syr Posted October 30, 2004 Report Share Posted October 30, 2004 Greetings ….the thread about voicing opinions, and about those who now participate less than we previously did, has led me to offer this leisurely musing. My daughter is now 19. My own journey as a ballet parent could be characterized in broad brush form as this – I knew nothing; I knew a LOT; I know very little. (sing it now: “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”) Now then, I am only talking about my own journey. I know there are parents on these boards who either were, or became, very educated members of the audience and very informed parents, as well as a few who were or are dancers themselves, and already had a well of knowledge and experience to draw from. Some of you have made a true study, and developed a passion, and while I respect this, ballet is not my passion, other than that I love being in audience for many kinds of performing arts, including dance, and that it is a passion of one of my children, and her hoped-for livelihood. As my daughter approached those earlier teen years and started chafing for more, and higher and AWAY – that is when I became somewhat similarly driven to learn more about this world --- what is involved in professional training, what’s the dif between all these S.I.’s, and residency programs, etc. etc. etc. etc. This ballet/dance world truly is a foreign place for those of us who grew up playing sports or music or really any other endeavor. I read, I participated, I developed my own (sometimes passionate) opinions based upon my daughter’s experiences, what I read and observed, and my conversations by various media (and in person) with other parents. Today, with my daughter aged 19, I feel I have very little to offer in terms of real information, a bit more to offer in terms of perspective. And truthfully, because some of the issues are not the ones I worry over any more, sometimes I have less interest in some issues that others are most intense about. (Aside from often feeling I have nothing to add to the discussion). Even schools that my daughter attended, as the years pass, my knowledge becomes less and less reliable – what might have changed in the intervening time?? I also think that perhaps some of the parents of older students/career-starters refrain from detailed posting for a least one of the same reasons as mine: It is all so fragile at this stage. Where the old saying was “god willing” – I think of the launching of a dance career in similar but more secular terms: luck-willing, AD-willing, audition-willing, opening-willing, funding-willing, health-willing, the-right-place-at-the-right-time-willing, etc. etc. etc. (This is, of course over and above the inventory we feel more certain about, such as training, talent, true grit, etc.) And, it is really entirely her life and her future that is being seized and pursued …. So it feels not-right-at-all to post about all the details of a journey in progress … the maybes, the ups and downs, reversals, successes – except in rather vague terms. Holding the specificity until she has plateau’d onto the next step. I no longer need to keep informed in order to inform her, or assist or shape decisions. At this stage, many of our children have much, MUCH better sources of information than their parents. At best, I am an informed sounding board when she is at a crossroads, or an occasional tipster. But even if she is interested in the rare “tip” that I offer (a company, an audition, a workshop) …. Her immediate followup is to suss it out through her own sources: teachers and other dancer friends. My other period of greatest involvement as a reader and participant was during those years when, to my mind, my daughter was prematurely away, from 10th grade on. Chatting on these boards filled a very specific void in my social life – all those casual chats in the studio parking lot, the auditorium lobby, etc. I missed my life as an involved parent! Throughout the years, the boards have served (and continue to) as a support group and rather interesting coffee club of people with a similar interest. I still read often, and feel free to jump in and out of discussions, fairly regardless of whether it is a matter on which I am fairly well informed, or fairly ignorant yet still possessing of an opinion. But I do find that I am slowly, gradually weaning off this ballet board habit. (And if you were to ask my daughter, I suspect she would tell you she thinks I am a kook to be spending any time here at all!!!) Over the years, I have learned much, gained much support, but probably, most importantly, have had a place to come and visit for a while with some chums after work and other responsibilities have been dispensed with each day. The participation of people not only from various regions, but various countries, and of teachers offering their perspective to parent discussions, lends fascinating elements. These are truly unique components to these internet discussions, as we do not have such roundtable discussions available to us in our on-the-ground lives. Quote Link to comment
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