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Ballet Talk for Dancers
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MickeyFan

Do you ever worry....

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Treefrog

Do I ever worry about pushing too hard?

 

Not much ... now. That's because, as everyone on the board promised would happen, my now-16-year-old dancer has matured to a point where she understands her likely prospects in the dance world. She no longer says, "I want to be a professional dancer", and I no longer feel like I have to help her find that path.

 

In the past, though, I would push her to watch class when she was sick. I encouraged her to try classes at a larger studio, when she was perfectly comfortable at our (very decent) neighborhood school. I rationalized that she was too young to understand the steps it took to reach her goal. I didn't want her to lay the blame on me if it didn't work out in the end.

 

I think this question is the very hardest for parents of younger dancers. This is a stage when it's harder to gauge your child's prospects. Your child is full of starry-eyed dreams and the awakening passions that accompany this age. It's also, for girls, the stage when serious training has to start if you don't want to miss the boat.

 

So, I think it comes down to this: you have to offer the opportunities, but not push your dancer into accepting. Sit down with your dancer and educate him or her about what is needed to pursue the dream. But then-- and this is the important part -- sit back and let your dancer decide what to do. Truthfully -- if they lack the fire to pursue the dream at 12, it probably isn't going to suddenly develop later. And, for a girl, anything later willl probably be too late anyway, in terms of acquiring the necessary training.

 

Now for a slightly :shrug: moment. Lots of the questions and discussions and advice on this board come from parents of older dancers, who are at an advanced stage of training. Yet, we also have lots of parents of very young dancers, on their first journey into the ballet world. Sometimes, I think an ethos develops here that can be harmful to the younger dancers. If a thread on "Dancing while sick?" concludes that dancers should watch class, then mom-of-9-year-old might think that's the appropriate thing to do -- when, really, the posters were talking about 15-year-old on-track dancers. So, in order to avoid becoming that dreaded "Ballet Mom", use some judgment in interpreting and applying all the wonderful advice that is posted here.

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Guest Cristina

Treefrog,

 

You are very wise, and I thank you for pointing out the subtle differences in the way these discussions apply to different age groups. We are all struggling with the same issues, but they do take on different forms at the various levels and ages.

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dancemomCA
:shrug: Treefrog, in full agreement with your comment. Each stage has its own struggles and dealing with thoughts of becoming a dreaded ballet mom or dad affects us all for the entire dance journey.

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Treefrog

Here are a couple of related discussions from the archives that might be of interest:

 

Unsure re: pro for daughter

 

Being realistic? or quashing drive?

 

 

Moving On & Letting Go

 

Burn-out?

 

Pushy parents? (I don't know if the link to the cited article is still active, but the thread is worth reading anyway.)

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Treefrog

Sorry, don't mean to dominate this thread this morning, but doing that research made me realize -- it's SCARY how much talk there is recently about 10-12-year-olds going to SIs. A couple of years ago, the SI discussions were all from parents of 13-14-year-olds.

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dancemomCA

:shrug: Treefrog, since I am from Canada, I find the entire US audition process completely fascinating and sometimes surreal. Here we have only about four (one French in Montreal) major choices, with another choice being the Banff School of Fine Arts, for older students. Other than that, local studios offer their own day SI programs. I cannot believe the choices available to parents in the US or the lengths that parents will go to to drive or fly their children to auditions. I am amazed at the size of audition classes, the money involved, the decisions regarding videos, photos, the organisation required by all involved. And yes, the young ages is also scary... in a way, I am glad we don't have all the options, I don't know if I would have coped with it all!!!

 

My last word on this thread, I promise. :sweating:

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mom1
it's SCARY how much talk there is recently about 10-12-year-olds going to SIs

 

This is not an issue for us, in that we are not ready to allow our DD to go and she's not wanting to go... so no problem. However, a mother from our studio made an interesting comment.

 

He daughter is 13 and exceptionally talented. She was accepted to an fairly exclusive SI that advertises for ages 12+ and her daughter was only 10... 11 by summer. Daugher went and was not even placed in the lowest level. Two years later however (hind-sight is 20/20), mom said "I have no idea why we allowed that. Not that she didn't have fun. She did. But I really think she played and did not benefit from the experience at all. If I had that to do again, I would never have done it."

 

Interesting I thought.

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fendrock

This is chiming in with Treefrog about mothering a younger dancer...

 

I think that, when serious dance training begins (ages 8-10), we mothers frequently still identify very strongly with our children, especially if the child is the oldest. We haven't gotten that far in separating from them and letting them go their own way, so it is especially difficult to make the decisions about dance training (is the time, commute, etc. the right thing to do, and to what end?) without feeling as if one is overinvolved.

 

Of course, when I first started driving my daughter to ballet class three times a week, 35 minutes each way, I thought I could better understand those "ballet moms" -- with so much time and effort invested, it would be easy to be less than Zen about it and rather feel "this had better be worth it and have some pay off." :wink:

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mylildancer

Sorry, getting back into this thread a little late. Dd and I are home for brother's 18th birthday! so been away from the board a little.

 

Reading one of dancemomCA's post brought tears to my eyes, too. We've been told that dd would have to leave to go to a larger finishing school in the next few years. Thinking about it sometimes makes my stomach hurt. I figure things will go one of two ways: like dancemomCA's scenario or Treefrog's. Sometimes I want to just pack up dd and take her home but I know that she is not mine to keep. We'll just have to see where fortune falls. Thank you Treefrog for those links to other threads.

 

This is getting me down. I need one of those silly smilies! :wink:

There, much better!

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BW

Nice thread searching Treefrog! :wink: Also an excellent point about the differences in approaches to things depending on the age of the student involved... Now, what about the ages of the parents involved? B)B)

 

I applaud everyone who posted about the importance of allowing the decision making process to be in the hands of teen aged dance students - isn't this as it should be for anyone at this age? It's part of the maturation process. Needless to say, even the parents with the best of intentions sometimes forget that they have to give their children this freedom of choice so as to allow them to rise to the occasion.

 

Who said parenthood was easy? :sweating:

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Guest Chedva

My dd is also my only child, so it may be even harder to let go - I don't have to juggle kids, carpools and multiple activities - just multiple dance classes! While she doesn't intend to pursue ballet as a performance career, she does want to major in dance in college (she's in 9th grade now). I try to keep my "Stage Mom" stuff down to reminding her that if she doesn't practice at home or doesn't go to class, she won't make the programs she wants to audition for. Don't know how successful I am at that! DD can feel the pressure of being an "only" and how both her parents have their eyes only on her; sometimes she's wished for a sibling to take the focus off her!

 

Neither my husband nor I are dancers, but we're both musical - he's a classically trained pianist, percussionist and conductor, and I sing. When dd took piano, Dad was too closely involved with practice time, and she quit. She's said that she's glad she's taking dance because neither Daddy nor I can tell her what to do! :D:wink:

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l2daisygirl

I, too , am in the group billed as "non-dancer" mom, however, everything I know I have learned through diligent searching, and mostly through this message board. Thank you very much!!

 

My daughter got tight lipped during the 11-12 year old phase for some reason I think mainly because I would ask her questions in front of our car pool classmates and she felt uncomfortable talking in front of them. I started something that became a routine, (a very laughable one now), after I dropped off the last "rider". Instead of bugging her with 20 questions, I asked her 2.

 

1. Tell me one thing in class that didn't go so well, or one thing you can improve on from your class today. (What was the worst thing that happened, not in so many words!)

 

 

and...

 

2. Tell me one GOOD thing that happened in class. (always ending with the good!!)

 

This cut down on all the "Ah, Moms!!" and rolling of the eyes when the questions started firing, and game me the information I really needed to know instead of she and I both feeling like I was Mamma Rose!!!!!

 

 

Believe me, it took a few months of "I got corrections" as being the "good" thing before she really opened up and told me anything more, but I wasn't pushing and she wasn't feeling pushed.

 

Now, she tells me on her own, without asking, of her good and bad times, and while I still like to peek in once in a while, I don't really feel like I'm missing as much now that I know she feels comfortable with telling me what's up.

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Guest Chedva

l2daisygirl, what a great idea for opening communications! The questions are so much better than "How was class today?" I'm going to try it on our next ride home!

:wink:

 

Thank you so much!

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l2daisygirl

you're welcome. It's very funny now to see her grin when after not having had to ask for a number of months, I spout out "What was the best thing that happened to you today??!!!" Ha, Ha!

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goldfish17

That is a wonderfull thread!

 

I really injoy being at the DD studio and watch different ballet classes (studio has large observation windows). But after a while i realized that it is very hard not to get too involved... So i started to take ballet lessons myself (studio offers various adult classes). It is so much fun! When my class ends later then hers SHE is watching me and makes corrections and comments afterwords. :wink:

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