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vicarious

Encouraging Discipline

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Momof3darlings
She did a couple of drop in classes at another studio but most of her time was off. By the 4th day she was restless and moody.

 

Must be something about that 4th day! That was yesterday for us and as DD sat on the sofa studying for exams, she turned and said "I don't know how people do this!". When I asked what, "she said come home after school and study, I'm about to jump out of a window. Where can I find to dance over the holidays?"

 

 

17. Pay the bills and hang on for the ride.

 

Yep, that about sums it up! Just expect the ride to be a rollercoaster and all that means, lots of ups and downs and a thrill on moment and utter fear the next. But you'll go back until they won't let you.

 

vj

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mom1

Vicarious,

 

I accumulated such a different list from reading this thread ...

 

1. Support your child's dreams and follow their lead.

 

2. Motivation comes from within. It cannot be imposed on another.

 

3. Find a good studio and support the rules and expectations of that studio.

Watch carefully for resistance. If the child is reticent, consider a different activity.

 

4. Understand that most students dance for the joy of it and will not become

professionals.

 

5. Allow and expect your children to change their dreams along the way.

 

6. One does not pick a career in ballet, the career picks the dancer.

If that happens, don’t worry… they won’t starve.

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mylildancer

What if the next step of being the supportive mom is -- let them go..... My dd is determined to leave next year to a residency program. She wanted to leave this year but I wasn't sure if she was mature enough. Now she is auditioning for schools and is forging ahead. I find myself saying the same thing Treefrog did:

 

There's something I just don't get here.

 

*Jobs with ballet companies are in short supply

*Ballet jobs pay really badly

*Injury rate is high

*Career prospects are short and uncertain

*Performing arts are neither well funded nor well respected in this country

 

Why am I agreeing to this? Should I be agreeing to this? This is supposed to be the right thing to do for her but it hurts so damn much!! Has anybody been here? How did you get past this? I seem to be so teary eyed of late.

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syr

I spent a good part of a recent Christmas party chatting with a guy who makes his living as a folksinger (might actually be an even more competitive field than ballet, now that I think if it - to actually support oneself longterm --- more longevity, though, perhaps) , the usual meandering stuff about kids, thisn'that - naturally mentioned dancer daughter, and he related immediately to the path and sense of drive to go for it -- joked how in high school on career day her went right up to the table marked "folksingers." This was all on the theme of career paths that choose you.

 

There is a constant note that it seems all/most parents come back to in regards to kids who have really "gone for it," (whether to residency, or through opportunities within their home area) - and that is that they are simply "driven to it." The sense that it chooses them rather than vica verca.

 

Then, of course, once you get over the teary eyed mystical stuff, you keep a sharp eye out for whether it continues to more or less make sense, if they seem to be in the right place for them, make sure they keep up with academics so if there is a course change, they can recover ..... And be prepared for some bad patches, moments of doubt, reversals, etc. Or that they may at some time change their mind, as it is a life that is not for everyone (mentioned above and all over the place) as well as a very strenuous performing art.

 

My other oft-repeated adage, of course, is that it is much tougher on the hearts of the parents. Which is why it is great that we are all here.

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Momof3darlings

I cannot speak to leaving for residency programs since DD chose to stay home and take her chances. However in answer to your question:

 

Why am I agreeing to this? Should I be agreeing to this? This is supposed to be the right thing to do for her but it hurts so damn much!!

 

Armchair psychology would be my degree :sweating: , but......your "Why" is sometimes as simple as "we", meaning parents with teens now, are mostly from the age groups of lots of people whose parents pushed them to go to college and make "big money" for a better life. And many of us, look at the people we went to college with or within and see neither big money or this better life we all seeked (or a very empty "better" life with lots of money but not alot of passion). Many see friends and others in our group in jobs that are not their passion but their duty. And what we seek for our children is that they find their passion so at least if they move on to making "big money" they will be fulfilled that they lived their dream. Not be a part of this floundering group that hits their late 40's doing crazy things like trying to "find themselves" at the detriment to their own children and adult responsibility. Life is long after 18, it should be lived doing both what makes money and what is one's passion. Otherwise the illumination starts to fade after a while and you start seeking that passion in other ways. Some ways good for you and others not so good. Either that or you transfer your passion to something wonderful, like your kids :)

 

Office closed! :D

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Victoria Leigh

vj, I think your "armchair psychology" is probably way better than most people would get from someone to whom they paid a lot of money! :(:)

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mylildancer

Last night I was tired and a bit emotional. Of course I'm letting her go, especially if she's accepted into her first choice school. Can you imagine what would be left of our relationship if I didn't? Yes, I will continue to be there to support her financially and emotionally but it will be by long distance. I will be waiting for her phone calls and waiting for holidays when she can come home all because I love her and she needs to dance. Sigh......

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tsavoie

I think that as our children get older, we have to allow them to make their life decisions. Unfortunately, it is what we have been preparing them for all these years..... My second son left for a residency program full of excitement this fall and its been hard not watching the growth he has made. However, it has been right for him, a good step up on his way to dancing, and he has matured a lot in many ways. Just look at it as a new stage in parenting. Sometimes very hard, but just as rewarding as those first smiles,steps and words were many years ago.

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Memo
Hmm...this gives me an idea for a new TV show: The Apprentice: Ballet Style.

 

When we are getting near a performance or examinations and injuries and illness seem to hit us along with school work, quitting, and various other conflicts, I often feel that I am the host of Dance Survivor. Who will be left standing to accept the curtain call! It always seems to come in waves.

 

BTW I am enjoying the discussion and reading with interests both Threads on this topic. Very stimulating.

I must say that having taught in the US and abroad I do find that the parents here are much more protective and lenient and I did have to adjust my teaching style when I began teaching in the US. What I thought was nice was often to my surprise considered harsh by many students and parents. I really am on the fence as to wether this is for the better or for the worse.

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Victoria Leigh

Memo, I think we all are on the fence sometimes with this, at least those of us who either grew up in a different time or experienced ballet in a different country. There are pros and cons both ways, but definitely some problems in terms of the discipline, work ethic and commitment here, both from the parents and the students. And sometimes it's very understandable in terms of the college situation and the time it takes away from dance to do all that has to be done for that. I think the bottom line is that we still manage to turn out very good dancers here. And perhaps some are even better because they have done it the hard way, and survived. They did not have government supported classes, and a residency program from age 10. Many did not have daily classes until they were in their upper teens. They had regular school, tons of homework, not much exposure to other arts, no music or dance history training, tons of pressure from school and family for other commitments, and parents who had to drive them for hours every day, and they still did it. So, that says a lot for what is possible. :( Maybe just makes it harder for us, as well as for them, but perhaps ultimately more rewarding? :(

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hannahbeth

I'm very serious about dance discipline. I studied to be a concert pianist and was an extremely disciplined child (self discipline). Normally my dd is equally self-disciplined about dance. Unfortunately, some of the girls in her class are not as disciplined and their parents aren't really very disciplined about following rules and such either. My dd will say things like, "well so and so doesn't _fill in the blank_." I always explain to her that the rules of the school are there for a reason and it is up to her to set a good example for others. The AD has started asking my daughter to warm up with the preprofessionals. Her class warms up in the dressing room. I was watching my little girl yesterday during preperformance class keeping up (and doing it well) with all the teenaged girls. Some of the other girls from her class were saying to her, "We're lucky, we don't have to warmup with Mr. A." My dd asked me about this later - wanting to know if she was in trouble - was that why she had to warmup with the prepros. I explained that Mr. A picks out certain girls that he knows are serious about dancing and gives them the experience of taking class before performance with the big girls. Thing is, since he has been having her dance with the the older girls some, it is amazing how much she has improved. I told my dd that this is why it is important to always give 100% and follow all the rules, because you get more out of it when you do, and as a reward she is getting some extra instruction gratis!

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hannahbeth

I must say that having taught in the US and abroad I do find that the parents here are much more protective and lenient and I did have to adjust my teaching style when I began teaching in the US.

 

My piano teacher when I was a kid was Russian - oy! You talk about rough! One of my daughter's dance teachers is from another country and he is tougher on the girls, but I personally think it is good for the kids. My dd is used to it at least, since I have been teaching her piano since she was 3 and I am a real tyrant - lol.

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danceintheblood

My DD was very fortunate to be gifted with natural ability. From the age of eight she was very firm about the fact that she would be a dancer "not necessarily the best in the world, but the top 10 would be nice" lol!!

We spoke quite a bit about discipline (and still do). I told her that having talent, like having good looks, is very lovely, but it is a lucky accident. You haven't had to do anything to achieve these. I told her that to truly succeed in what you wanted you needed to have self-discipline and that this was something which couldn't be taught or imposed - it has to come from within.

My DD is now entering into a vocational program and the comments she was proudest of in her reports, were that she is 'an extremely hard worker'. She constantly sets personal goals, to balance for longer, to turn out further, to lift her leg higher, to control her priouettes perfectly and she absolutely glows when she achieves her next target. She is truly learning the art of self-discipline and to me, this inner discipline is the only one that will really carry a person to where they want to go.

Edited by danceintheblood

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Balletmom
Armchair psychology would be my degree  :( , but......your "Why" is sometimes as simple as "we", meaning parents with teens now, are mostly from the age groups of lots of people whose parents pushed them to go to college and make "big money" for a better life.  And many of us, look at the people we went to college with or within and see neither big money or this better life we all seeked (or a very empty "better" life with lots of money but not alot of passion).  Many see friends and others in our group in jobs that are not their passion but their duty.  And what we seek for our children is that they find their passion so at least if they move on to making "big money" they will be fulfilled that they lived their dream.  Not be a part of this floundering group that hits their late 40's doing crazy things like trying to "find themselves" at the detriment to their own children and adult responsibility.  Life is long after 18, it should be lived doing both what makes money and what is one's passion.  Otherwise the illumination starts to fade after a while and you start seeking that passion in other ways.  Some ways good for you and others not so good.

 

momfo3darlings, great post that really speaks to those of us experiencing (or who have significant others experiencing) exactly what you have described. What is sad is that there are some going through this midlife "self-examination" who still can't make the connection to their teen's situation.

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TutuMaker

My only addition would be to sit down and have a parent to dk heart to heart. Ask a lot of questions, let the kid lead the way. Start with what dk's view of a professional dancers life is like, and how does dk think the professional got to be a professional. What behaviors allowed the dancer to reach that level. Does dk see themselves as having that kind of dedication? Why? Also point out that "actions speak louder than words."

 

The dk's I see skipping class just don't have the obsesive drive to dance. They find fun elsewhere. Rebellious or not. I do not think that is a bad thing! The dk's who never miss a class and dance through blisters, corns, colds etc. find their "fun" in class. They always wear the proper attire, and their hair is always neat. All without needing to be told! They are always self-motivated, and are at the studio to dance; socialization is not a motivating factor.

 

My comments are mean't only for the 15+ year old dancers. I do not know what age, specifically, others were discussing.

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