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dancindaughters

Need help to motivate dd

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Victoria Leigh

Another thought: Kids who have a lot of natural ability for ballet will most likely have a lot of ability for a lot of other things, both physical and intellectual. A strong, healthy, well-coordinated child should be quite good at most physical activities.

 

And yes, vj, I was good at those things, and several other things too! Of course they all ceased when I started more intensive ballet training with a Russian teacher! :wink: However, I think I could have been an ice skater, or, even more probably, a tennis player! :blink: (Don't think there is much future in baton twirling though! :) ) I was roller skating at a rink at 8 and they wanted me on the racing team. Fortunately, my Mom nixed that one!

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dancindaughters

Wow, so many replies. Thank-you.

 

After I posted last night, it did occur to me that it she is only eight, and it wouldn't hurt her a bit to take some time off, or just go twice a week. For those who asked, she does take ballet 4x/week. She wasn't being challenged in her age level, so they moved her to the next one, but insisted she also stay in her level. At the time, she was very enthusiastic and wanted to take more. She does take jazz and tap also.

 

Yes, Ms. Leigh, she is good at many things. When she was 6, she could hit softball after softball, and is also a natural at tennis. She cried this spring when we tried to register for softball and couldn't fit it into her schedule. She used to figure skate, and was so graceful. She was doing all her single jumps, but then said she didn't want to continue; I think she was annoyed that the coaches kept telling her not to turn out and not stand so straight! She is doing well in school, and she works so hard when she wants to, ie: yard work! It is frustrating to see her being lazy in ballet. She recently discovered she is very good at track - makes me worry to see someone so turned out running. Her idea of a fun activity is gymnastics, but I told her that is hard work as well! Maybe because things have always come so easy, she thinks there is something wrong when she does have to work hard.

 

Vagansmom, you are right about the comments putting too much pressure on her. Some children would be delighted to be told they have "a gift", but she takes it as further proof that dance is not her choice, but instead has been chosen for her.

 

I am not the type of mom to push them to pursue something they aren't interested in. I just want them to be happy. I think dd's comment about not dancing anymore was partly to see my response. Other times, she seems to enjoy it. I'm sure many parents here can relate to the way dd lights up on stage, the flushed and happy face after a challenging class, or the excitement to show me a new bit of choreography.

 

The year is nearly over, and a rest will do us good I'm sure. My concern now is if I should look for a more professional school for next year. I guess I will just wait and see what happens over the summer.

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BW

I'm sure 99.999% of us parents try to have the best intentions regarding our offspring and I think it's great that you're going to allow your daughter to back off. :)

 

It is frustrating to see her being lazy in ballet.
Perhaps the best thing would be not to watch? :wink:

 

My free advice is don't look for a more professional school for next year but instead take "five giant steps" back and let your younger daughter do her own thing in her own time. Have fun this summer, too! :blink:

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Redstorm

dancindaughters: I did not mean to imply that you were pushing your daughter. I meant no offense. :blushing:

My daughter, like yours, has had things come very easy to her. Looking back, we can see when she starts to get frustrated is when she has to really start applying herself to something. I can see why you are hesitant to let your dd quit. Kids who have things come very easy to them at an early age, school, sports or dance can be in for a tough time later on. Bodies change, more demands are made on them, levels are raised, and if they are suddenly faced with challenges they have never had to face before, it can be a rude awakening. I have seen many gifted and talented kids flit from one thing to another, never quite applying thenselves 100% to any one thing. They seem to be good at everything, but when you take a closer look, many of these kids quit what they were doing when the bar was raised and it became more difficult.

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Guest Annabel Lee

I probably shouldn't even be posting here since I'm not really a ballet parent anymore but I'd just like to add one thing to the conversation. I agree with everyone who suggested that if your daughter takes a break, she may decide to go back to dancing and there will be no harm done (my guess is she probably will). But, even if she doesn't, in my opinion, eight is not too young to let a chid make her own mistakes. I certainly understand the desire we parents have to protect our kids from hurt and regret and, especially, to protect them from themselves. But when it isn't a matter of physical or moral safety, I think it's best when we just bite our tongues and let them make their own decisions. The result may be a lot of parents with bloody tongues, but I think it makes for more contented offspring.

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Lily

Dancindaughters,

You have received some valuable advice already - I will just comment that I agree with those who say to relax and enjoy the summer with your dd. She is still so young and after having such an intense schedule, she might just need a short break. It does not mean she will not come back to ballet. Finding the right balance is hard, and the summer is the perfect time to try other activities and reflect on how much ballet should be included in her fall schedule.

 

When my dd was 8 she only took 2 classes per week. At 9 she added 2 additional classes. We schedule days that are off limits for activities - she can use them for friends/relaxing, or reading - whatever she wants - but no scheduled activities. We also have regular discussions before ballet registration times for the next term to be sure that she still wants to continue with her current commitment (age 11- ballet 5 days).

 

After a few relaxing weeks of summer, your dd will probably be counting the days until she can add some additional ballet classes!

Lily

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Balletmom

dancindaughters, I agree with your decision to let your daughter take a break and try other activities. :blushing: At 8, my daughter was taking once a week (45 minutes), and I balked when the teacher suggested a minimum of twice a week for the following year. (Those were the days!)

 

Something you mentioned in your first post--that you had studied ballet for many years yourself--made me think about something in my own childhood that may relate. My late mother was exceptional in one area, and as a child I was always being compared to her, actually favorably, but I always felt I could never measure up. As a result, I didn't try and adopted a "don't care" attitude about this aspect of myself, since I couldn't face what I felt sure would be failure. Vagansmom probably hit the nail on the head when she said that the comments from others may be placing too much pressure on your daughter. If your daughter should decide to return to ballet, try to keep it low-key, maybe even asking the teachers to not make those comments in front of or directly to your daughter. Trying to live up to other's expectations or trying to follow in someone's footsteps is a hard road to take, and it doesn't often intersect with the road to happiness. :)

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Hamorah

I do so agree with everything you wise ballet parents have written. Definitely a case of too much too soon.

 

I started dancing at 3 and a half and loved it immediately. Yet until I was about 12, I never took more than two classes and a half-hour private lesson a week. I spent my week looking forward to the next ballet day and nagged my parents like mad to take me away from regular school and send me to a full time dancing and educational school. By twelve I knew that this was what I wanted to do, my parents realised that I was ready to commit fully and agreed. Oh the joy of finally being able to dance every day !

 

I still dance and inspite of the aches and pains and limitations that advancing age has brought, I can't imagine my life without dancing. I am so lucky to have spent my days doing something so beautiful and special and yes, I still find it fun!

 

Give your daughter a break - she'll come back to dancing if that's what she's meant to do.

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LAF
Her idea of a fun activity is gymnastics, but I told her that is hard work as well!

Gymnastics was my daughter's idea of a more fun activity at 8 also! She had loved ballet from the age of 2 1/2 but a year in a very good, very serious ballet school made the jumping and flipping and constant movement of gymnastics quite appealing. After a military move, I allowed her to take only gymnastics since I didn't know the area well enough to find a good ballet school and the gymnastics coach assured me that ballet is always part of the gymnastics curriculum. The Russian coaches really emphasize ballet training.

She did spend a few years as a competitive gymnast and did well. People would comment on the grace and fluidity of her movements. Her best scores in meets were frequently from a judge who had a reputation as preferring a more elegant style of gymnastics.

At 11, she began taking some jazz on the side, and just before she turned 12, she realized that her real love was ballet and that she needed to be in a place that taught just ballet. Luckily, we now knew of a good ballet school.

Like yours, my daughter is also blessed with a lot of natural athletic ability. I admit I was sorry when she first chose gymnastics over ballet, and happy when she switched back to ballet, but honestly, my husband would prefer that she ran track! It took until seventh grade for even one boy to beat her in the mile. The H.S. track coach also wanted her to run but of course running and ballet don't mix.

I guess I just wanted to reiterate what you yourself and the other parents have said, which is that our children have to pour their energies into an activity they love and that little ones need to explore and try out lots of things to find out what it is they do love.

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dancelyssa

Sorry, teen here, but I picked up on something dancindaughter said. She said "her daughter's idea of a fun activity was gymnastics." Though it IS hard work also, maybe you should let her try cutting back to a 2 day/week dance schedule and sign her up for a recreational class in something else of her choosing, be it gymnastics or art classes or tennis or whatever. I had a friend who was a very talented gymnast, but this was when we were 9 years old. She was on the "fast track" to success and going many more hours than gymnasts her age normally do, like it seems your daughter is. She was getting burnt out, and her parents cut the gymnastics to 8 hours/week and insisted she try another activity. She signed up for ballet and for soccer both, and the next year it was "Mommy, I want to do ballet instead of gym." If you tried signing your daughter up for other classes of her choosing, maybe she'll find something else she likes and is good at, or she'll come back in a year or two and say that she loves ballet most.

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danceintheblood

I agree with the wise words that have come before me. This comment by Ms Leigh particularly struck a chord with me:

 

Another thought: Kids who have a lot of natural ability for ballet will most likely have a lot of ability for a lot of other things, both physical and intellectual. A strong, healthy, well-coordinated child should be quite good at most physical activities.

 

Our dd started ballet at five and by six we were being told she had a remarkable facility for ballet (we kept these comments which have continued over the years mainly to ourselves). Our dd was very physical and has shown ability in other areas. At eight, she really wanted to take up gymnastics and did so. By nine, she was doing two ballet classes and two gym classes each week - loved both and was good at both. When she was 10 I suggested that the time would probably soon come where she would need to select one of these as her main focus. I fully expected her to nominate gym (she loved tumbling, did well in competitions and got quick results) and was surprised when she stated firmly that she would stick with ballet as "with gym your career is over by the time you're 18 and with ballet your career is just beginning".

 

She quit gym (totally her own choice) at age 10. At the beginning of this year she dropped soccer (which she was very good at) as it conflicted with her new ballet schedule. She is now very dedicated and focussed on ballet (100% her choice) but can still shimmy up a tree, play soccer with the boys at lunchtime and has boundless energy. This term she also gave up music lessons (much to the disappointment of her music teacher as she also had ability in this area). Ballet is her 'true love' and she has enormous fun doing it.

 

Dd is now almost 12, but we still ensure that she has ballet free time, friends time, unstructured play time etc. This ballet journey is so intense, requires so much dedication at such a young age, the desire really has to come from the child.

 

Give your dd some time out - enrol her in a gym class and follow her lead. I would be surprised if she didn't want to return to ballet.

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syr

lots of good and interesting perspectives here. I remember how shocked I was when one of my daughter's pals down shifted her dance plans. There she was with THE body! AND had spent a happy summer on Cedar Island. But she went on to normal working/fun summers at home, had a great junior year abroad in high school ..... I went to her hs graduation party .... she was headed to the college of her choice in the fall, and I couldn't help thinking - "gosh, normal doesn't seem to be such a bad track to be on after all!"

 

Whatever is meant to be, shall. :thumbsup:

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Memo

2 ballet classes per week is fine for any talented 8 year old. I also agree with physically talented people seem to be good at many things. I remember taking my DK to the ice rink for the first time. Within minutes after grabbing the wall and not being able to stand up dk was flying across the ice! All the other preschoolers were taking baby steps with the little ice "walkers" and mine was doing what looked like speed skating back and forth faster than I could count to 20. The people running the "ice fun" party at the rink desended on me and suggested I begin dk in lessons immediately.

My response was that the last thing I would like to do would be to spend my free time sitting in a freezing ice rink and while I still had a say in what my kid was going to do for fun I would like to politely decline their offers of lessons.

We then continued going to basketball for several years (as well as recreational dance classes) and I thought that was what high school was going to be all about. At 10 dk announced that he was going to quit basketball to spend more time at the dance studio. We have never looked back it has been ballet all the way since then. Honestly I would have been happy with whatever interest was chosen, having a passion for something is great for a young person and I probably would have sat at the ice rink if that had been what dk really wanted.

 

I on the other hand am the exception to the phsically multi talented rule, I tell my students that I am the only person I know who can get injured watching a sport! Ballet, piano, vocal, and acting were always my interests and sports were and time of humiliation for 45 minutes per day in PE at school! :thumbsup:

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supportivemom

Recently I had a fellow parent ask me how/when I knew that my daughter was serious about ballet, and I realized that I could cite many examples of her willingness to endure situations and forego things that many of us (including me) would think could not possibly be worth enduring or giving up. I don’t think that ballet for her is a choice; it is something that she must do.

 

When children are young, you may or may not stumble across a “passion”, and it is easy to try to move them along in one area if they are talented. We’ve been there and done that with my DD and swimming. We knew it had backfired when she started hiding the car keys so she wouldn’t have to go to practice! :wink: She was initially afraid to disappoint us. Thank goodness we figured it out, or she might really hate swimming, and she still enjoys competing in the summers before her summer intensives.

 

If it’s meant to be, the love for dance will still be there after a summer off, and believe me, she will let you know. I feel like we are just barely hanging on to a “runaway train” sometimes. I only hope she is fortunate enough to find a lifelong outlet for it.

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vicarious

In some ways I disagree with some of whats been said. I agree that that seems like too many classes per week. I also agree that letting her take it easier for the next couple of years. However, if at 10 she's loving ballet, want's to get serious is begging ect. Let her go with it but when her "laziness" starts to appear, help her to stay committed. Learning committed is also and important lesson. There are plenty of people that are "jacks of all all trades and master at none". My dd has had interest laps for various reasons at different times in her training. Admittedly she's only 12.5yrs (and teen years are coming soon), but after a challanging class, a great performance, watching a great performances, she very fequently expresses her appreciation for my "pushing" when she couldn't. It really comes down to whether she driven to dance. For now though I agree with give her some space, figuratively and literally. Make sure she has plenty of music and floor space to dance when the mood strikes her.

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