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Parents: Best Supporting Award


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A good parent volunteers backstage because it's fun and the company needs volunteers. A stage mom volunteers backstage because she thinks it will get her dancer brownie points.


I volunteer because its fun and helps the company but I must confess that, particualrly when it comes to chaparoneing back stage in programs with few students in the cast, I hope my willingness to volunteer lets company see I support my dd and know that they never need to worry about having a chaparone when she is cast. Not exactly to gain brownie points but not altogether altruistic. I have voluntered to work on shows in which my dd is not cast however. Its so fun to be back stage.


I would never speak to the ad, rehearsal mistress/master, teacher or member of the artistic staff about my dd's role, lack thereof, future, or anything else (especially at a rehearsal or show), outside of the school's evaluation process, and only aws appropriate in the context of that process, unless I was approached and asked my opinion. (and I'm certainly expect they will never ask).


I agree with you LadyR, the value to the dd comes from knowing they earned the role themselves through their hard work.

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Our kids are with us for such a short time -- why not be involved in their lives?! I volunteer for that reason (and because their organizations need me). Also, my teenaged daughter is at a developmental stage when distancing herself from her parents is appropriate. I find that the time in the car to and from ballet and time at the studio/rehearsals/performances is opportunity for us to share conversation. If I can find a link to her in a way that works for her, than we can connect. Haven't we all faced the, "what did you do today, Honey" -- "nothing." scenario? If the topic is ballet, the conversation seems to be more genuine.


As far as the dreaded "stage mom" label -- heck, I don't even worry. I'm proud of my daughter, eager to help, and not worried about what others think. I don't push her (she pushes herself enough). These young dancers have a drive and focus unusual for children and are sometimes misunderstood by their peers and adults. I have friends who question why I "allow" her involvement to such an extent ("20 hours a week for a 13-year-old seems like too much!"). But our dancers are gifted with something unique. I like how dbleon referred to herself as a "conduit" to her daughter's goal -- that's it! That's how I feel, too. That's not being a "stage mom"...that's just being supportive.

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Yes, on the "conduit" analogy, but I also feel that parents have just as great a responsibility to be the voices of reason. What bums me most about the fanatical stage parents I see is that they've allowed themselves to lose the objectivity that their children need. They and the kids get so caught up in the dream and they all lose sight of reality.

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Just a note to balletdad,

I know our school would LOVE to have you as an involved backstage parent. They are alwasy looking for men to help out in the boys dressing room, and just being there for the boys who sometimes get the short end of parent help backstage.

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I recall a teacher at dd's ballet school saying once, that the term 'stage mum' had really bad press, but in fact, our children needed us to be stage mums - to get involved, get them to classes and rehearsals, learn to do their hair and make-up (for the younger ones), help with costume making etc for performances and nurture their love of ballet by giving them a broad exposure to ballet concerts and music.


And let's not forget - to pay their fees and purchase what always seems to be very expensive ballet wear and shoes ($15 for a pair of ballet knickers for under the leotard? 15 for a pair of stockings which she then immediately cuts, putting a hole in the sole??)

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Thanks for the nice word calamitous.

looking for men to help out in the boys dressing room, and just being there for the boys who sometimes get the short end of parent help backstage


I can certainly appreciate that. More often than not, particularly in a show whith few student performers, the back stage chaparone for the boys is a mom who is not allowed in the dressing rooms. They sit outside the door and call in when the boys need to go to makeup or start to get dressed.


Not quite the same but whatcha gonna do?

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I have been on that end. The only mom of a boy. Automatically assumed that since I was ALREADY there helping my son, I would be in charge of all the soldiers, etc backstage during Nutcracker. Does anyone have any idea how difficult it is to handle 4-5 boys under the age of 5? Have any idea what it is like to handle appx 6 boys between the ages of 6 and 11 when all they want to do is horse around? These are not even boys taking dance classes....they are just brothers of dancers filling a spot. They have no concept of the importance of discipline backstage. They are in the dresing room horsing around....trampling all over my sons costume and being in the way while he is trying to get dressed. :angry: Meanwhile, I can't go in the dressing room and control the other boys in order to help my own son because it is a boys dressing room and I am a woman. My son has almost been late getting onstage because of the chaos. It was so bad my son requested to dress in the mens dressing room and it was granted. I swore after that I would never be left alone. I felt if there could be more moms in the girls dressing room than needed, then some moms or even DADS could be backstage helping me with the boys.


*edited by moderator to remove large quote

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I have been both a good parent and a stage mom at times. I’m learning and growing right along with my dd. I’m in my own sort of ballet training. The positions that are hardest for me is the “butt out“, and the “hold your tongue“. The combination that’s the hardest is the “ballet politics“. And my performance in the piece “Ballet Moms” was less than beautiful. But I’m learning. With Ballet Talk “classes” and private coaching from dd, I’m learning. From the BT classes I’ve learned best from the corrections “stay out of the studio“, “don’t get caught up in gossip.” From my daughter the corrections have been, “Don’t worry what they think I’m glad you push me when I need it. I wouldn’t be where I am without it.” And the correction that most tween and teen coaches give to their parents “please don’t, that would be soooo embarrassing.”

I’m grateful I have this opportunity to learn and grow. I’m still working on my grace and form and probably will all my life. I’m glad I have children that can teach me. I’m grateful for the people in my life “classes” that have mastered the combination “patience” and have allowed me to grow without judgment and comparing.


As Vicarious, do I wish I were in my daughter’s shoes? Absolutely! What fun! What an amazing opportunity she has. Did she start this because I wanted her too? No way! I knew it would be expensive and time consuming. Plus based on my elementary school experience, I didn’t really like ballet. It was a bunch of foofy people jumping around, trying to tell a story I just didn’t get, to music that was totally foreign to me, and was totally boring. I’ve developed a love for watching ballet now and not just the ones that dd is in. I’m starting to develop an appreciation for chess and karate as my son is developing those talents. And everyone would enjoy it if I got onboard with youngest son’s love of cooking. I don’t think there’s anything wrong in a parent enjoying their child’s avocations. That’s part of the salary for the work of parenting.

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Vicarious, read your post and loved it! My most difficult ballet position is the Tour Jetee, which refers to the family vacations that have been jettisoned to accomodate dd's SI's. Then there's the extreme difficulty of maintaining the wallet in a permanently OPEN position (Purse Ouvree).


There is a difference between stage parent & concerned parent. I think the stage parent actually thinks they have some control over their dk's career; the concerned parent knows only dk - to a degree - and the dance powers that be have the say - and that is soooooo hard, sometimes. All of our dk's are beautiful dancers, right??? :angry:

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Not just beautiful....the best....right? don't you agree?


At this stage of the game, dd needs very little of my help, but volunteering is fun. I think it's important to her to know that her dad and I are involved, but we keep our distance at performances. We do our appointed jobs, and really end up not having much interaction with her, or her peers - except the "good job!" praise that the dancers always deserve after their hard work.


In our present situation we don't have any easily recognizeable "stage parents." The directors do a really good job of keeping that stuff under wraps if there are any. They never complain about parents.


I think there are always pushy people in any given situation from Little League to Ballet. The key is for the directors, coaches, etc. to set the boundaries. Sometimes that is difficult. It's really hard to watch when you see parents taking advantage of their position, and harassing directors.

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Thanks for the post Vicarious - it put a smile on my face.


Personally I'm struggling with my extensions (over-extended in all directions) and my placement (sudden bursts of panic "am I where I am meant to be now?")

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Danceintheblood - I have placement issues, too! Like, "where did I put my keys?" "where is my purse?" "where are my glasses?" My husband :) also has placement issues, "are you EVER AGAIN going to be home to make dinner?" Of course, variations: "can I get a home cooked meal just once this year?" or "when does her summer intensive start so I can have my wife back?" Pas de deux? How about 2 ships pas'ing in the night?


Maybe these posts need to be moved to another thread, like "BT parents going off the deep end!"


I haven't seen any outright stage parent activity at our school. However, I did hear of one mom moving her dd to another school where they could more fully appreciate her dd's obvious talent AND put her on pointe. We all waved good-bye, metaphorically speaking. :wink:

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