknowledged, as they are always calling in teachers to work shifts to keep the company rolling. This is a reflection of a for-profit company, and why it's best to work for a non-profit arts organization.
Ballet Petite consists of employees who are trained in the arts, but their physical health is not cared for as the company gives full-time employees a health stipend of $125 (without tax taken out of the added $125) at the end of each month that enables them to pay a monthly health insurance bill. Teachers and staff are consistently sick, fatigued, and lacking financially due to the high stress that they receive on the job and little amount of money received for their hard work. The plans that they are able to receive are extremely small, and are not able to cover much when teachers have several health conditions.
Most small and medium size businesses that cannot afford to hire full-time employees, usually beat aroud the bush by either hiring independent contractors, or consistently hiring part-time workers. However, Ballet Petite has been in businesses since 1992 and has atleast 1,800 registered for their school. Tuition is at the most, $336 for an entire session. The company consists of a small full-time staff, and a vast amount of independent contractors. Therefore, they have the finances to provide full-time staff with an actual health and dental plan, but hasn't made the effort. However, they are fully aware of the small stipend. Teachers and staff have faced extreme health problems, such as heart conditions, car wrecks, twisted ankles, sickness, and more, but are still required to work if not able to find a replacement. And they rarely have health insurance to cover it. I found myself getting sick on several occassions, and still had to come in for work due to the staff shortages that constantly take place.
Everyone is doing the same job. There is no specialization in work, or no real time to fully invest and complete projects. Everything is rushed. The fast pace environment is illusional. There is no reason for the company to rush. Therefore, if you a site director with a degree in theater, you will be doing the work of an IT, arts administrator, and etc... They are too cheap to hire a full-time office staff that handles the administration work. Their system always causes them to drop the ball somewhere. It is definitely not a smooth system.
Gas is always an issue for teachers, as they commute to each location. The company believes that the gas in reimbursed via paycheck, but that is not the case. They do have a company car, but the side view mirror is broken. Overall, the company is not professional, and it's not a healthy environment for workers. It is definitely not a company for someone who attended college and earned a degree. Please do not settle for a company that is not worth investing in long-term career. It is more for high school students or students who are currently in school. I definitely do not recommend. I did not realize how much I was "ripped off" as a worker, until I found a job that was much better at caring for their employees, and a better working environment. My lesson from this was to read the contract more carefully before signing.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/12/2010 10:25 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ballet-petite-youth-performing-arts-school/bethesda-maryland-20816/ballet-petite-youth-performing-arts-school-sophie-nusinov-elizabeth-ferrante-mei-ling-622495. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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