Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

The "need" to dance


Recommended Posts

Have any of you had your child come to you and tell you that they "need" to dance? Ours has said it means "I can't not dance." We still don't really understand if there is a difference between wanting to and needing to dance.

Link to comment
  • Replies 85
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • yankee


  • chauffeur


  • BelaNina


  • greatboys


Wonderful question and yes, there is a huge difference between 'wanting' to dance, and 'needing' to dance.


In the immortal words of Balanchine (I may not have the quote exactly) "I want dancers who need to dance" (or something to that effect).


It is hard to understand for those who have never experienced it, like childbirth :thumbsup: , but for us, we must dance like we must breathe.

Link to comment

Thank you for your reply. It is amazing that you should mention the association to breathing as I have often described my daughter's attachment to dance in this way.


Is this just a typical passing fancy for all 9 year old children though (the way some wish to be princesses?)?


Perhaps this feeling she has is also the reason why she can't just walk or stand flat on two feet.

Link to comment

Clara 76, I was thinking Balanchine, too!


By 9, most children can distinguish between "wants" and "needs." It could be passing, but if she feels that strongly and you can financially and emotionally support her, let her dance!


I know that for those of us who need to dance ourselves (ok, at least me, anyway), if one of my children told me she "can't not do" anything, I'd understand and help her to continue in that activity.

Link to comment

Thank you Blanche, for mentioning the aspect of our support.


We are trying to provide it yet stay on the side line and keep her connected to family, friends and other interests.


Of course, she has mastered integrating dance (ballet particularly) into everything, right down to her time with the family cat who usually ends up in a doll tutu.

Link to comment

I know my daughter also says she "needs" to dance. I try to keep some balance in her life but honestly she would dance as much as I would let her - just about every free minute. :thumbsup:

Link to comment

When my dancer daughter was 6 years old she started to "nag" me about enrolling her in ballet classes. She was otherwise the most undemanding, easygoing, not-a-peep-out-of-her kind of child, the shyest among her 5 siblings. However, for 2 years she was relentless in her demand for ballet lessons. Since I had been a ballet teacher and a dancer before that, this was not alien territory to me (and it is, I now believe, where she got the "dancing gene" from), but as a very busy mother of a large brood, I kept putting her off, knowing, too, that starting at 6 or 7 was not really necessary, as long as she started at around 9.


She finally got her wish at age 8-turning-9 and began once a week lessons. I soon found out that this was a child who had known she "needed" to dance. I had until then presumed she would be a writer, since she seemed gifted in that area, but after ballet began to take over her life, there was little time left for writing.


Long story short, she is now, at age 20, a professional ballet dancer.

Link to comment

Thank you Libby X 3. We are certain that if we also didn't keep the balance here, she'd be at ballet school every day. If she sticks with this then I'm sure those days will arrive all too soon.


Congratulations to your daughter, Marga, for her conviction to follow what I understand is a very challenging course.


Your reference to her writing talent is a good reminder to encourage their other interests as well so that they will have choices in the future.


At age 9, she has many years to go before she can truly follow a particular path.

Link to comment

Not to most dancers :thumbsup: Though it may sound 'nuts' to anyone else!! :thumbsup:

Link to comment

Well now I know I've come to the right place. The many times I've been met with tears after class it has always been because "I miss ballet" (and I mean literally on the way out of class).


I like the term mourning - that is exactly what it is sometimes (i.e. when the curtain comes down after the last performance and brings days and days of crying).

Link to comment
  • Administrators

I think that most dancers, maybe not all, but most, definitely have this need to dance. It's like it's not an option. It takes top priority very young. It's not something they think about or decide, it just must happen. It's a part of them. Many of us, and many young dancers today, left home to train. It was not because we wanted to leave home, but because we had to dance. If my parents had not supported me (which they did somewhat reluctantly), I would probably have left home for that reason! Seriously. There was no way I was not going to dance. Totally not an option.

Link to comment

Yankee, my 9 year old daughter also "needs" to dance. Your daughter and mine sound very similar. She says that if she misses a day of dancing, she just doesn't feel like herself. I can always tell if she's not feeling well if we're having a regular day, but she hasn't danced at all. It's guaranteed that by the end of that day she'll have a full blown illness. I can also tell when she's feeling better, because the dancing starts again! :D


My husband and I are both musicians, so we very much understand the feeling of needing to create, and we support our kids in their interests as much as possible. It's interesting to me that my daughter also knows how to regulate herself regarding how many classes to take. I admire how well she knows herself, and knows what is right for her, and how much is right for her.


My daughter also loves to write, loves art, animals, and has a great circle of friends, so I'm happy that thus far her life is pretty well balanced. She has chosen to miss out on certain activities in favor of dance, but this is always her choice, and one she's been happy with so far. Balance is important, but as someone who practiced piano for 20+ hours per week througout high school, I also understand that intense need to pursue an art at a deep level, and I know that, as "unbalanced" as it might seem to some, it is a fulfilling way to live life. I wish I had even an hour a day to play now! :P (Hmmm...I guess I could use the time I spend on Ballet Talk to play... :huepfen: ).

Link to comment

You are all correct here - she indeed acts as though this is not an option because even the suggestion that she is welcome to pursue other interests (i.e. afterschool soccer, traditional summer camps, etc.) is taken as an offense. I recently asked whether she would like to go to camp with her brothers in lieu of ballet this summer and she went into a screaming rage and said, "I can't!" to which I responded, "but you can." I had to explain to her that she has many choices. She then explained to me that her choice has been made and quickly dropped the subject. I will still offer other types of activities each year because I feel that it is important for her to realize that other things exist for her to try.


The expression on her face is that thinking of anything else is almost painful for her and everything that comes her way seems to be measured according to whether it fits her ballet world. LauraGG, you mentioned days when your daughter is not well and how whether she is dancing or not indicates her state of health, well, guess what - the same thing is happening here. Since she was very little she has done that same thing. She has also prioritized herself each Nutcracker season by keeping track of her rehearsal days and telling me that her "friends just need to understand that this is my commitment." She is known for disappearing during the middle of a play date to bathe, do her bun, put on her uniform and show up downstairs on time. Since she was six years old I have completely taken the backseat. Her little friends don't seem to mind at this point (and it is reciprocated when they go off to soccer, etc.).


I am literally paying the bill and providing the transportation as she handles the rest. She talks to her teachers and AD about what she needs and asks her own questions. I get to enjoy coffee and a good book since she seems to be okay for the time being.

Link to comment

Just further proof that I am in the right place here. You have just described my 12 year old daughter exactly....and this "need" to dance and always dancing went into full steam around 8. I dont think shes able to walk more than 4 feet without dancing and definetly cant stand still for more than 5 minutes before she starts dancing. Her fifth grade teacher last year even commented that it was a need for her and something she "had" to do. She just was not capable to standing in line still or sitting still for long. Luckily her teacher was understanding and loved this about her.


We can also tell around here when she is really starting to get sick...the dancing slows down or even stops, then we know its serious.


Her 14 yo. sister recently decided to quit softball which had been her love. I made it a point of asking DD if she wanted to slow down on the dancing, knowing at these ages there interests can change. Of course she looked at me like I was crazy and said no way...if anything she wanted to dance more. She continually says she needs to be homeschooled so she can dance more, even though there are no classes during school and right now she is having no problems keeping up with school.


I know if nothing changes and her training continues she will probably be gone before I am ready, she going to her first away SI this summer and sees it just as a stepping stone to going away asap so she can pursue her dream.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...