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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Oprah's show on sports parents


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Ballet Taxi

While there are many times that I would love to watch classes/rehearsals, our studio has a "no watch" policy and I understand why this is beneficial on so many levels! (We do have 2 weeks of Parent Observation a year for classes and dress rehearsals are always open.) I hear parents complaining that they pay "all this money for lessons so we should be able to watch what we're paying for". While I can see their frustration, parents in the room can be such a distraction (as the boy ice skater pointed out... his mom made him nervous when she watched) :thumbsup: or might offer wrong corrections (I wondered about that cheerleader mom. I know she was a dance instructor of some type but how much gymnastics, cheerleading or even hip hop knowlegdge did she have?) :P or may interrupt the teacher with specific questions about their precious baby or may cause ANY NUMBER of negative influences! :blink:

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I hear parents complaining that they pay "all this money for lessons so we should be able to watch what we're paying for". While I can see their frustration, parents in the room  can be such a distraction (as the boy ice skater pointed out... his mom made him nervous when she watched) 

 

At my son's old school, they had observation 2 times a year and my son was devestated if I could not be there. Now, he is in a different school. One does not allow observation and the other has a small window (about the size of a school book) for parents to view the kids....when the teacher has the blind up. My son hates for us to watch him. Says it makes him nervous. (he is afraid of messing up). I love to watch my son dance. He has improved so much this year. I see true feeling in his movement now. I could watch him all day, but I respect his wishes and don't even go into the school. However, there was one time my husband and I waited until after he was in class to enter the school. We would wait for him to turn his back to us (barre work) and watch him, but just as they turned around, we would walk away from the window. :P

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Bravo's Cheerleading mom and daughter live in my location. Last Sunday, there was an article in the local paper about these two being on Oprah and the Bravo show. The mom voiced "concern" that Oprah presented the story in negative light and was worried about the Bravo show doing the same.

 

Hello...how could anyone present it in a positive manner? And why would anyone agree to be part of such a show...because they are clueless to their own madness and the effects on the children.

 

Texas and cheerleaders...just a few years ago, a mother attempted to hire a hit man to kill her daughter's main cheerleader competition.

 

Of course, I'm not anything like these parents. :blushing::):wacko::wink:

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dancemaven

DD and I watched the Bravo program, but at different times and then compared notes. I found the cheerleading mom (and little 8-year old dressed and made up in those hoochie-hussy molds) to be the most frightening, followed by the skating mom's too-vicarious investment in her son's placement in competition. DD, on the other hand, found the skating mom to be the most frightening by a long-shot, followed by the cheerleading mom. She thinks the equestrian mom is just weird and I haven't figured out what I think there. Neither of us had any issues with the basketball mom. She just seemed like a coach and mother trying to keep her daughter off the streets and realistically give her a skill to help her get to college.

 

Having taken good hip-hop classes, DD really felt for the little cheerleader starting out her two-event competition day with a 3-HOUR hip-hop class. No wonder the poor little thing ran out of steam in that second event! We also were appalled by the shot of the girl as a toddler in the pool where the mom was already beginning to focus on cheerleading and exhorting her to "lock her knees" for the lift/toss or whatever that is called. I have a VERY hard time believing that this little girl ever had a chance to choose anything BUT cheerleading as her "self-selected dream".

 

Same with the football kid. His dad actually admitted the dream was really his and he set out to get a second chance at his own dream via his son. This is the stuff sarsdad was talking about on the other thread. Seven days of workout for an 8-year old. Boy, are those growth plates goin' take a beatin'!

 

Sadly, we can all sit back and feel superior to all these "nuts" (but not the basketball mom, as I see it), because we are all so much wiser. But not one of them sees their involvement as over-the-top or as being too invested for themselves and as not giving the kids any way to opt-out. Does anyone besides me ever worry for one second that maybe we, too, are just as blind about our own circumstances, but that people on the outside can see that very thing in us, i.e., that, in reality, we may very well be delusional or actually be one of those over-the-top parents?

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Dancemaven,

The mere fact that you do worry about it is evidence that you aren't like those parents. Those parents are exceptions- most of us just want to do what's best for our kids and help them to follow their dreams... :shrug:

 

Clara 76

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Does anyone besides me ever worry for one second that maybe we, too, are just as blind about our own circumstances, but that people on the outside can see that very thing in us, i.e., that, in reality, we may very well be delusional or actually be one of those over-the-top parents?

 

Yup, dancemaven, I think some do and that it's a good thing to do. Unfortunately, some who are deeply enmeshed can't see the forest for the trees.

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It is a constant worry with me.

I think it is easier not to become so involved in ballet. While there is competition (SI programs, shows, Nutcracker parts etc...) it is nothing like the competition of sports. Gymnastics and skating are on the top of the competitive list. These "baby ballerina's" are expected to excel at their sport at a very early age. Both sports have age requirements that must be met and certain elements mastered by that age. (skating you must be at a juvenile level before the age of 13.....this level is doing dbl axels :blink: ) The money is also a factor. You pay for ice time, coaching (and you have 2-3 coaches), competitions, costumes, choreography, travel for you and your coach and don't forget the skates! Usually about $850 to $1200 per pair. You go through at least 2 pair a year. This may give you some insight as to why some of these obsessed parents are the way they are. There is a lot invested in these kids.

Don't get me wrong....I am in NO WAY condoning or excusing the behavior. It takes a very strong person to be able to look at these particular sports with an open, devil may care attitude. I couldn't and we got out. I don't miss it. The pressure these kids put on themselves is enormous. Not to mention the pressure from parents and coaches.

The skate mom is not as bad as she looks. She is mild compared to many other parents I have seen in the rink. I have seen physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats and even a parent grabbing food out of a childs hands. :shrug:

Everything needs to have it place of importance in a childs life and it is up to us, as parents, to make sure that we help them prioritize school, activities and down time correctly. If we are as involved as the child then there is no one to set the standards.....kind of like having the fox watch the hen house!

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dancindaughters

I'm with Redstorm in that the skating world makes the ballet world look mild ( at least where I live). Coaches reputations are based on how well the kids perform, everything is based on age, it is a subjective yet competitive sport, and it is very expensive. The club near us makes it virtually impossible to be a "recreational" skater after about the age of 7.

 

I have seen some frightening things in ballet as well. One of the worst was last Nutcracker season while I watched one of the craziest stage moms I've ever seen coach her 8 year old dd to hide an injury from the AD. The poor little thing was crying all the time, but wouldn't tell anyone why. :shhh:

 

A parents roll is to teach and protect their child, not to promote them and manage their "career." Actually, it turns my stomach when people talk about careers for kids. How many "child prodigies" end up happy?

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Momof3darlings

dancemaven--I'm laughing so hard. Hoochie-hussy is exactly what I said. Sorry, the costumer in me was horrified at the age of the girls in those half tops and low cut skirts. Coaches have choices even with cheerleading uniforms!

 

I agree, I wasn't offended by the basketball coach. I think it just showed how difficult it might be to coach/teach your own child. Would it have been "news" if a coach chewed a player out for missing a post? Nope, it was news because the coach was the mom. And while she was "animated" at times, I've never met any other basketball coach who wasn't during practice.

 

dancemaven--your question is a valid one. And I agree with Clara, because you worry, that is an indication in itself that you are most likely not over the top.

 

vj

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Happy_in_Md

I didn't see any of these programs, but I'm fascinated by this thread.

 

This past school year I have noticed a tension with some of the dancers at my DD's school. In these cases it isn't so much "stage" or "overbearing" parents, but concerned parents who want what's best for their dancers. But when a kid invests time (years maybe) in classical ballet instruction.... and shows talent & potential (yagp regional finalist talent at least) but somehow begins to worry at age 13, 14, 15 that they are "missing" something (socially, academically, well-roundedly, whatever) because of the intense ballet - it's a fine line for the parents to walk:

 

Do you allow a talented dancer to set aside a promising career?

How promising is that career, really?

Do you push the dancer to "keep it up" ?

Do you let her "waste" the ballet training/preparation years because the popular kids at school are all on volleyball team and dancer wants to get on the team to further friendships?

Do you INSIST that she keep up the ballet (Ack then you're a fanatical stage parent) because you know the kid doesn't realize her own potential?

How do you know that as parent YOU aren't the one mistaking the potential?

Does the AD who advised that your kid truly IS talented, really just want your tuition money?

Ack.

It's hard for a parent, who is ushering their first born thru this, to know what true widsom is. After all, we've never done this before. Sigh.

 

My point is that some parents migh look likethe over-the-top type (for a season) when they are really just trying to guide an immature dancer to reach her full potential - on the other hand sometimes the "dream" dies in the child but is artifically kept alive by the parent. What's a mom to do?

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Happy in Md: Listen to you child. Whether they have the potential to become the next Gelsey Kirkland, if they don't want to do it, then it isn't thier dream anymore and it becomes yours. That's when parents become fanatical.

If they want to do something else, then ballet is not thier passion. Let them move on. It is extremely difficult to allow your child to quit something they show potential in. I know this for a fact. If a child is pushed to do something thier heart is not 100% into, it will make for a very resentful and unhappy child, especially something as time consuming as ballet, gymnastics or skating. Sometimes, after trying something different, they go back, other times they walk away and never look back. You, as the parent, have to sit back and allow them to decide. After all, it isn't you who is giving up everything to pursue a dream.

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1. Do you allow a talented dancer to set aside a promising career?

2. How promising is that career, really?

3. Do you push the dancer to "keep it up" ?

4. Do you let her "waste" the ballet training/preparation years because the popular kids at school are all on volleyball team and dancer wants to get on the team to further friendships?

5. Do you INSIST that she keep up the ballet (Ack then you're a fanatical stage parent) because you know the kid doesn't realize her own potential?

6. How do you know that as parent YOU aren't the one mistaking the potential?

7. Does the AD who advised that your kid truly IS talented, really just want your tuition money?

 

Good questions, Happy, and Redstorm- good answers!

I thought I'd take this one by one:

#1- Yes, you do allow a promising dancer/gymnast/tennis player to set aside a promising career, if it's not their dream. It's hard enough when it is their dream....

 

#2- If the child has the body, training, discipline, self-control, stage presence, and most importantly, the desire- the fire in the belly-the I have to dance, then yes, that is a very promising career.

 

#3- No. You as the parent, don't push per se, but you do support, ask the hard questions, give them access to whatever is in your power to allow them the best possible training, and help them to stay focused on their dream.

 

#4- Yes, you do allow her to get on the volleyball team, if that's what she wants. Sometimes, that's all it takes for a kid to reassess...

 

#5- If she can't realize her own potential, nobody else will, besides you. This has to be her all-consuming passion.

 

#6- You don't. That's why you follow your child. The ballet training won't be wasted, even if the child doesn't become a dancer. Think of all the positive things it has done, or can do....

 

#7- The fact that you're asking that question makes me want to tell you perhaps you should reassess your current situation. I think it all depends upon how the AD says it too. If they are simply giving an experienced opinion, then they are looking out for her best interest.

 

If you are also receiving confirmation of that from other places, like SIs, then yes, your child does have the potential. But there's a huge leap from potential to realization. Most of that difference is simply, how much the dancer wants it. :shhh:

 

Clara 76

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calamitous

Happy-

Your questions really struck home with us at this moment. I hope that what you raise is only a temporary stress/tension. DD seems to question her investment most at stressful times. She just got back from an eye-opening audition and then had to pass on several school social events. After this week her comment was maybe she should have just stuck with soccer and been part of the regular school team scene.

I have no answers to your questions but I hope for us the immediate dissapointment followed by having to give up the sleep overs was a temporary bump. Now that summer is here she can recoop some personal strength and energy to remember that she has a dream. Sometimes I think between some of the ego blows and just the need to go, go, go and by the way get your homework done and turned in in advance it is hard for my DD to keep perspective.

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Using your post as a jumping off point and not implying that this holds true for anyone in particular's son or daughter, but isn't it all really about whose perspective one is really talking about? :D

 

Perspectives change sometimes and that's not a bad thing. Life is too short to live it according to someone else's point of view. :unsure:

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AsleepATheWheel

The important thing to ask ourselves is....'whose dream is this anyway?' It's awfully hard for kids to maintain at the hectic pace that early success mandates. If they have no time to 'dream' or 'be' I think they tend to lose perspective.

 

Dreams are not static, they change in depth and direction as the child grows into a teen and then young adult. Lets not cheat our kids from exploring life through this natural process.

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