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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Parents of "Gifted Children"


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My son's school sent home some paperwork last night. I was sitting here reading it and got to the end and had to smile. It described just about every dancer I've ever taught. So I thought I'd share a portion.


Written by Linda Silverman, Ph.D. for the Gifted Development Center in Denver, Colorado:


"Gifted children are expensive and time-consuming. They usually need less sleep than you do, ask more questions than you can answer, want 100 percent of your attention 24 hours a day, have obsessive hobbies, are unstimulated by the school curriculum, react intensely to everything, endlessly long for a best friend who understands them completely, hold perfectionistic standards for themselves and you, want to know the meaning of life when other children only want to know how to tie their shoes, and keep their bedrooms in a condition you can never show company. But don't despair. Gifted children grow up even better with imperfect parents than with perfect ones."



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I remember one mom saying to me you're so lucky you have a gifted child. I laughed saying be careful what you wish for you just might get it. I thought the schools should offer classes for parents of gifted children so that we could learn to cope with the 8 million questions, the over analyzing of everything they do and sometime dozen different approaches they COULD take to any given situation. Learning to stand there with out the urge to shout just pick one is a life lesson that I carry into the work place every day. I have so much patience now compared to pre-child years.


Then the perfectionist child starts ballet where no matter how hard you try you are never perfect. :wallbash: Still haven't figured out how to answer the questions about why can I do something one day and not the next, it doesn't make any sense to me Mom.


Ds's fall back position to dance is to get a PhD in Applied Mathematics and is taking more classes this summer toward that end.


Trust me living in a house with a Math Professor, husband, and ds who has the same brain while they watch me clean the kitchen could drive anyone to drink. There's always a better way to do it then the way I'm doing it.

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That's the ironic thing about ballet: always striving for perfection, but knowing all too well that it can never be reached! I wonder if most professional dancer's are perfectionists? Do perfectionist gravitate towards dance, or does the method of training drive ballet students to become perfectionists?


This topic came at an interesting time, as my dd was recently tested for giftedness, and although she did well on the test, she did not score highly enough to enter the school district program. She displays ALL the traits described in the article. When she was 2 or 3, she would ask many questions about God, ethics, relationships, etc. It was a bit frightening, actually! She is also very messy, doesn't need much sleep, and likes to tell adults how they could improve the way they do things. :wallbash:

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Dr. Silverman is one of the most respected researchers in GATE education...especially in research pertaining to gifted girls.

As the mother of two GATE (Gifted & Talented Education) students (in totally different areas...) and as a teacher in the GATE magnet school in my district, I refer to her research constantly.

Unfortunately, gifted and talented children do not come with an instruction manual...and what works for your first one does not always work with your second one. :wallbash:

They are truly unique...each and every one...and they all have a certain passion that drives them!

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Funny reading this thread. DD almost a year ago began at a new pre pro ballet school.

Loves the strive for perfect placement.

Her perfection comes from my husband. She said to me one day "Daddy would be really good at ballet mom, he is always striving for perfection." I chuckle and say where would I fit in? "ummm modern dance probably." :wink: "nothing personal mom, just it would fit you better."

Funny she has taken a good dose of modern but still just loves ballet. Even has trouble not having ballet shoes on. :wallbash:

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As a member of a household with three perfectionists (each in our own unique way), perfectionism can also be crippling at times to the one striving for it, and frustrating when trying to meet (or live with) the perfectionistic expectations of another. Any sage advice?


Just call me "triply frustrated." :clapping:

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My ballet dancing daughter did not test out "gifted" either yet she was allowed to travel through school and graduate from a GATE program. The perfectionistic qualities are what got her through, studying hard to keep up with her peers. My son on the other hand tested gifted but did not fit in anywhere. He will not conform to the so called gifted program where he belongs and has dropped down to a more normal setting. Not being one who likes to read or study has been a drawback for him. If everything were hands on and verbal he would excel. The kid just dances (swims freely) to a different drummer. His vocabulary and thought process is amazing. All through school he has had a hard time fitting in with his peers, many of his close friends are college students and adults. I'm anxiously waiting for the day everything all comes together for him. My daughter too can not let loose, step out of the box to do modern or contemporary. In college her best subjects are those of more concrete matter. Philosophy is sending her for a loop. Give her math or science any day.

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All I can say on this topic is that I'm glad I'm not alone. I guess it's a good thing for my daughter that I'm so imperfect (and believe me, at 13 she points out each and every imperfection). :clapping:

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As a member of a household with three perfectionists (each in our own unique way), perfectionism can also be crippling at times to the one striving for it, and frustrating when trying to meet (or live with) the perfectionistic expectations of another.  Any sage advice?


Just call me "triply frustrated." :wacko:

Balletmom, I share your pain! I think that perfectionist streak is what causes the most frustration. Both daughter & son since infancy have been prone to tantrums when they are unable to do what they think they should be able to do. Dd was brought to tears at the thought that she might not make the principal's honor roll (95 avg or better). And son, who is very bright also but has attention problems which have kept him out of the gifted program, pouts every time he finds a B on his report card. It's the same thing if she has trouble with a certain combination in dance or he can't defeat a certain villain in a video game. And don't get me started on me & hubby! :rolleyes: I guess all I can tell you is to remember that no one is perfect, and that the world is unlikely to fall apart just because X wasn't done the way we thought it should be done. (I should probably try to remember this myself!) :P

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ToThePointe, thank you for sharing this article. Everything in the article describes my daughter. You mean she could have been called "gifted" instead of some other labels that have been placed on her through the school system? What an epiphany! Thank goodness I'm the right parent, because I am definitely imperfect! :P

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Got the good old call from the teacher yesterday. My son broke the rule about having water in class. He then gave the teacher 1,000 reasons why he should have his water and the teacher just started yelling at him. Water is allowed in most classes at this school. He had a game in the afternoon so his coach has been telling the team to stay hydrated. In the phone conversation before my son came home from school I got the gist that this teacher was not going to budge. He then went on to tell me about a student he had previously that dropped down from the gifted class and failed. Also he made reference to how my son will fail in the work place if he can't follow the rules. I'm getting the feeling that this will not be a good situation in this class for my son. This is the kids who gets to school at 6AM for weight training, goes to school all day and does a three hour water polo or swim practice practice and then volunteers two nights a week with Special Olympics Aquatics and still gets his homework done. Grade checks came in the mail and my son had all A's and a B with the grades missing from the two classes where he is having trouble. It seems that we always find out after the fact when it's too late to do anything so a call from the teacher was a good thing although he wouldn't discuss grades. Everything was going so smoothly this year that I thought that we finally found the right place for my son. He has one more year until he could test out of high school but then he wouldn't be able to play sports. Homeschool is also out of the question for this reason. All of this over one sip of water. I told my son that he must follow the rules in this classroom despite how he feels about it. If need be it's up to him to take it higher up and see the vice principal, I can no longer fight his battles. There are so many teachers out there who can creatively deal with kids like my son but all it takes is one who doesn't want to deal with it to ruin the whole year. I swear, this kid should be a lawyer or politician. :P

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tu2mama, I feel for you. :P Been there on the water "issue" in a private school dedicated to students in the performing arts.


Alas, some teachers are fall into that special subset within the human race, commonly called "pains in the neck". :rolleyes::speechless: Perhaps he can think of it as a "life lesson" or choose to fight it - either way, he'll learn something about that hard to pin down thing called "human nature". :wacko:

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He is right, gifted children do not do well in the workplace, but many of them end up owning or running it!


I once had a teacher ask me (after my son had lead a revolt in first grade for more homework and harder tests) if I knew what people called others who were demanding, exacting and tried to always sway others to their viewpoints. I told her they called them Leaders.

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