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Teacher5

Daughter wants to quit dance after next year

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Teacher5

Long story short, after getting her pointe shoes and two months in, my daughter decided she needed more time for school, ( first year in middle school) and informed me she is quitting all of her dance classes. I don't think I have much choice here. She has had an injury and just seems completely burned out as other parents have stated was also their experience. I am sad as she is a good dancer, but the joy she once had just isn't there any more. Thanks for all your input.

Edited by Teacher5

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nynydancer

Teacher5, I commend you for following your daughter's lead. Let me tell you about an example playing out in our school with almost the same circumstances. A dancer roughly the same age, 2 months in with pointe shoes. This dancer chose another activity this summer instead of ballet and came back a bit behind her peers this fall. Mom is pushing this kid though with privates, and the need to catch up. This kid is acting up at the school though, and told my DD she is hoping to be kicked out of Nut because of her injury, which my DD suspects she is exaggerating. She missed rehearsal again this week (3rd week). Mom is very combative with the school. I think it's because she cannot let go. When you walk into this lady's house the first thing you see is a photographic collage of her child in various Nut roles. It's very sad. This IS how she sees her child.

 

In contrast, we had a FABULOUS dancer (again, roughly same age, but a year into her pointe shoes) suddenly quit this fall. She was amazing. Fabulous extensions, feet, body, technique. Her mom literally just returned from a "how to make tutus" convention so she could make a tutu for her daughter, then the girl quit. Mom understandably wanted to make sure this was coming from the right place, determined it was, and let her gal stop ballet to pursue other passions. The girl is happy and doing well, playing basketball. She's likely the most graceful player on the team. I just saw her mom as she was delivering one of her tutu creations to our school! I guess in retrospect we could kinda see it coming because the dancer just wasn't as keen to put in the work during the summer intensive and was at times more interested in doing musicly photo shoots outside.

 

So I think you are really awesome for letting your kid decide. Maybe she will come back, who knows? But she her ballet experience will help her in whatever she does! (((HUGS)))

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Teacher5

Well another update. To my shock she told me tonight that she will try ballet again at a different school with a teacher she took a few private and other classes with a year ago. The style is very different, Russian vs RAD but the teacher was very encouraging and loved her. I think there is just too much drama in her other school with cliques she wanted to get away from. Twelve is a complcated age. So never say never or take everything at face value.

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proud4her

DD actually trained under RAD for 7 years (from 8-15 yr) and switched to Vaganova last year. She found Vaganova to be much more "freeing" and fit her body better - for example she found the arm placement to be more "natural" for her. Hope your DD continues to like it and to get away from current drama.

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Teacher5

Well, she tried a class tonight at the other school to check for class placement and loved it. We will do some privates until Christmas for pointe experience but she came out happy, smiling and loving ballet again. Different kids and no drama. The Russian method also seems to suit her better than RAD and she loves the teacher. Fingers crossed that this will continue.

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Teacher5

Another update. My daughter is back loving ballet again and is making great progress in pointe and in technique in a very short time. We are doing two classes and a private for now, only in ballet. She has made friends and the teacher is warm and encouraging. Now we are looking for a non auditioning summer intensive which is something I never expected to happen again. She says she will audition next year for the more competitive programs. Twelve is a very complicated age and I don't think the children really understand the dynamics of why they feel disconnected in some situations. She would walk into a class at the other school and be basically ignored by the girls and in the new one, they were exchanging contacts with each other after the first lesson or two. I feel so guilty that I didn't listen or notice last fall. I just responded to the "ballet is boring and I hate it now".

Edited by Teacher5

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Victoria Leigh

Thank you for the update, Teacher5! Very happy to know that the change in schools made the difference. :)

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Teacher5

What a difference a year makes! My daughter is currently at a summer intensive away from home as an open student, and loves her classes, especially the ballet. ( Auditioning and the open kids are integrated) She has decided next year to take additional classes and go on the audition tours. The change in dance schools was huge for her and there is certainly no talk of quitting, only ramping up. I am still in a bit of shock. Thanks for all the advice. My gut feeling was right. So happy she is back doing something she loves with a renewed confidence. Tweens really are a collection of hormones and changes. She truly had no idea what was going on even though she thought she did. Glad I convinced her to give it another try although the several months away from dance probably was not a bad thing. 

Edited by Teacher5
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DanceDaddy

Kinda went through this with my DD, last spring. She said that she wanted to quit Ballet. This was after doing quite well on her ballet exams.

The reality is that she wanted to take Gymnastics. So we sent her to a camp and had her in 1 class. About a month in, she wanted to quit gymnastics.

We made her finish the semester. This weekend is her last class!  She loves her ballet and is a good little swimmer. 

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DanceMumNYC

I noticed a change in my DD10 over the past 2 years. We had many changes that year. I went back to work full-time and grad school. Dd left the dance studio she'd been dancing at for 4 years to go to a 3-letter school and focus on ballet. At the old school, she was so happy. She had friends there and the teachers/staff seemed to adore her since she "grew up" with them. They saw her go from toddler classes to the pre-professional ballet program. But, due to their schedule and for better ballet training, we decided to switch to this big name school. It's her 3rd year at the newer school. She says she likes it, her teachers and the kids are nice, etc... but something is up. She has been increasingly complaining about going to class.

She loves to perform---she gets excited for the end-of-year shows and I cannot even express how much she LOVES Nutcracker season. She's having a blast auditioning for summer programs, and already made up her mind as to where she wants to go, based on where she got accepted so far. She doesn't show this same enthusiam for class, and has even said "I hate [insert days of the week when she has class]." I noticed that she isn't as friendly with these kids...it just seems like a shy group, plus the atmosphere of the school in general is more serious. Plus dd has lost some skill, mostly her flexibility, since being here. Since then, she's said things like "I'm bad at dance." Parents reassured me & her that the school takes the "slow & steady" approach so not to worry, the skills will all come back and be cleaner. After reading this thread, I thought my dd may have some insecurities. She is very tall for her age, but when we came back to class after summer break, we saw that the other kids are "catching up." And one girl is even taller than she is!

Dd attended another 3-letter school for summer classes last year, and I actually thought of changing schools again because this school seemed to have better training. In just 2 months, dd's technique improved and she gained some of her flexibility back. I felt that her age group there was "ahead" compared to dd's school/level. She didn't take summer classes at her own school, but I found out from parents that the school didn't accept any of their students in her level anyway. They chose outsiders with better technique, more flexibility, etc. I decided not to make a rash decision at the end of the summer, and signed dd back up for her own "slow & steady" school. She began complaining about classes even more this year than last year. But in Dec., she participated in the Nut affiliated with the summer school (her school doesn't offer one). She was smiling and chatting with the other girls again. I originally thought dd was overwhelmed, overscheduled, and burnt out, but she seems happiest during our busiest seasons (Nutcracker, for example.). She says she wants to definintely  do it again next year. This thread made me wonder if it's the school she's at year-round...Can the "slow & steady" approach make ballet seem boring to students?

I had many conversations with dd to try to get to the bottom of the change in her behavior. I know one major issue is the travel time (up to 3 hours). Last year, she said she likes dance but hates the commute. We started taking car service, but she stopped complaining about traveling just to complain about something else. Now it's the lack of free time. Her classmates (in academic school) all have cell phones, which I refuse to get her because I think they're too young to have phones in 4th grade. The girls seem to be texting, chatting, and even on social media together after school. The next day, they talk about it and I'm sure dd feels left out. She keeps saying it's not fair they get phones and she doesn't, and it's not fair she has to go to dance when they get to stay home and play/talk all day. Now I don't know if it's just a phase because she is comparing herself to classmates/non-dancers who make dance seem "uncool."

How can I pinpoint what the problem is, where it's coming from, and fix it? Any thoughts or adivce for our situation?!

 

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DanceDaddy

Is the 3-letter summer school closer? So if you did switch, then she would have more free time.  

Hence, she would get what she wants and needs.

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DanceMumNYC

It's actually further out. It'll take us another 20 mins. each way. And it'll be the same 3-4 days of classes per week. But her behavior is more positive when there & around the staff/students. That's why I suspect that traveling isn't the real issue,  or at least not anymore with car service. I honestly don't know what the true problem is: me being at home less, leaving her first studio, losing her skill & having self-doubt, or peer pressure...:unsure:

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cchow

I would not continue at your dd’s current ballet school based on what you describe - it sounds like a considerable time spent on traveling, not to mention the expense of car service - for an extracurricular activity that she is complaining about having to attend.  Is going back to her previous school an option?  Switching to the summer school sounds like it will come with a rather long commute - up to 4 hours (?)

I’m not sure this is something you have to “fix” - as kids get older, their interests may change, and some quit or cut back on their dance hours for social reasons.  If she is going to stay with ballet for the long term, it will take a lot more than enjoying performance activities and Nutcracker season to make it worth the long commutes and things she will inevitably have to give up (social media time after school, etc).

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DanceMumNYC

Before I pay for anything for my dd, including ballet, I make sure she wants to do it. She said she wanted to continue last summer, so another year of dance was paid (in full due to school’s policies). Therefore, she knows she has to finish this year despite what’ll happen next. She was so excited for class today, but there are also many days the way I described above. I never know how she’ll feel on any given day.

Switching back to the old studio isn’t an option for several reasons. Their class times no long work for us, and she’s outgrown their ballet training. Besides, that school is only 5-10 mins. closer than the current school. My concern isn’t the traveling because that’s typically how long it takes us to get into the city regardless of where we’re going. As previously mentioned, dd has also stopped complaining about the commute with car service. They’re pricey, but it’s a nice convenience to have and I’m grateful we can afford it. Another thing is that dd has late classes this year. At the old studio it was the same travel time, but with earlier classes, we were getting home 30-60 mins. earlier. That made a big difference because now there’s a rush to eat, shower, & go straight to bed. 

I spoke to her about quitting and she said there’s “no way” she would quit. As I mentioned before, she already said she wants to do it again next year and she’s stoked about summer programs she’s gotten into. Plus she already knows that if she isn’t dancing, she’ll have to pick up another activity. I’ll reiterate that I think she’s too young for a phone for quite a few more years, so extracurricular activities or not, she won’t be engaging in social media anytime soon. A ten year old “social life” won’t be the alternative to taking fewer or no dance classes at all. 

I just can’t stand the complaining that sometimes comes along with it. Again, this is only at her current school and has not happened at the old studio or the summer school. The reason I said this needs to be “fixed” is because something about her has changed. I thought the problem could be a lack of adjusting to so many changes so fast, but it’s been 2 years now. Other parents also said it’s just a phase, hormones, etc. But this thread is beginning to make me rethink that the studio isn’t a good fit again (I first came to Ballet Talk because I considered her leaving this school last year). :nixweiss:

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cchow

It sounds like the school is not a great fit for your dd.  Is it particularly important to you or your dd that she attend a prestigious 3-letter school?  I personally think that it is not that critical for a 10-year old, and that some of these schools such as SFBS and SAB weed out so many students that by the upper levels,  there are hardly any students left that were at the school at age 10.

 

 

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