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alaseconde

DD Quitting Ballet After Dream Opportunity?

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alaseconde

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Edited by alaseconde

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dancemaven

Sometimes just because one is good at something doesn’t mean it will ‘feed their soul’.  If her heart is not in it, don’t force the ‘dream’ on her.   She’s 13 now and in middle school.  That’s a time when the kids start realizing there is more to life to explore, school opportunities open up, school clubs, social opportunity expand.  With that type of natural talent, she could take a break and then come back to it IF she decides she does want it—on her terms and not everyone else’s.

That was quite a whirlwind rise to early ‘stardom’.  Maybe she enjoyed it, maybe she didn’t.  But, I certainly would follow her lead here and give her some space to decide for herself whether she wants to go down this path or whether her heart and soul lie in another direction.  She currently has obligations.  It’s life lessons to fullfill those and not walk out when others are depending on you.   As for the SIs, that is something else.  Perhaps the AirBnbs can be cancelled, but you may lose tuitions.  She may just have to go through with the SIs and reassess come Fall whether she wants a break or to continue in dance.  Sometimes all it takes it giving them the option to walk away for them to discern whether that is really what they want.  Sometimes it is; sometimes it isn’t.

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alaseconde

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Eligus

Alaseconde,

cyber hugs to you.  13 is a very tricky age.  I had to respond to you because the "weird" feeling you have of her asking to take control and "make her do things" is what I experienced as well in various and confusing "phases" (I.e. not all the time) with my DD through about the age of 15.  I am NOT a "mellow" mom, so I was all too ready to step in and control, when I most likely should have taken a step back and allowed her to experience the decision consequences of her "non decisions" earlier.  But, I am here to tell you that it all eventually does work out and there are many and good and varied ways of parenting.

It sounds to me as if you are embarking on the "teen" years in parenting.  I would recommend you reading a book (if you haven't already) called Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour.  I found it very helpful for my 3 DDs and have recommended it to other friends who have also enjoyed the book.  A quick synopsis (from Amazon) : "Lisa Damour, Ph.D., director of the internationally renowned Laurel School’s Center for Research on Girls, pulls back the curtain on the teenage years and shows why your daughter’s erratic and confusing behavior is actually healthy, necessary, and natural. Untangled explains what’s going on, prepares parents for what’s to come...." 

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Victoria Leigh

Alaseconde,  has she said WHY she does not want to go, and what she wants to do instead?  

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ballet1310

13 is a hard age in ballet ... unless they love it, a lot of girls drop out or take on other forms of dance. Maybe your dd is just a case of too fast too soon.  There was a point where my dd was thinking if quiting , for various reasons, and I said - “just do the summer and try to enjoy the experience, after that, if you still want to quit that’s fine but see how summer goes” needless to say , that summer was great and she found her joy of ballet again ... she was 15 at the time 

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alaseconde

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logollady

I am sorry you are experiencing such a sudden turn of events - as I am sure it was exciting to see a natural talent in bloom, and disheartening to have her change her mind when she has such promise. <<<Cyber Hugs to you>>> Perhaps a good heart to heart would help, flush out what her concerns are, and maybe her fears (if she has them)? 

13 is such a challenging time because hormones dictate so much of what they think or feel and it isn't always rational (in fact, is rarely rational from my experience lol, but I know each child matures at their own rate). What she may feel today, could change tomorrow. Having said that, I will share how our family handles these types of situations. We are of the mindset that it is important to hold our daughter to her word to help her develop a trustworthy, honorable character (Teaching her to follow through). We try not to allow her feelings to "rule the roost", but rather we try to have family conversations and then make family decisions, allowing her to experience the complexity of the decision whether it is good or bad (we feel she can learn a lot from bad decisions). We talk, check, double check and then if she says she wants to do something, we hold her to it - even if she becomes uncomfortable in doing it. We believe this develops character and doesn't give her the sense that her feelings (especially as a young teen) can dictate our family/choices. So, I guess if it were me, I would let her know I totally understand her concerns, but that we have made a decision and that we are going to stick with that decision - and have an adventurous summer! Maybe if you share with her that there are no expectations and you will check in with her at the end of the summer to see how she feels, she will feel some kind of control in that her feedback is sought and valued - and you can all have a good family discussion in August? :) Hope that helps!  

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Victoria Leigh

Have you thought about changing her school for next year? If she does the summer and knew she would come back to a totally different atmosphere in the fall, could that make a difference?  The idea of her watching Netflix all summer is really not, IMO, acceptable, especially after the kind of money you have put out. All the things everyone has said about 13 year olds are valid, however, they are also constantly changing! She could change her mind by next week or next month, so I would not give up on her. It also sounds to me like she got pushed too far too fast, and it's scaring her. 

As I was typing logollady's post came in. I think we are on the same page!

 

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alaseconde

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Noodles

I have been reading along here and once you explained the scenario at her school it seems pretty clear...easier to stop ballet and have friends than to continue without.

As everyone has said the early teens are hard and girls can be especially mean. I am so sorry that your girl is experiencing this and I have to say it is not all that surprising, given her easy success so far in ballet. As logollady stated, we also enforce follow through. Once you commit you are stuck. Usually I have found that when kids have committed to something that they are excited by, even if they get cold feet, it usually all works out in a positive way.

But the bigger issue really is that perhaps you need to search for a new studio. You have said that your DD is frustrated with the level of dancing by her current classmates and I think that is a fairly common complaint of serious dancers, they start out in a group of recreational dancers and that can get frustrating. But there is patience and generosity to be learned in that setting as well. But if the girls are mean and excluding your DD then I think it is time to search for a new ballet school. I also believe that spending time at an SI where there are more focused dancers will also reignite her love of ballet. Good luck...raising teens can be tough!

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logollady

alaseconde - as the mother of a socialite who would rather be in a group of friends than be alone, I totally understand where your daughter is coming from. This is similar to the scenario where a genius is ostracized because of their advanced placement, so they pretend to be dumb so that they can have a group of friends who will accept them. What a challenging situation! The unfortunate thing about ballet (especially amongst girls) is that oftentimes at the youngest ages they have a hard time managing envy. I have learned that the older girls are a bit more balanced in this area, because they have seen some of even the most talented girls loose interest, change shape or not get chosen for things because of one reason or another... so they have a more realistic viewpoint of success. Maybe she is purposefully avoiding her natural talent because she wants to be part of a group? It is so hard to be alone as a teenage girl - so it makes total sense that she may just want deny her talent to avoid ostricization and expectations (self imposed or otherwise) she may or may not think she can fulfill. 

I once heard an interview with Gemma Bond, (corps at ABT) who never desired to get past corps because she enjoyed the camaraderie of working as a team/group. Being a soloist or principal can be lonely. I assure you, once she gets into a group of more talented kids, she will likely fit right in, and there will be less envy. The really good schools foster a sense of support and encouragement to those who get opportunities or have talent... because that is the holy grail. :) I would (even more so now than ever) encourage her to attend the high level training this summer, and she will likely find that she is inspired and encouraged by her peers, rather than pushed down and discouraged by them. Again, cyber hugs! <3

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dancemaven

Totally agree that Netflix binging is not a viable option or choice! 

It does sound that “too much too soon” could be a source of the problem, which feeds into fodder for middle school mean girl territory.  Many teachers would have taken a more prrotected, slow boil approach for a variety of reasons, including what your DD is experiencing.

But even with that slow protected approach, very naturally talented dancers can realize it still isn’t what feeds their soul.  I know one like that.  So very, very talented, who loved it, but at 14 walked away totally.  The only difference is that she could articulate her feelings and rationale.  She has other plans for herself.

I had an elite level athlete who had a love/hate relationship with her sport. I listened to her complaints and desires to quit until I couldn’t take it anymore and told her “fine! Quit if you want, but you have to tell your coach in person.”  She never brought it up again and continued with the sport through college.  She was one that often could not articulate her feelings or get “in-touch” with her inner thoughts until well into high school.  Prior to that, she simply could not explain or understand her motivations for many of her emotions.  Often, she couldn’t even name the source of those emotions or recognize what they really were. 

Perhaps your DD struggles with that.  From your description of her school situation, she probably feels very isolated.  That is no way to grow up. I would agree with Ms Leigh, perhaps a new school with a slower, more protected approach would serve her better. 

I have come to believe that we parents worry too much about time in terms of ballet training.  Your DD apparently has some very special natural talent. I would say that as long as she continues to get good solid foundational training, she will lose litttle if she pulls back some.  Her natural albilities will let her catch up quickly.  It is only time—we really do have lots of it.  If she takes a few years longer to begin dancing professionally (if she decides that’s what she does want), so what? She has time. 

 

 

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alaseconde

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learningdance

I think that you have gotten a lot of good advice here. . . I have a 16 year old in a pre pro and I guess i will add the following

1.  Everyone wants to quit everything at age 13. Often a phase.

2. If she is truly going to make it she will need to marry her natural facility and talent with incredible drive and work ethic.  It will need to be "worth it" to her.  IMO there is really no such thing as a progidy in ballet. . . . perhaps a person with a great body, turnout, and other physical factors but you have to work for it all. 

And honestly, (please don't misinterpret this), the interactions that your DD is having with pre pro school folks are not uncommon for many kids and dancers on this board.  I only say this to help with perspective. Many kids have been "plucked" from local schools by all the names that are being dropped here. 

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