Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Middle school hysteria


Recommended Posts

So, the first week of school. What a crazy week it was to be! DD was a new middle schooler, dance classes would be starting again and Nut auditions are this weekend. Tues was the first day of school. I left work early to pick up my DD for her first day back to class and she wasn't ready like she is always. She said she wasn't going and something about soccer etc. The recruiters at school were out in full force, apparently, the first day of school. So, she has decided not to dance. No Nut or anything. Ok, I sort of expected something like this with all of the new drama and opportunities that she will be facing in middle school, just not the first day of school! She also has a Cinderella production to do at the end of Oct which she has already been cast for. She will fullfill her obligation if the school can't replace her. I started my first ballet class, as part of my fitness program yesterday and she has an attitude like she doesn't even care. Everyone at the school is in shock that she is not there, but all said to say hi to her. When I did she thought of it as no big deal. (These are all people she loves!) So, I'm just wondering.....has anyone else gone through this extreme personality turn around for their DK in middle school? This was just over night, literally! I told her that her decision was fine since she wanted to spread her wings a little in other things and to let me know in Jan if she would like to return next semester. I'm just hoping that it is another eduational area or sport that she wants to venture towards and not the wrong, unsupportive crowd of kids or boys. HELP!!!

Link to comment

Knock, knock parent of an over 13 -

I don't know your kid so this may not apply at all, but my DD will at times pipe up with "I want a normal school life." She was away this summer with non-theatre and non-dance kids and came home thinking maybe she should switch schools. One with football games and school dances, and time so she could actually attend them.

These conversations come up at two times - that frequently coincide. 1. When she gets the glimpse of the life other kids have that seems more relaxed, less scheduled and more fun. And 2. when she is feeling stressed. Starting up school (new or just back to the same old one), new ballet classes, and auditions all thrown on top of each other are stressfull and at least for my DD she sees changing her focus as a way to relieve some of the stress. We try not to pressure her but we do not let her back out of things she has already committed to and once she gets into a flow of things she sticks with where she is.

A new middle school with all the expanded options for the kids makes things look attractive. Also joining a "school team" helps deal with the finding your place in a new school. So I don't think it is unusual that she wants to try soccer or something school based, but for kids the quick decision to change may end up putting them on a course that may be not what they wanted later. But then again it may be great.


Not helpful, I know but I do understand both your concerns and maybe her thinking.

Link to comment

Sorry I don't have any advice, but I know that if she were my dd, I would want to find out what brought on the change of heart. I was wondering if her decision came as a complete shock, or if she had discussed a change of direction before. Did anything happen over the summer that may have caused a loss of enthusiasm? I've heard that sometimes dancers quit after attending SI's where they see so many talented dancers, or realize how much work dance is. Were her dance teachers also very surprised, and can they offer any insights into why she may want to take a break from dance? Does your daughter want to stop dance entirely or just cut back to allow time for other activities? Most importantly, does she seem happy with her decision? Do you think she may be trying to gauge your reaction? Maybe she just wants to hear that it's OK (with you) not to dance. Or perhaps someone at school said something about ballet being for babies or something like that. There could be many reasons. My dd started middle school last year, but it seemed to only intensify her passion for dance. I am the one who "suggests" she try volleyball or swim club. I think it's important to be involved in school activities, and it is a great way to meet people. Good luck.

Link to comment

Knock, knock - parent of an over 13. DD is a senior now, and over the years she's been dancing, we've seen this happen with many, many dancers as they hit middle school (and many more, as they begin high school). It has almost always been a sudden change. The kids literally wake up one day, and decide, nope, dance isn't for me. With about 1/4 of them, after three to six months of no ballet, they realize that they miss dance, and take it back up, though generally on a more relaxed, less pre-pro level. Of the rest, I don't think we can remember a single former dancer who failed to replace dance with SOMETHING else, whether a sport, drama or chorus. The type of person who has danced, day in and day out, for years, is just not comfortable with doing nothing. So, don't worry, I don't think that ballet was dropped for boys or for a life of indolence. Sounds like your daughter is ready to explore new and exciting activities. Enjoy, and should you find yourself on the soccer sidelines, it's a TON of fun. (My non-dancer has been a goalkeeper since he was five, and I like watching the action).

Link to comment

I also have a middle schooler, who is just loving it and I have a "if I pay you go" rule. I never sign her up for anything without asking if she wants to do it. If she says she does, then I go ahead and sign her up and pay. If she says no - then she can choose something else.


But if she says yes and I pay, then she has to finish the term which I paid for and then I won't pay again.

Link to comment
Guest pink tights

Dancingdaughters makes some excellent points. Somethings for all of us to consider if we are in a similar situation, not just with regards to dance.


If your dd were to have a change of heart a few weeks down the line, she will certainly regret not being involved in Nut--expecially if she decides to go back to class and all of her friends are participating. However it would be a valuable life lesson....how spur of the moment decisions impact your life. You have left the door open for her return if she chooses, perhaps she will find her way back to ballet on her own.


And please don't let your daughters decision keep you from attending class.

Link to comment

Thanks everyone. I agree with all of you actually. Unfortunately, my daughter isn't a 'talk to and get deep emotion' kind of kid. It seems with her that the more I ask, the less I get. She didn't do an SI this year and she was 'grounded' from her school's 2 week SI due to her attitude at the end of the last school year. I thought I was doing the right thing. The only thing that is making me not go through the 'bad mother' syndrome is that my other daughter who is two years older. She has always been very academic and gearing herself towards a particular magnet high school where they focus on robotics/engineering. She is so very smart in everything, but especially math and science. Well, it seems that a few weeks ago she decided that she just wants to go to her district high school and not apply for the magnet school so she can be with her friends and take art. I am one that feels that there IS too much pressure on these kids to excel these days too early. However, you are made to feel that if you don't do everything while you're a teen that your life is doomed in the career field. I am disappointed in her saying this and have told her so. But I also can't stop her and will support her decision. I'm actually hoping that she changes her mind before the year is over. I guess what it boils down to is that I don't want either one of my kids to regret decisions they made after they had everything right out in front of them. Maybe it's because I didn't have much as a child and I see them having everything to look forward to and it drives me crazy that they don't grab the opportunity.


I also do the 'you go, if I paid rule'. I also am one that is big on sticking with your committments. I did not pay DD's tuition yet. I also told her that she would have to dance her Cinderella part and do rehersals for it because that was a prior committment. She said it was fine, but like it was no big deal.


The whole attitude thing has been driving me nuts for the past 6 months or so too. I try and talk to her but she just doesn't go into anything in depth. This, in turn, drives me crazy as well since I over-analyze everything. So I usually just end up leaving the situation alone since I tend to think that I'm over doing it. I'm the only one in the family like this. Maybe I should keep trying?


I guess it will come down to the 'wait and see' game. She also could be seeing what my reaction is. She is very much like that, I believe. Who knows. I also understand that this is a big change that offers new directions for her. I know she wants to fit in. This is all fine to me. But to just drop dance and all of her friends and happiness she found there is a mystery to me. I don't think I'll make it through these teen-age years. :thumbsup:

Link to comment




Without sounding too un-empathetic, let me say that "This too shall/might pass". :thumbsup:


My DD went through the same type of year, albeit at 15. Ironically, as I look back, there was no real ONE thing that led to her burnout. Perhaps it was the addition of a boyfriend that had no passion, which meant a lot of time at home when she was in class, perhaps it was comments taken with a "teenage" psyche, from an instructor at an SI, perhaps it was just the wondering what life was like "on the outside" that instigated my DD's sabattical from dance. I don't think we will ever know, and I don't think there was ever a clear-cut answer. I DO know that the time off was the best thing that ever happened to her, and to/for me.


Mine pretty much stopped cold-turkey as well. She struggled back and forth for about nine months. In the mean time, she went back to theater, performed in 3 or 4 productions, and got a new boyfriend which did have a passion outside loitering at home. The time off was so good for her soul, and for mine, but believe me, we BOTH felt like we had lost and arm or a leg in the beginning. She realized that the evenings were very long without dance, and that television wasn't what it was cracked up to be. I realized that although I NEVER would consider myself a "Ballet Mom", that my life did revolve around ballet, as much as I thought it didn't. All my time driving, my friends, thoughts of the next performance, volunteer duties we all hate, buying pointe shoes and working the extra jobs to pay for them...all of that had become WHO I was...and I didn't even realize it until it stopped abruptly!!! I, at times, felt very lost without her dancing and THAT was the scary part for me.


She only did one audition last winter (after attending SAB and SFB the 3 summers before) and it wasn't even for an SI, but for a Residency program. She was acepted, and given a scholarship.


The weeks came and went, an occasional class here and there. No SI away this summer, but one at home, in a new studio where she didn't really know anyone. She had fun, laughed, got to go to parties, sleepovers, believe me, didn't miss Nut a BIT after doing it for 8 years, and still managed to stay in shape to dance full out this summer.


Long story short, she is at NCSA, having a ball!!! The best thing she could have done was to quit ballet ON HER OWN, and then start again, ON HER OWN. It's all in her hands now, and even though neither of us really felt like I pushed her to dance before, we KNOW I'm not now. The best thing I did, was be supportive, gently nudge, and stay out of the way...oh, and also send in all the paperwork to NCSA "just in case she changed her mind"...which she did :thumbsup:

Link to comment

I can imagine that you are feeling a bit of mourning. When we're so involved in our kids' activities -- driving them, going through all the "right pointe shoe" trials, debating whether they are getting enough classes or the right type of training -- it feels like part of YOUR life is being ripped away too.


I agree with those who are praising you for letting your daughter call the shots. It actually might not matter too much WHY she is making this decision (although, it would drive me crazy too not to know -- I'm an over-analyzer myself). The important thing is to honor the decision and let her explore her own world. Eventually, if you watch and listen hard enough, you may come to understand her decision even if she isn't one of those "heart-to-heart" talkers.


So, hang in, and remember that you are welcome here whether or not your daughter goes back to dancing. Over the years, many moms have posted with similar stories. There's always a period of shock and dismay and wondering why.

Link to comment

Thanks l2daisygirl-you have opened my eyes to one thing for sure. I never thought about how much ballet had consumed me when I thought it hadn't. Even though I wasn't hanging around DD at ballet, I still volunteered, helped sew costumes, was a ballet driver, a ballet shopper, in search of the 'right' pointe shoe and tried to keep up with auditions/performances. I am finding this time a little confusing at the moment. However, I have changed over the past few months. This had nothing to do with ballet actually. My doctor was getting concerned for my health. So, I've lost 32 lbs so far, joined Curves-which I don't know how I ever got along without and now started ballet as a reward for losing weight. So, I am much happier with me where I don't feel I need to feel happy with only being part of both of my kids' lives. Maybe my kids don't like this either.


You're right, I will probably never know totally what is going on her. The future will only tell me if it's temporary. She has found two boys that she has a crush on. She already can't imagine not riding the bus home since she wouldn't see one of them. Maybe it's hormonal.


So, I will leave it like it is. Ask in Jan if she wants to do the next semester. That's all I can do.


***Thanks Treefrog-we must have posted at the same time. You took the words right out of my mouth.

Link to comment

Knock, Knock Parent of over 13, I am experiencing a similar situation. DD went to her first SI this summer, I was so proud she got in to Orlando since she has been attending Dinkle's for the last 3 years. She is 15 and was in a lower level however she was still content to be at Orlando considering the fact that she had not been learning the art of ballet properly or seriously. She cried when she left and was excited to have received the training. She did see many wonderfully talented dancers. I did research with the help of BT mom's, found a great school, drove her to class the first day only to be advised by my DD that she will no longer dance en pointe. She wants to dance Hip-Hop and take ballet to improve her abilties in modern and jazz. I am not a happy camper. I will let her do it but I have to be honest, I am really upset and I let her know it. Last year she advised me that she wanted to dance ballet professionally, hopefully with Alvin Ailey or a similar company. Now she wants to dance hip hop? I struggled mightily to get that SI money together only to find out she wants to focus on hip hop. Well, at least it was one SI instead of several......

Link to comment

I feel your pain wannadance. I am angry with my situation as well. How can someone stop doing what they are so beautiful and talented in? However, sometimes it's cofusing because I always remember the end of the movie Center Stage. I don't want to push, so how do you just nudge? I also feel that the girls/people she has developed friendships with are a very positive influence in her life. I can't say that for all of her outside school friends. When she is at her studio it feels safe to me to have her there.

Link to comment



That is why I am letting her give it up, who wants to be that kind of Mom. Ballet requires sacrifices only people who love it should make. If she does not love it, she should not have to do it. This is hard, siege but we can do it.



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...