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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Share your story - from preteen to teen, how much of dance decisions are yours vs your dancer’s?

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Today my 10.5 year old rather mature daughter announced at pick up:

1. She will try doing the barre work for the first hour or hour and a half in the intermediate level intensive which follows the three hour intensive she is enrolled for.

Her intensive is geared for students who completed 3-4 years of ballet. She is moving up to the next level in the fall and is at the top of her class.  Her mandatory choreography for ballet trainee starts three hours prior to her intensive and overlaps by an hour, so that she has to miss an hour of something.  Two days this week, the next level intensive starts with barre.

Total of 5 hours today would have changed to 6.5 hours straight without time to really eat or rest, so she decided not to try for barre today. However, she simultaneously announced that she would try it tomorrow.

Fortunately, tomorrow choreo was changed to be only an hour, so she will be able to eat lunch in leisurely fashion and have energy for intermediate barre. She did not know about the lessened hours when she said it, though.

2. She feels like she’s becoming a teen because she feels more short tempered. 😂

I have in the last few years strongly encouraged her to challenge herself with higher grade level classes in dance, but I found she stressed out about not being able to come up to speed as quickly in split level classes where she was not in the upper level. She’s easily a top performer all around, academically and otherwise.  Challenge is unexpected sometimes when you are used to things coming easy.  However, come to the end of the year and she somehow caught up in all areas she initially struggled with.  She managed to catch up the first three years of jazz and a lyrical 3rd /4th year split class just like that.  She’s amazing to me, how well she usually learns, listens well, and just gets things.

My dancer is a focused and deliberate girl.  She can also be over sensitive and doesn’t deal with failure well, or being wrong.

She started directing decisions last fall, when I pushed her to start jazz for the first time, so she could try lyrical. The year prior she was hesitant about adding ballet classes, and even then was agreeing only reluctantly to do what I recommended. 

Last fall, she definitively put her foot down. She insisted on controlling her dance schedule.  I still had to push, but I followed logic and fair discussion and she and I adjusted classes until it worked out, and we have since abided by this unwritten  agreement.

Of course every child is different, but I enjoy reading other parents’ stories. Sometimes the drive and commitment their dancer developed seemed correlated with their love for dance, and sometimes it showed outside of dance as well, before they even started dancing.

She doesn’t want to be a professional dancer, she is just enjoying challenging herself. But while she can choose ultimately what she wants to do, I still have to work hard to persuade her to consider her reasoning and try things that seem hard at first. She seems to meet the challenges head on more than not, now. 

I’m so proud of her. 

I would love to hear your stories about your child’s dance journey and becoming a teen. 

Edited by lyricalp

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My daughter just enjoys dancing and putting on a show.

Quick story...

In the fall, she had briefly mentioned about adding a Cecchetti class. At first, I was resistant to it. It was her 5th class and I was concerned about who was teaching. My wife made the point that if she started in Jan, that she could exam in June and be done in half a year. Further, the teacher (who usually teaches) the next level is EXCELLENT! She took it, worked hard, and we should get results soon.

So it was something she wanted, it benefitted her.

Sure, I see her making more decisions. But, there are still times when she just needs guidance. I think we all go through that.

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I'm new here; Hello, everyone! 

My daughter is also 10, and has her sights set on a professional career. Her short-term/long-term goal-setting has always been driven by her, but she needs guidance from teachers (and parents!) to assess what the path should look like. There's lots of time, but we're not keen to waste energy (or money) on things that don't serve the goal if resources could be better spent elsewhere. That framework is helpful in deciding what's a nice offer, and what's an important step.

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