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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Dealing with Parents

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Guest kat789

Hi, I'm new to this board, but I have been reading previous posts for a while now. I recently moved away from a great pre-pro school (Saint Louis Ballet) to the middle of nowhere because of my dad's job. I am young (almost 14) but my teachers have told me that I have amazing feet, a good facility for ballet, and much potential. All of the auditions I have had so far have been successful.

Unfortunately, the school I am currently at is not going to turn me into the professional I aspire to be. It is a local school that has been around for a while, but the studio is awful and the teaching is not outstanding. I realize that what I need is another school, but when I suggested to my parents a great ballet school 30 minutes away from my house, there was an immediate "NO."

I then suggested a residency program. I was recently accepted into The Rock School SI, and one of the teachers comes to my studio in August for worskhops. I started doing my research about the year-long program and was very pleased with the results. Opposite of my father, of course. He says that while he was in college he met kids who went to boarding schools that were very wild and he doesn't want that happening to me. Sadly, when he says something strongly (like that) he sticks to it. Luckily, I happened to inherit that "determination," if you could call it that. Part of my dream is to no what it's like to be independent, and to go to a pre-pro school.

This year will be the first summer away from my family, and still my parents are hesitating after they promised me I could go. I am not going to let this part of my dream fade (partly because I can't). Please, parents, teachers, dancers, how can I please my family and live out my dream? We only have one life to live and I've already decided this is how I'll live mine.

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Change is always hard, or almost always, anyway. You will be going away for the summer. Take that time to really see how you work compared to others your age. If you get the chance, speak with the ROCK teacher who will be coming to your school. Tell them that you attend the school where they will be teaching in August. Maybe the teacher knows about your school and has a better perspective of the training there. Also, if you make yourself known to this teacher during the SI, he/she might be able to talk to your parents about how you fit and what the best situation might be for you. My oldest 2 attended the Rock school for some summers. The directors gave them a very thorough evaluation at the end and gave some recommendations that were very much appreciated. My girls went to a year round program when they were 16. It was hard enough at 16 to be away from home and complete high school in the competitive ballet environment. Your parents might consider it in a few years if you work hard , keep your grades up and show them how much ballet means to you. One step at a time.

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Guest BalletBuzz

I really know how you feel. My parents are your "typical" parents... i.e. they don't take anything to the extreme. Obviously if you want to (like me) join a ballet company - that's my ultimate goal - you have to take it to the extreme. They have been generous in paying for my training (I also have to contribute) but they don't realise how essential it is to do heaps of it. I find it limiting and get pretty frustrated... when you say your parents are they kind that won't change their mind once they've made it up, that sounds so much like my dad. Also, like you, it makes me even more determined. And like your parents sometimes they'll say maybe about something and leave it at that till the very last minute when the decision can go either way. It seems also for me to be very hard to both please your family and live out your dream... especially when finance also plays a part. You've got my sympathy... look on the bright side: Despite how it can also hold you back, it'll make you more determined and that can't be all bad.

All the best.

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lilliana and BalletBuzz, thank you so much for your advice. It's nice to know that others have dealt with this situation. My parents talked to me and said that if I get invitations to residence programs when I'm older, ie. 15/16, they will seriously consider it. They also still want me to go to college, and spending that money on a pre-pro school doesn't excite them. Do many dancers who don't go to great pre-pro schools end up dancing in college? Or do most of them move to a residence program for better training during high school?

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  • Administrators

kat, welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers :D


The important thing is the quality and the quantity of the training. There are many good schools that are not company schools, and dancers certainly do go from these schools to college programs, and some even to companies. However, if the local school is not of the quality that will give you the training you need, then a better school is absolutely necessary.


It might help if you could get your Mom on this board, reading the parents sections at least, to get a sense of what is needed to train a dancer and what it means to the students AND their parents. Driving 30 minutes is really not an unusual thing at all! Most of our students live in MD and VA and commute into DC, and I would think that almost all of them travel well over 30 minutes.


Ballet training, like piano or anything else one studies seriously, must be done right or it is wasted time, energy, and of course money. Would your parent send you to the academic school down the street if it were a bad school and there was a very good one 30 minutes away?

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Miss Leigh, thank you for your quick reply! I had a chat with my parents and we agreed that until my brother gets his driver's license (only 4 more months, :D ) I am going to continue going to my current dance studio. Because of my brother's many activities, my mom has a hard time being able to drive both of us around every 5 seconds. After my brother gets his full license, however, my parents are allowing me to take once a week at the other studio, and 3 times a week at my current studio. Once I get a feel for this new studio, I will compare it to my current studio and whichever one I learn the most from, I will stick with. I talked to the teacher at the Rock school who comes to visit during the year, and she said that my current studio may seem less than appropriate for my age. But I also came at a time when management was shifting, and we formed a new semi-professional company. In the meantime while I wait for my bro to get his license, I am going to take private lessons as well as 4 regular classes and see if that will suffice. I do have one more question that doesn't relate to pre-pro schools however. Classes of 1.5 hours are offered 5 days a week with pointe usually 3 times a week at my current studio. Right now I'm only allowed to take 4 a week, and I am the only one in my level who doesn't go everyday. I understand that I need more classes but my parents don't agree no matter how much I try to persuade them. Any thoughts?

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While you are awaiting a response from Ms. Leigh, you might want to read - and print out for your parents or show them here online, this information: Facts of Life About Pointe Work. Not only does this topic go into an explanation of pointe work, but it also explains the necessity of proper training in order to have the training needed.


It sounds as though you and your family are starting to work things out - best wishes!

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  • Administrators

The best argument for the 5 days is that it is really a difficult situtation to be in a class that meets 5 days and you only go 4. It puts you at an extreme disadvantage for advancement and progress.

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Maybe it would help to request some material from different schools so that they could see...for instance, from what I have heard about Harid (in particular, but also others), the students are very closely supervised and there isn't much inclination for trouble or wildness. Maybe that would help your dad. My personal advice (as one whose parents didn't want to send her to an SI because they didn't see the need, as she "had ballet classes at home") is to simply not let the matter rest. Don't fight, don't argue, but keep talking about it. Keep the brochures coming. Keep talking about your dream, read the ballet books, check the ballet books out of the library...."Mom, did you know that Suzanne Farrell went to SAB when she was 15, and her mom and sister moved with her and they lived in ONE room. Wow. How amazing is that...." ect. Request only ballet things for birthday...you get the idea. It also helps to be extra sweet, extra helpful, get good grades, and look a bit sad :D

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