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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Difficulty in class


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Dd came home from class tonight very discouraged. She says she feels like her body is all out of place, her technique is getting sloppy, she feels like she is all legs, she can’t balance anymore, can’t even tendu correctly, doesn’t have stamina. Things that were easy before are now difficult. She says this has been going on a month or so. I’m thinking it has to do with her growing and changing body (she’ll be 12 after the summer). I did a search looking for a discussion on this topic but I can’t seem to find what I remember reading in past posts. What advice can I give her? Should I talk to her teachers about what she is feeling?

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Totally normal growth spurt problems. Her teachers should certainly be knowledgeable about that, but if they don't seem to be and are jumping on her, then perhaps you should tell them. Hopefully, they are aware of this and not concerned about it at all. Eleven is early, but some children do have a lot of growth at that age, and it definitely disrupts their center and balance. Just tell her it is normal, and she will just need to be patient for a while, and it will be fine. :sweating:

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Wow, isn't that funny, that's just what I was about to say! ( :) )


We have seen A LOT of this around our studio, and I just wanted to encourage you to urge your dd to have patience and not be too hard or judgemental with herself. My own dd, now 11.5, has been going through this on and off this year: for e.g., one minute she is spinning pretty good doubles, the next she doesn't even seem to be able to balance in passe releve at the barre. Now she is back to being able not only to do the doubles, but control them pretty well on top of it. I keep telling her that her body is growing and throwing off her center of balance but she gets discouraged and worried that she can't do anything right any more. I keep saying, "Two steps forward, one step back!" I have seen this with a lot of girls a little older than mine, so I expect we are in for a lot more of this. Fortunately, the teachers at my dd's school seem to be very aware of what to expect, and I'm sure as Miss Leigh suggests, they will be able to give good insight here. If not, then you just buck her up for a bit!


One thing that has helped is that my dd has a sort of "older sister", a girl a few levels above her whom she can look up to, and who reassures her when she is down that there is time, that it is a long process, that Rome wasn't built in a day (or year!), that everybody goes through this, and tells her her own experiences. It's great because she believes her friend, wheras sometimes she may think I am just coddling her, which now that she is more grown up, she doesn't want. My dd struck up this friendship a few years back, just when her friend was a very gawky 12 year old. Now the friend is 14 and mostly all grown up (well, several inches and width's worth, anyway), and seeing is believing! Does your dd have a friend like this she could talk to?


Best regards with this problem; I'm sure it will straighten itself out!





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Just wanted to chime in and say it probably is a growth spurt/puberty change. When gymnasts go through it, they sometimes have trouble with their tumbling. Figure skaters have a hard time with their jumps.

Don't worry, she'll be back to her old self soon. This too, shall pass.

Until then, keep her chin up.


Good Luck,



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Guest dancinx2

Just want to add some more sympathy as well. My girls are going through this now too. At 13 1/2 maybe they are late bloomers, but having lots of frustration lately with turning especially. Some days are better than others. Unfortunately, the studio they are in is sooooo competitive that instead of boosting each other up through the rough times, the girls enjoy when someone is having an off day and makes them look better. It's a weird age, one day someone is your "friend" the next they won't talk to you. The teacher realizes the growth spurt thing that goes on, but she is far from sympathetic, and would rather everyone just skip to 15 and be done with it. It's definately the time to see if this is really what your girls want. Hopefully my girls will be the ones to mentor someday and lift someone else up when they are down. :angry:

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Thanks, all. It certainly has comforted my dd to know that this is normal and she is not the only one going through this. This is a good time for her to learn patience and perseverance, right?


Hopefully my girls will be the ones to mentor someday and lift someone else up when they are down.


That's what I told her. She said that someday, when she becomes a ballet teacher, she will have this experience to better understand and help her students. See? There's the silver lining.

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