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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Burn out already?


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Well, that's what her pre-pro teachers are saying. That lately, my pre-teen dd's passion for dance has been waning. My dd says she doesn't want a reduction in classes. She says she's "fine". Me...I'M GOING OUT OF MY MIND :) It's so hard to see your child not be fully happy. I do realize that it's all a part of "growing up" and just a part of life in general, but as a parent, I always try to see my kids are generally happy.


She's dancing full curriculum at her pre-pro school. Which is 2 ballet technique classes, one pointe class and one modern class. Also, this is her last year at her "home-town" studio, which she only dances 2 1/2 hours a week (1 1/2 ballet and 1 hour jazz). She wanted one more recital before leaving her friends.


Her teachers at her pre-pro school have said the comment about the passon waning. What do I do? Have her stick it out, or have her take a leave or partial leave from there? However, she says she doesn't want to stop or reduce (grrrrrrr).


I hate to see her go through burn out before she even hits her teens. Any suggestions?

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If your daughter doesn't want to reduce the time spent in class that probably isn't the solution. Lots of girls this age go through ups and downs of passion. It could be something in the class dynamic that she doesn't feel like sharing, or it may be hormonal (it's just starting, believe me). It may be a conflict with a teacher or student or something totally unrelated. Just keep your eyes, ears and mind open for anything she might share. And hang in there, the pre-teen into early teen years are not always fun for teens (nor for their moms, usually).

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As our children grow, they also experiment with how they want to express their emotions. A child who so obviously shows his or her passion may go through a period where they conceal that same emotion. We've found that often in the teen years it's just not cool to seem too excited about something (i.e show passion). I don't know, maybe it's an attempt to act - or be perceived as - more grownup. It can be a bit frustrating. But sometimes we just have to take our kids at their word. Let her know that it's OK to stop or take a break and then give her the power to make that decision.

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Parent of an over 13, but if your dd wants to continue, by all means let her.


Try to find out from her teachers exactly why they think her passion is waning. It may be hormonal - a lot of dancers drop out around 7th/8th grade. It may be physical, as it was in the case of my DD, who had undiagnosed celiac disease.


Listen to your DD and follow her direction. :blushing:

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Perhaps, as your daughter reaches toward the teen years, she is trying on different identities. Just fishing here, but is it possible that in the earlier years she followed you into dance, and now finds that maybe it isn't the cup of tea she thought it was? In other words, it might not be that she's burned out -- her schedule really isn't that demanding -- but that her passion was not that deep to begin with.


Whatever the reason might be, I agree with whoever said to give her the space to figure it out for herself. Don't make a big deal about it and try to figure out what's "wrong". If it were my daughter, I'd talk to her about carrying through with any obligations, such as performances or classes I'd already paid for (but if she were truly miserable, I might waive that last one). I'd also make it clear that she's free to give up this endeavor once the obligations end, and take up oh, I don't know, ice hockey or stamp collecting or classical accordion or whatever her next passion turns out to be.


My hunch is that it is particularly tricky for offspring of dancers. Especially if the kiddo has any hint of being a "pleaser".


Incidentally ... what kind of pre-pro school has kids on pointe with only two technique classes a week?

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Thanx 4 all the suggestions so far......


Treefrog...I worry at times that she's in it to "please" me since yes, she is a "pleaser" to some extend (however, she does have very strong opinions on certain matters and no matter what anyone else thinks!) and yes, perhaps being the offspring of a dancer and having what the teachers call "natural born ability" has something to do with it all also. However, my husband and I have always told her to have a back up plan just in case, God forbid, something happens and she can't dance, or if she decides she doesn't want to dance. I'm pretty confident she knows that I'd be bummed about her quitting but that I would support her. Oh, and she takes two tech. classes at her pre-pro school and one at her home town school which I personally teach. Her pre-pro school agreed to that. 3 tech, 1 pointe, 1 modern and 1 jazz per week.


I find the insights from the parents of +13 informative. I do have a teenage son, however he was totally different than my dd :unsure:

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However, my husband and I have always told her to have a back up plan just in case, God forbid, something happens and she can't dance, or if she decides she doesn't want to dance. I'm pretty confident she knows that I'd be bummed about her quitting but that I would support her.



This could be a part - though probably not all - of the issue right here. It sounds to me, if you're talking about having a back up plan, that your first plan is that your daughter will be a dancer. Having a plan for your daughter to be a dancer, and being bummed out if she quits, yet supportive, is not quite the same as supporting your daughter and being happy for her choices for herself, no matter what they are.


It's a fine line, one I've crossed myself for sure, but I think that as parents it's important to examine our own wishes, and dreams we place on our children's activities, whether they're involved in sports, dance drama, or something else. I've learned that when I become too emotionally attached to their activities, for my children, it seems to take something valuable away from that activity for them. Maybe they sense that because I'm attached to the activity, a part of them begins to feel that they are doing it to please me, and that part becomes more important than their own pleasure and goals in the activity. Doing something to please another, even if that's not the sole motivation, can begin to feel burdensome.

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My daughter didn't use to eat much, but lately she has been so hungry and eating much more. Sometimes she forgets to eat, or doesn't eat enough. (She has grown a lot too!!)


I can tell a difference in her dancing when she hasn't eaten enough.


Perhaps if it is not a consistent issue with your dd, then maybe she has another need not being met.

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It could be that your dd just doesn't feel like she belongs to a studio right now. You mention that she is dancing at two different places at a modified schedule at both, which can affect how she is being treated by the girls she dances with. I know when my dd left her old studio, it was never quite the same with the friends she left. Your daughter may be feeling kind of left out, not that the girls arent' accepting her but since she isn't sharing complete schedule with either class, she feels kind of an outsider. It might even be happening more at her home studio, since she isn't there much, the girls are already considering her gone. I'm not sure if I'm really making sense (I'm never up this late) but I know that there is a girl in my dd's class that just comes a couple of times a week, and you can tell she really doesn't feel like she fits in yet. It might just be that her passion comes back after she's at the pre-pro full time.

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I have to confess I never saw a real passion for dance in dd until she turned age 14. Before age 14, dd saw ballet as more a social group, with ballet thrown in. Nowadays, she's still very into the social comraderie but she has this determination or passion and interest about dance that wasn't there before.


Sounds like maybe your dk wants to look around and have some creative freedom right now. Don't worry, if she is to have the passion of a dancer, it will come. I know a lot of dancers whose moms are dancers, too. I think it is in the blood to some extent. :)

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It could be that your dd just doesn't feel like she belongs to a studio right now.


That's a fascinating hypothesis. I agree, when my DD was trying out a new studio and only doing one class a week there, she felt like she "didn't belong". Something to think about for sure.

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Reading through the posts, you have had some great insight and wisdom shared with you. Don't forget to factor in that we are now half way through the season, and the changes your daughter will be facing next season are closer rather than in the distance. She not only is changing studios, but she will be leaving you and your classes, as well as the comfort of dancing at a studio where her mother is on staff. I am sure she feels quite at home and comfortable at her long time studio and is sensing that it is coming to an end. Not being full time at the new studio, and just one of the girls, may feel very different, not as warm and special. Your daughter may not be struggling with her passion for dance, she may be just adjusting to the realitly that the change is really happening.


Good luck to you and your daughter,


Edited by SnowWhite
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I started a similar thread on the over 13 group, as my DD was very down on dance in life in general, so i hvae some understanding of how frustrating it is as a parent to see them less than happy. Much of her gluminess about life has improved but she is still unhappy about dance - can't quite because she doesn't know what she would do without it but not certain she wants to stay where she is. Her other problem is that she is very torn between a couple of different directions and really doesn't know how to choose. January/February are decision points at her school for the next year and with this brings all the turmoil for her of having to decide which direction she is gong to take. This turmoil shows up in her moods and apparently in her dancing as she is less focused and committed (so I am told).


As others have suggested may be it is a turning point, change or decision that she needs to work through and then recommit to before she can be passionate again. I will be hanging in there with you o see how the next few months fall out, as we are doing the same at this end. Looking for the sunshine in the sky and kids is all we can do.

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Maybe your daughters passion hasn't waned as much as the instructors say. Yes, they know our daughters and our sons, but maybe they dont know them on a personal emotional level as well as they think. I think as her mother you have done the right thing by speaking to her about the situation. If she says she wants to dance the same schedule, then let her. Our kids often have bad days, weeks, and even months...


...there are, as so many people have said earlier, so many different factors of what may or may not be going on. Girls seems to go up and down so much during these years. I am finding out that this is all just a part of growing up. I guess I just forgot what I was like...or maybe I just blocked it from my memory! ;-)


Good luck, and remember that there are a lot of us going through these ups and downs with you.

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I am curious about your daughter's teachers. They have said THEY think her passion is waning. How long have they worked with her? Long enough that they have seen a change over a longer period of time (i.e. they see a difference in how she expresses her passion this year vs. last year)? Does SHE feel her passion is waning? You haven't mentioned what her teachers have offered to do to encourage her (although it is not clear whether they think this is a problem, per se). Do they give her enough feedback in order for her to set some personal goals? My daughter has a teacher who only gives whole-class corrections. She was increasingly unhappy about working with this teacher until she said, "I know the corrections are for all of us but I want to know if we are getting better at it." I observed that the teacher delivers her corrections in a very positive manner and so I encouraged my daughter to apply what she is given but think, on her own, about what she would like to improve upon. She has let go of the expectation to hear whether or not she is progressing and has learned to set goals. I think kids need to be told how they are doing occasionally but also need to get a sense from themselves as to whether they are progressing (i.e. they will feel an increase in strength or a greater ability to jump, etc.). I think this is a part of building confidence and independence and, again, developing the ability to set personal goals. I think that Small Slipper is right that your daughter's teachers may not know her as well on a personal level in order to know your daughter's passion with concrete accuracy.


I also agree with the other posters that these pre teen years bring changes that result in differences in how they express themselves, some contemplation about whether they want to dance and how much among many other things. I can't imagine what it is like to have a child who shares in my passions but I do know myself well enough to know that it would be a challenge for me to figure out where each of us begins and ends in sorting through how much is my passion and how much is hers. I think the bottom line is letting our kids decide what they want to do and just simply accepting their decisions (as long as they are healthy and safe choices).

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