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Ballet Talk for Dancers

musings ... weaning from BA


syr

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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.

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Thanks, syr. As a parent with a daughter a few years ahead of mine in her journey, your words have frequently been comforting words and truly words of wisdom. Please stop by every once in awhile :wacko:

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Very nicely stated, syr, and an excellent perspective in terms of parents who have been here for several years. We understand, but do hope you will continue to visit and join in whenever you feel like it. Your experience and advice to parents of the younger students will be most valuable. :wacko:

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Beautifully written, as always, syr. You have the art of expressing yourself well in hand.

 

I'm at a slightly different stage (pun intended) as my daughter has taken a different fork in the road - away from ballet. For the present, I try to stay helpful to the parents, students and others who take the time to post and ask questions as something akin to the BT of D resident searcher :wink: - the one with the memory for past threads that were, from my point of view, so meaningful - threads that I hope might help someone else in their journey.

 

Your daughter is extremely fortunate to have such a wise parent. :wacko:

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Boy syr, how time has flown. I first encountered you on another board, my daughter was 10 and would be 11 by SI so was doing her first audtions. She is now 15 and has gone to SIs five summers.

The Rock was one she could have gone to and your daughter had gone and you e-mailed me information about it. Now mine is around the age yours was then. I find I don't ask as many questions anymore and skip some topics that are kind of repeats for me but very valid for parents of kids just starting out doing all of this. And I sometimes do respond with answers for them or to relate how it had worked out for us. But I still read many even if I don't post for longer periods.

This has been one of the most useful places I have exchanged and learned information from.

Now it won't be long before I find out if my daughter can keep following this path or if she will find in the next year two that it is time to explore other avenues or rethink this one.

Of course audition season being before long will have me checking and posting here with regularity. This place always helps with that and keeps it in proper perspective. Not to mention the info learned early by all of us posting links and other news as soon as we find it.

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Please stay in touch, syr: there's nothing like the wisdom of experience that you can impart to us parents on the other side of apprenticeship.

I'm sure, with hindsight, your daughter will deepen in her appreciation of your support over so many years.

 

Cheers!

 

Watermill

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I, also, am not sure where I fit on these boards. My youngest is now beginning her professional ballet career, so I am no longer the Mom of a 'ballet student'. Now that I am not driving DDs for hours a day, I have more time that I could spend here, but don't know if it is even appropriate since I don't have a student any more.

Those of us at this end of the spectrum do have a wealth of experience in the dance parent scene. It is hard to know how to be helpful though. We each know our own stories and our own paths but each path is different. I love to attend ballets but usually only attend ballets performed by my daughters' companies. It is a strange new world.

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Lillianna, my thoughts are that, with all of your experience, you are certainly needed here! You and Syr, and others who have been through all of it, and survived! :thumbsup:, are most valuable resources!

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and to clarify - how could a woman (moi) of so MANY words still want to clarify??? I wasn't writing about departure, so much as just a natural shift through the years of some posting more, some posting less. Fewer posts can mean many things entirely apart from dissatisfaction, or that we are primarily posting privately in the PM network. Neither of those is true in my case. PM is a nice way to be able to follow up with more details that may include identifying characteristics that one would not want to share publically. Or address a specific worry that again, one would not want to share publically. It works well when the main discussion is out on the table with everyone present. :thumbsup:

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Glad to know it's not the departure gate! :) Excellent clarifications.

 

P.S. I find PMs especially good for being notified of my typos. :wink::wacko:

 

P.S.S. I second and third and so on, Victoria Leigh's words for all you parents of former ballet students, current professionals - you're input is extremely important on many, many levels! :thumbsup:

Edited by BW
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Thank you, Syr, for so much... yours has been one of the solid voices of wisdom that I have looked to over the years. My own contributions to the board have always been well intentioned, but admittedly sporadic, though the reasons have never been about "dissatisfaction" . Most of us lead very complex lives, and some are able to invest time and consistency more easily than others.

It takes an investment of time and consistency to build a dependable reputation on these boards, and I deeply respect those of you who have made so many contributions. I realize that once people get to know you and your voice better, it's easier to jump in with words of advice and help. I hope I can be braver with my willingness to share, and more organized with my time!!

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The wisdom of those who've come before us is never to be trivialized nor to be thought of as unneeded. While I certainly understand that your need for the boards may not be as intense as it once was, I hope you will never forgot that our need for your wisdom and experiences is still here.

 

Enjoy the stage you are in at the moment, but remember that we are here, eager to learn from you every step of the way, even if the experiences are those of past experiences, they are experiences to be remembered and cherished!

 

vj

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