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LiterateGriffin

How did I end up with a dancer?

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LiterateGriffin

Hi. I'm new here. 

Two body-types run in my family: the "Scottish" genes and the "French" genes. Those with the genes from the Scottish side of the family are built like me: We are big. (When I was 5'7", xxx lb, I wore a size XYZ gown... and it was snug through the shoulders.)  The ones who take after the French side are shorter, smaller, and lean. 

My daugther lucked out, and got the "French" genes. From the time she was born, we called her our pixie. (She actually looks amazingly like the thin cousin, mentioned above.)

And from the time she was 3, she wanted to do ballet. 

We were isolated.... there was no place in our town to take her. 

In 2012, we moved to Jacksonville. Ballet schools everywhere....  but I know nothing of dance. After the first two hung up on my ("She's homeschooled? This isn't for her. ~click~") I kind of gave up.

Just after she turned 9, we found out about a place that did "Homeschool dance". I drove an hour to get her to class. She was dressed all wrong. (BLACK slippers, and her hair wasn't in a pinned bun). The waiting area was tiny and echoing, and I felt overwhelmed. But she loved it.

We came back the next week, and the instructor pulled me aside. He was... giddy. I guess with the French genes, she struck the lottery, because it seems she has the right sort of body for classical ballet. He was all excited about her turnout (I was so new, I didn't even know what that was!) He explained about only a tiny percentage of humans having the right genes to do classical ballet professionally, and that my daughter seems to be one of them. The WORK, of course, is up to her, but the genes are there.

After 2 "homeschool" lessons, he convinced me to enroll her. (Not hard -- she loved it.) It was wonderful.... BUT. 

It was a small studio, run by one man, who was being distracted by his newly-adopted infant. He was great.... but I felt like a lot of times he assumed I knew more things than I did. (This was confirmed, when he sent an email about a performance, and only gave the town it was in -- not the actual location. Everyone else knew where he meant! It didn't occur to him that he had to spell it out.)

I didn't know what was "normal" and what wasn't. Was it "normal" that we never saw our girls dance? (That's the biggie that sticks out, now.) And I didn't have the language. 

I joined a forum, where I introduced myself, told my story, and was immediately called a liar on every point. *sigh* They'd been "burned" in the past, by folks joining to cause drama, and so were reacting by taking it out on a newbie with an odd story. I left.

My daughter stayed with that studio for about a year and a half... until right after Nutcracker this past season. It was an hour (or more) away, and Nutcracker rehearsals nearly killed me. Since my daughter got SICK right after Nutcracker (nasty flu was going around) I had some down-time, and I looked at my options. I found a good-quality school very close-by. In the process, I aslo came across some of the schools I'd called years ago... and decided that we were better off not having gone there. 

Now, my daughter is in a well-known and respected ballet school. When she transferred, she got compliments on her training (which is WHY I drove an hour each way for so long!) and remarks about her "natural aptitude" (that genetic lottery I talked about earlier). It's 5-10 minutes from home, instead of an hour. 

I'm HERE because.... Well, I can't talk about dance with just anyone. Most people's eyes start to glaze if you do more than reference having to get to class (or having rehearsals). 

So while I don't have a question right now, I do hope to find a community here. Someplace where I can continue my education about dance, and discuss my daughter's journey through dance. 

That I'm doing all of this on the night of the last class of the year... is about typical for me! lol Just.... looking for a "home" for this stuff.

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GTLS Designs

Welcome LiterateGriffin, we are so happy you found us! I have moved this post to our Welcome Forum as it is a great introduction.

Ballet Talk for Dancers has plenty of parents who have had a similar journey with their young dancers - so if you are looking for a community, here it is! 

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Toitoi43

Welcome.  This board is wealth of information.  I couldn't have gotten through this journey of ballet without it!

 

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nynydancer

Welcome to your new home! :)

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LiterateGriffin

Shows how tired I was last night: Looked for a Welcome forum & didn't see it.

 

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Eligus

Welcome, and buckle up, LiberateGriffin!

I HATED the idea of ballet when my DD begged me when she was 6 yo to take lessons.  But I'm still here, 12 years later, and still learning.... although I also still struggle with the profession, honestly.  It can be heart-breaking and beautiful and awe-inspiring, all at once. 

The good thing about this forum is that you can educate yourself quietly, on the side, with no one having to be the wiser that you didn't know all the ins/outs of the ballet industry.  You may question the need for the information, but I'll advise you that it is worth it to spend the time here to educate yourself.  I find the more I know (and the more I realize I don't know), the more I can relate to my DD and enjoy her joys and commiserate with her sorrow. 

Like I said before.... I still struggle with ballet as my DD's choice of a profession, but I'm glad that she feels free to talk to me about the challenges she faces.  In addition, having a child in ballet has taught ME more about parenting than I ever expected.  Learning how to handle ballet issues has been invaluable training for me in general parenting, including learning about my own fear of failure or insecurities. 

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fun en face

Eligus, yes! This has been the best parenting forum I’ve come across. Not sure how I would have managed half of my challenges w DD’s choice of occupation without it!

 

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Eligus

fun en face --

Exactly.  I am often humbled by the other parents' patience and wisdom when I come here with what I thought was a "ballet" related problem, only to be gently guided into realizing that most of the time, it is my perspective or knowledge that needs to change.  :wub:

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LiterateGriffin

lol

So far, most of my education has come from:

  • A beautiful book I found at the library, that illustrated most of the dance moves -- I tried to use it to learn the terms, but it was all out of context -- alphabetical order -- so it was hard. The pencil-drawings were amazing, though!
  • Another library book I found aimed at young dancers
  • The Australian TV series "Dance Academy" (watched largely for the dancing and the terms)

Her new school follows a very formal ABT curriculum, so there are notebooks of terms SHE must learn, that means I get to peak.


Her end-of-year "open house" was Saturday. We had a parent-observation week, in I think March. What I saw then was a lot of behavior-problems. (ie: tending to be distracted and goofing off whenever she wasn't actually dancing.) So since then, we've been coaching her before class. "OK, so what are you going to do when Mr. B is talking?" (Answer: Standing and looking at him.) "What will you be doing when you're waiting for your turn?" (Answer: Standing up in line ready to go.) That kind of thing -- REMINDING her, each time. 

Well, at the showcase, she was focused, 100%, the whole time. Her technique looked good to me. And I could see her progress. (Last time, they were working on spotting for turns, and she would turn her body and THEN whip her head. I didn't say anything: Mr. B is the teacher, not me. But I saw it, and knew she needed to fix it. THIS time, her turns looked great.)

 

This showcase, and seeing her progress in just a couple months, has really made my heart sing for her. Having won the genetic lottery is not the same thing as having the focus and dedication that dancing -- and especially ballet -- demands, and I know that. I know that dancing = pain. I've heard the casual stories about performing on broken feet and smiling through the pain... I know that it's work and sweat and blood and tears, to make a career of it. My girl is so young, and so "flighty"sometimes, it's hard to know how serious she is about things, sometimes. And yet, she'll do just about anything to keep dancing.

I've sacrificed of myself for her so far... sometimes with very little to "show" for it, in terms of what I was able to see. (I'm not saying she didn't make progress, I'm saying I didn't have a lot of opportunities to observe her progress.)

After this weekend, I feel like it was all worth it. 

 

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Eligus

:D.  Come back and re-read that post when you're feeling discouraged and questioning her and your choices again.  It's very nice to be reminded of progress when you're in the middle of the weeds and feel as if you'll never get out....  Because despite the genetic lottery, those times will come down the pike too.  And -- personally -- I think they hit the parents harder than the kids. 

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Sunnygirl

In the Fall, for the past 10 years, when my daughter and I drive by one of those tiny road signs offering "free youth soccer," I say to her, "You ready to quit dance? I mean this soccer thing is FREE!" It's our little running joke....She always says no, I feel like it will be a sad day if she ever says yes. 

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LiterateGriffin

Eligus,

Yeah, you said it!

She has the genetic lottery and a real love for dance going for her. 

I know there's struggles ahead. I know there's heartbreak ahead. I know there's pain, and injury, and tears ahead. 

That's one of the reasons I need this site: I know full well the only way I'll get through it is in a community like this, with others who understand. 

Gah.... I hate taling about her dancing "in the real world", because I see how quickly they eyes start to glaze. People who don't know, can't understand, and -- frankly -- aren't that interested. I can talk about an upcoming performance, but not about the every day stuff.

So thanks, folks!

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