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Ballet Talk for Dancers
momtoemandel

Do your DSs have time for sports?

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momtoemandel

My son just informed us he was joining a sport. I am staring at the dance schedule for this year and wondering how this is going to work. He hasn't been able to do a team sport for 3 years due to ballet and theatre. We've been stretched pretty thin at times with just those two things. Any suggestions?

 

 

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Thyme

hi there. Well I guess what everyone who reads this will want to know is how old is your DS? This makes a big difference when it comes to splitting commitments. How long as he been dancing? Is he a recreational dancer or is he 'serious' in his goals? My experience is that the answer is 'It depends' on all of these things. I think most parents on this forum want their younger children to experience everything life has on offer but as they get older, the more serious ones give up almost all of their other interests (at least the ones that require time commitments). Others don't. We can try and fluff it up and hope for other options but our week has only 168 hours in it. :cool2:

 

I expect there will also be questions about which sport is he wanting to do? Is it suitable for cross training or is there not even that to hope for.

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dinkalina

Ditto on the depends. If he's serious and in demand for roles in your community the answer is no. If he dabbles and is not serious then sure, he can make time. Not knowing how old your son is, I always say high school is the great divider of dancers. It is a time where the serious dancer separates from the kid who wants to be "like everyone else". My kids never played sports but they were musicians and took lessons for years along with their dance schedule. There came a time for all of them as they moved up the levels, that something had to give. Teachers, no matter what they teach, are extremely narrow-minded when it comes to a child's divided time. While we never had a problem with our dance teacher when things conflicted, the music teachers loudly protested when it happened. They could not understand why the kids did not want to be solely focused on being a musician and even suggested to me that they cut back on the dance when I said no to competitions and the extra lessons required. I'm sorry, they can always be a musician, but they can't always dance. So the kids had to make a choice and they chose dance. I see other families struggling to make cheer/high school activities and dance work together. I think you have to step back and ask your son what his goals are and what he wants to do. Maybe he needs to dial back dance a little bit to allow him to experience a sport. Maybe he is at that cross-roads where he is re-evaluating what he really wants to do. Ballet is hard - its a whole lot of work for little positive return. Sports and high school activities are less work for more positive return. Factor school in there and you've got a recipe for burn-out. Best of luck to you as you work out your schedule!

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mln

My son kept up with sports through his freshman year in high school. It did cut into the fall dance schedule, to be sure, but even the strictest master teacher at our studio encouraged our A.D. to let our son make his own decision on his own time. Although we finally let go of school sports this year, my son still balances ballet and music. It's pretty hectic, but he is just a kid who can't live without either.

 

I happen to think that sports were beneficial to my son's dancing. They increased his core strength, upper body strength, and stamina. He gets attention now for his athleticism and partnering. And he's got musicality, to boot. So, I don't yet have any regrets--not yet, anyway--about encouraging him to balance his interests.

 

I used to think he was alone in liking both sports and ballet so much, but at the 3-letter s.i. he attended this summer, my son discovered several other ballet boys his age who are still playing sports competitively and many more who want to hit the basketball court or the soccer field in their free time. I think there are actually a lot of boys with crossover interests in ballet and sports, even if they can't pursue the sports seriously.

 

We have plenty of evidence that focused attention to ballet training during the teen years is a good formula for a boy's success. And that's great. I understand entirely why experienced teachers embrace this focus. It works. But I do find myself wondering if a boy who balanced sports and ballet through high school would really be out of the running in terms of a ballet career. So few boys attempt this balance that I don't expect to find much evidence of either success or failure, but I am going to keep an eye out.

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leaper

Our DS had the opportunity to perform regularly with the professional company (very small roles) and with the youth ballet. He enjoyed the performing so much that stopping soccer and baseball was not difficult for him.

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mln

Oh, momtoemandel, just an idea. If your son really wants to play sports but can't fit in a whole season, look for week-long or even weekend camps. You may not even have to wait until summer. Some universities offer winter and spring break sports camps geared to many different levels. We've done this recently with tennis and volleyball.

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Boydancermom

mln - I think you are onto something. I personally think that burn out occurs if a child or teen does only one activity ad naseum. There was recently an article about kids who play baseball all year round and how that's a recipe for burn out. I think that our kids are lucky in the dance world because there are so many genres that helps break it up a bit - but if our son had an interest in any other sports (he was a gymnast which is hard to do recreationally) I'd encourage it. After the book "Outliers" talked about the magic number of hours required it seems like the pendulum of popular opinion in sports has now moved to the other side, with multiple sports (e.g. like the women's soccer team members who all played multiple sports) being seen as the way to go.

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momtoemandel

Thank you all for your comments. When we sat down and looked at the schedule, he decided that he could not do both. Dance and theatre won for now. He's hoping for a certain role in Nutcracker this year, but they usually have a guest artist dance it.

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librarygirl

My DS played baseball in the summers, ran track in middle school, and although he no longer does sports, he is still in band in high school. The point where he finally had to make a choice was between drama at the high school level and the ballet studio.

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5uptown

My son is 13, he still does recreational (ie once a week) seasonal soccer. he was sad to drop baseball a few years ago, but the schedule was all over the place and the games were too long. Look for rec leagues or parks programs, we've found weekend options. He was pretty beat by the time Nutcracker rolled around with all the extra rehearsals and the soccer games, and decided not to do winter basketball. But I think if your kid likes sports, its fun for them and very healthy to have interests outside of dance. 

 

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