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Ballet Talk for Dancers

new school anxiety


motherof5

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Dd is in her 3rd week at her new school, and she's having a difficult time adjusting. She started her training almost 2 years ago in a school that we thought to be a very good school. As time went on, we started questioning whether or not this was the best place for her. She took a trial class at another school that we new to have an exellent reputation. My husband and I were allowed to watch, and we were amazed at the intensity and professional attitude of the training! Watching this class confirmed for us that we needed to move her quickly. So, she started the summer program, 2 classes a week in the Elementary 2 level. Her teacher is giving her lots of corrections, trying to undo some incorrect technique that was left unattended. For example, when she does a tendu, she was curling her toes under. And, she was told to lock her knees back in her hyper-extension. This was never corrected at her old school. At this school, it's much more fast paced, the kids have to pay attention 100% of the time, or they'll miss something.

 

Dd keeps saying "things are so different at this school". She's used to a more relaxed class, more "fun", I guess. She's having a difficult time getting used to the intensity of the teacher, as well. "Yelling", as dd calls it. She asked me "when someone is yelling, doesn't that mean they're mad at you?". I always pass on to her any compliments from her teacher to reassure her that she's doing well, and her teacher cares about her.

 

Dd keeps talking about going back to her old school in the fall. I finally had to tell her that she can't go back. I'm not sure how long it will take her to adjust to a much more disciplined atmosphere.

 

She's finally starting to get to know some of the girls. They are a very friendly group! I've been sitting in the lobby while she's in class, so I can get a "feel" for the atmosphere, and I am so pleased with this school. The co-director is kind of like a mom to these kids. She really cares about them. There is always conversation about helping the graduates find jobs. She has a lawyer look over the contracts, she calls these companies making sure her graduates get the benefits they deserve. I'm very impressed, and pleased, with the nurturing atmosphere of the school, and friendliness of the teachers, students, and parents.

 

So, I don't know how long to give dd to adjust. Is this normal to have such a difficult time? She'll be 11 in September. The teacher wants to be able to move her up to Intermediate 1 with the rest of the class in the fall. We're told she's doing very well, and responds to corrections very well. Most of all, her teacher passed on to the co-director, who told me, that she thinks dd is a very nice, friendly girl, who is always polite and respectful.

 

We are hoping she'll be able to tell that she's progressing and receiving good training, and that she'll begin to enjoy her classes. But what if she doesn't?

 

I should also add that she wants to be a ballet teacher some day. So she needs good training!

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My daughter changed schools when she was the same age your daughter is now.

 

It did take some time for her to adjust. In our case, my daughter was reluctant to get into the car -- we were always running late!

 

I think she missed her friends and the routine of her old school. Once she adjusted to the (somewhat) different approach and made friends, she was fine.

 

I'd say this probably took at least three months, maybe longer.

 

Now, two years later, we are very happy with the school. She's made good progress, and I'm glad we made the change.

 

It's good that you have the chance to make the switch in the summertime, when there isn't the added complication of dealing with school adjustments.

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Momof3darlings

I remembered my own DD's change of schools. It takes a while even under the best of circumstances. Things being different doesn't have to be a bad thing but it is easy for a new student to feel lost, like they have no real friends, like the teacher may have a different tone (if you are confident that it is tone and not pure yelling). All take a while to adjust to.

 

I would be careful on "not allowing" her the option of returning to her home school. Just meaning that I would allow her that option later, just not now. Although it does sound YOU have made the right parenting choice, it is the child who is dancing and has to be happy doing so. When we were faced with some unhappiness after out move, we set a date in the future that we would return "home" if she was still not comfortable and loving the new environment. I made sure she knew that if she wanted to return home after that she could but also discussed the problems with the home studio that would limit her. Friendships formed, she saw her own improvements and laughed in my face when that "future" date came and I asked if she wanted to go back home. It just took time to settle in.

vj

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Thank you for the encouragement. I guess 3 weeks really isn't enough time to make such a major adjustment!

 

Last night after class, she seemed a little more relaxed. I think she's starting to get used to how things are done. Hopefully by the end of the summer session, she'll look forward to starting in the fall.

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Guest fille'smom

My 15 year old daughter has had to become the queen of adjustment. Unfortunately we have moved several times over the last 5 years which meant that she changed studios 4 times. Each adjustment took quite a bit longer than 3 weeks. I would say it took at least 3 months to get a feel for the studio and 6 months to feel comfortable. (DD is on the quiet side so adjustment time may have been a little longer) She just left for a residency program which requires another adjustment but hopefully will provide some consistency in the long run. I would give your daughter quite a while to get adjusted. Give her time to want to stay at the new studio. I wouldn't talk too much about long term with a 10 year old. Another thing to remember down the road is that the love of ballet has to come from the dancer. Forcing her to stay at a studio that she doesn't enjoy may end the desire to take ballet class.

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I think we'll at least sign up for the first trimester. This is such a difficult decision! I don't know of anywhere else within acceptable driving distance where she can get this level of training. It may take her several months to get used to things here because she was so close to her previous teacher and a couple of the girls.

 

You are so right, fille's mom. I don't want anything to take that incredible passion and love for dance.

 

I'll keep you all posted.

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Hang in there motherof5. I can only imagine how things are going, but maybe your daughter will find herself at home by the time this program is over.

 

So many children and young dancers become incredibly attached to their teachers and it can be very hard, especially when they're as young as this daughter of yours, to have any kind of long view. If you can, try not to worry. See how things play out over the summer, you might be surprised. Here's hoping for the best! :)

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