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Guest Nadezhda Alliluyeva

Fanatical stage parents

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Guest Nadezhda Alliluyeva

. . .constitute Clue #2,686 leading to the hypothesis that ballet in contemporary America is in a sorry state.

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Mel Johnson

And? And? And? You start well, but you can't seem to have a complete thought.

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Victoria Leigh

Note: Topic is open for discussion, but don't bother replying to the original poster, as she is HISTORY on Ballet Talk for Dancers.

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Mel Johnson

Let's start this over again. Is there a consensus as to the proper level of involvement for a parent or other supporting adult in a child's dance career? Is it the same at 16 as it is at 13? What about pre-teens? What about the out-of-high-schools? What constitutes over-involvement? Under-involvement? This could be a productive discussion after all! :lol:

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gogators

As my daughter enters high school this fall, I've started to step out of her yearly evaluations given by her ballet school's director. (In fact, I've sat out of her eval. startiing last year.) I figured the evaluations are really for her, and for not me.

 

I know little about ballet technique, ballet terms, etc. My daughter is infinitely more knowledgeable about these areas than I am, and knows what she needs to work on. Afterall, she's the one in the ballet classes, not me.

 

The only advice I lend to her right now is when it comes time to choosing an SI. I help frame the pros & cons of each SI that she's considering, including tuition, travel costs and balancing the SI's schedule with the family's summer plans.

 

I definitely enjoy watching her (and her fellow students) during her ballet classes. I do not live through my daughter's life. If anything, I am at awe at the art & beauty of ballet and am an enthusiastic & supportive spectator, and I plan to support ballet in our community long after my daughter grows up! :shrug:

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Mel Johnson

Now, THAT'S the kind of input we can use! :shrug: Thanks, gogators!

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Justdoit

What a can of worms!

 

I have to give some credit to the great educator, Maria Montessori, here. In her method she suggests the importance of observing children, to determine their interests. Once you know what it is that really interests them, then provide some beginning opportunities and "follow the child." Their interests will then take you to places you could not even have imagined.

 

The child should always possess 100% of the motivation here and be the captain of this boat. You can help by offering balast and some navigation through foreign waters. You know, like, be on time, do your best, cheer for others, it's not only about you, respect your teachers, listen, pay for everything, drive them, keep them healthy and oh . . . HAVE FUN, too (both of you that is)! Once you have done one of your most important jobs, which is finding the best training, then, you should take your proper place in the galley or crew's quarters and follow your child. Without a doubt, and whatever the course, you are only on board for the trip of a lifetime!

 

Regarding the question of age. ONE YEAR AT A TIME. There is no way you know if your child will "make it," at 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 or even 14, so you both better be having fun every year along the way. Each year you should look at what else your child is interested in doing Maybe it's time to try that also or instead of dance. Don't ever let yourself get caught up in the gotta dance fever. Each year should be a re-evaluation of their interests, before proceeding on the dance continuum. By 14, 15 or 16, you can see, for sure, this is it. Then it will be your job to help your child to the next stage, which requires more $$$, driving and emotional support unlike anything that came before.

 

I think I sound alittle preachy here, sorry. I just don't want any more pressure or stress placed upon children by their parents when it really isn't necessary.

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Clara 76

Very wise advice Justdoit!

 

Clara 76

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Rhapsody

When dd was 8 I volunteered for 16 out of 19 Nutcrackers. At 9 I volunteered for 12. At 10 I volunteered for 12. At 11 I volunteered for 11. At 12 I volunteered for 6. Ok I was talked into showing up for 2 or 3 more (mom, nobody does the eyeliner as well as you...)

 

None of the teens had their moms backstage at Nutcracker. Well, I take that back. There was one this year. But she was not allowed to hover around her dd's table of friends. I suspect my dd will want me around every year she does Nutcracker. I feel like this closeness/separation thing is always in transition.

 

I am reading the book Attitude and the author tries to answer the question about what makes a great dancer great. She sites a study that concluded having strong parental/familial support and involvement is almost always the case for dancers who stick with it and develop their talent.

 

There are some who may say I'm a stage mom just because I volunteer for the Nutcrackers. It's a risk I take by being a mom of a kid who performs on stage. And I do ask myself if I'm doing it for her or for me, the driving to lessons, the endless buying of tights and leos, and shoes, for me? Yeah, right. For me is getting a pedicure, sleeping in on Saturday mornings, getting my professional credential. I can see the difference.

 

I see the stage mom tag as more belonging to a mom (OR dad - Serena and Venus, Michael Jackson, Jessica Simpson) who wants the fame or glory attached to their kid. STill you have to question whether Jessica Simpson, for example, would be where she is career wise IF her dad wasn't so involved. Sorry for using a non ballet performer but I can't think of ANY ballet dancers who have a mom or dad like Jessica Simpson. I remember hearing that behind every successful ballerina is...her mom. I think as long as the mom stays behind the dancer there's nothing wrong with the level of involvement. It's when the parent wants to get out in front of the performer that you get the ick factor.

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mmded

A teacher at a professional track ballet school said that artistic staff would like to audition the parents if they could before even looking at the dancers. :shrug: Once the dancers are in the program they are encouraged to approach the artistic staff if they have concerns or worries as this is a sign of becoming a professional. Your dancer will only stay communicative with you as they progress if you are acting as a sounding board and it is understood you will not get involved unless it is agreed upon ahead of time. No amount of interference from a parent will change anything once a dancer is in a pre-professional program. From my very limited knowlege, if a dancer ends up as a professional I think that the ability to critique and assess oneself and know what needs to be done or what can be changed is crucial. The sooner a dancer gets comfortable working things out themselves or coming to terms with things they cannot change, the more ready he or she will be to take on the profession of ballet.

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nlkflint
if a dancer ends up as a professional I think that the ability to critique and assess oneself and know what needs to be done or what can be changed is crucial. The sooner a dancer gets comfortable working things out themselves or coming to terms with things they cannot change, the more ready he or she will be to take on the profession of ballet.

 

Ahhh... A wonderful statement. This has been the best aspect of sending DD away to residency. It really helps her to work things out for herself, and for me to detach.

 

Don't ever let yourself get caught up in the gotta dance fever

 

DD is still caught up in it. It is still such a passion. I never had the fever, but did often get "warm" from the radiant heat she would give off.

 

I did so well this year, until a recent summer program level placement prompted me to email for some additional info. After I did, and received a quick and helpful response, I did feel as though I should have just let it go. Or let her be the one to email. She was the one who asked me to, if that counts.

 

...the next stage, which requires more $$$, driving and emotional support unlike anything that came before.

 

Now I am trying to provide the $$$ and the emotional support. And instead of driving: airline tickets :shrug: .

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Farrell Fan

One of the wonderful sidelights of the film "Suzanne Farrell: Elusive Muse" is the portrait of Suzanne's mom, Donna Holly. Whenever I've seen the film in a theater, some of Mrs. Holly's comments evoke laughter from the audience, for example, in trying to dissuade her daughter from marrying Paul Mejia: "You don't want to marry Balanchine? Okay, just don't get married. Stay single." And yet, that was not the full story -- the love for her daughter was always there. Suzanne was kind enough to introduce me to her mother years ago and thereafter I looked forward to glimpsing her in the theater wherever Suzanne, or Suzanne's company, was performing. She passed away a couple of years ago and I miss her presence.

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pj

I think there is a place for each mom (and dad) of any aspiring dancer, and yes, hopefully, it is BEHIND that dancer.

 

In my opinion, it's the parent's job to save the child from themselves. (No, honey, you don't need to do 40 hours a week of ballet classes to get better; you'll just get too tired to move!)

 

And, it's also important to remind the child that other people do depend on them (Yes, honey, you'll have to dance in that performance because you signed up to do it, and yes, you'll have to miss your friend's b'day party because you have a reahearsal). And then, you invite the friend over to spend the night at a later date so your daughter can have some semblance of a "normal life complete with friends."

 

And it's also important to save the family budget from the child's over zealous ambitions (No, honey, you can't go to five summer intensives, two will have to do -- we do have to eat you know!)

 

The salvation of the family budget is, unfortunately, beyond my abilities.

 

Even stage moms aren't perfect! :)

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danceintheblood

Your involvement changes as they continue to grow. My dd is only 11 and she wants me to attend her interviews, her open classes, to help backstage at productions etc. I want to know what she is doing, who her teachers are, what inspires and motivates her, where she needs encouragement and support.

 

I don't expect to have the same involvement when she is 16, if she is still dancing at that time.

 

It's a little like their academic school isn't it? We don't hover in the hallways to watch them learning and we don't try to get daily updates from their teachers. But we do like to know what they are doing, how they are progressing and where they need our help.

 

If we watch and listen, we know when to be there and when to leave them to it.

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balletbooster

Boy, my involvement with my daughter's ballet training has certainly evolved! From the first year of Nuts at age 7, when I was a backstage helper at all her performances, to last year when I never went backstage at any of the 10 performances, but chose to work at the Boutique in the front lobby! I used to talk with teachers after Visiting Days and anxiously listen to each evaluation. Now, that she is in a residency program, I have virtually no interaction with her teachers and don't even have the opportunity to watch classes, as there are no regularly scheduled Visiting Days. I do get her written progress reports and parents are free to schedule conferences. But, I have left this area of communication to my dancer. My daughter has really taken the ball on talking with her teachers and has approached several this year with questions and concerns on her own. I've enjoyed seeing her take this initiative. My daughter handled the taking and printing of her audition pictures this year and received most of the letters at school. So, I'm out of that loop pretty much too.

 

I'm still the driver to auditions and I never miss a performance. But, I definitely see my involvement shifting as my daughter enters the upper teens and is really charting her own course! :)

 

Ballet Talk is where I came to learn about ballet. My daughter does not post here, so this is my little piece of the ballet world that gives me a chance to converse with other ballet parents, learn from teachers and apply what I learn as I watch my dancer growing into a very independent and focused young woman!

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