I hate stuff like that - something is stated as “optional”, but then later down the line it’s thrown back in your face about how important it was that you didn’t do that optional thing and now it is held against you. Sadly, there is a lot of that grey area optional stuff in dance and dance studios. Then sometimes those in power aren’t even consistent about it either and there’s a double standard.
For example of something I see a lot, there will be an offer to be in, for ex., 12 group numbers after an audition, but only 6 if them are mandatory. Group numbers all cost money and time to be in - big cost difference between doing 12 and 6. Some parents will say my kid is only doing mandatory groups to save money - it’s supposed to be optional, right? But then next summer their kid is penalized in various ways in the studio for not doing all the groups (offered lower quality groups next season, put in a lower technique class than other dancers of similar ability, etc.) - all cause they didn’t pay for those extra groups which really have nothing to do with how good of a dancer they are. Stuff like that irks me. It’s like you always got to go overboard and do everything and anything offered in some of these places cause the next thing you know you’ve hurt your kids experience and can’t recover - seems like the DCC is the same way, but w/ grown women.
To me it sounds like what happened to Angela was a similar thing. They told her the appearances were “optional”, and she might have even had a work or family commitment for why she didn’t do them, but then held it against her later for an opportunity she wanted when she had cleared her schedule and was ready to do SG. But then they also go ahead and put Rookies in SG who have never even done a year on the squad and they really know nothing at about their level of dedication, so there is a compete double standard.
I guess I can see both sides where these places want only those who are “all in all the time” to get the best opportunities, but they should probably spell out the consequences for choosing to do less a little better at the time of decision and not after the fact. However, I’m sure revealing how things really are/work would probably make the organization sound really petty (cause they are), so no team director, etc. would have the guts to admit that out loud.