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What to do with potential and passion at almost 13?


marigold

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??? essie, would you care to elaborate on that just a bit? Keep what?

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"mean no offense, but we all know that there are some 'hysterical' parents at our kids' sporting events, ballet 'competitions', and even at the local ballet school. Try very hard to keep your (and your DD's) feet on the ground and not get caught up in the hysterical 'bigger, better, more, more, more' rat race."

 

Dancemaven- you sound like a parent with many years experience. Could you please share tips and suggestions to keep me, and my dd, out of the rat race? Anything you could share would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. :(

Edited by zippitydoda
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Oh Zippity, that might take awhile!!!!!! :(

 

My best advice is to take a few months (I'm not kidding- it'll take at least a few months!!) and read threads here on Ballet Talk for Dancers. There is a wealth of information here and I think you will find it helpful :shrug:

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Ah, Zippitydoda, thank you for your kind words. At the moment, I do feel 'battle-weary' and experienced --to what end, I don't know. :lol: I haven't a clue whether any advise I might have to share (impose?) would be useful or just 'warm air', but I'm seldom at a loss for an opinion on an issue! :innocent:

 

Seriously, though--Clara 76 is absolutely right. There are soooooo many issues and concerns that crop up in this endeavor (school, ballet, balancing, etc) that there are no succinct individual 'pearls of wisdom' I or anyone else can really just lay out here. The experience/wisdom comes from hashing out the issues/concerns in large, broad strokes, then refining them with attention paid to the nuances of the situation, the family, and the dancer.

 

Whatever insights I might be able to share on any given topic or concern are borne of the reasoned (I would hope) consideration of the valuable input I have received from those that have gone before me as shared on this Board, in the present and in the past, and a willingness to ask questions with an open mind and really listen to the answers, along with a willingness to alter my own pre-conceived 'givens' and an attempt to 'see' the issue from other vantage points.

 

The only constant I have seen in my daughter's quest is that nothing stays the same--ever. Change is constant. That alone makes me very tired.

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In the last few days I have determined that a normal university track child would be such a gift. Dealing with the up's and downs of talented if not gifted dancers trying to navigate this ballet world is nighmareish. I talked to a friend whose daughter entered the company contract search this year. This dancer is nice but not brilliant. Her stage presence is nice but not brilliant, actually she is all over an nice dancer. Listening to this Mom talk of her child was heart wrenching. She believes a job is out there for her child and she maybe right but there are so many of us who feel just as she does. This Mom is encouraging her DD to gear her brain toward university as she continues her training. I believe this is the wisest thought process any of us could develop. Do not give up on the dream but be practical. For the American child university is just about essential for a future that will pay the bills. I don't know if Europe is like this but here it certainly feels that way. Someone on this thread said there are many more company ready dancers than there are jobs and that is a statement of truth to stop at and absorb.

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Ah, Zippitydoda, thank you for your kind words. At the moment, I do feel 'battle-weary' and experienced --

 

The only constant I have seen in my daughter's quest is that nothing stays the same--ever. Change is

constant. That alone makes me very tired.

 

Hello Dancemaven- thanks for your reply and I am taking time to read the many topics available at this site. It is overwhelmimg! Yes- this is exhausting and rarely do I ever feel like I am on top of all that is happening. The question at hand, "What to do with potential and passion at almost 13?" is constant for me- so I appreciate the generosity of those further down the road. How long has your daughter been dancing? thanks-

 

thanks for the advice and I am learnign to navigate the posts at this site. Today is not a dance day and I am enjoying a chance to catch up on the reading. Thanks! :innocent:

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Zippitydoda,

 

I think there may be many "right paths". My dd decided at 10 that she wanted to try to conquer this ballet world. She did not seem to have the perfect facility and her teacher(s) at the time made me very aware that they didn't see her as a ballerina. So, we started our journey ... My best advice for you is to find a teacher/coach/mentor that you and your dancer respect, admire and TRUST! Someone with a track record of producing dancers that make it! Make sure it is someone that has your dancer's best interest at heart rather than simply self-promotion of themselves or their school. Make sure that it is someone willing to let go or even push when it is time for your dancer to move on the the next step. When we found that for our dd, the potential and passion began to transform into a true plan to make the dream of being a dancer a reality.

 

Good luck ... you have a long road ahead of you! Don't forget to enjoy it with your dd and try not to get wiped out in the process.

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Zippity, my DD has been dancing since just before her third birthday. She is now 18.

 

She started one Fall with a single "Joy of Movement" class that I thought would be fun because we didn't have much opportunity for her to be around her peers. I thought 'we' would take a break for summer, so I didn't sign her up when the spring session ended. She cried and cried! The class was full, but when I asked her teacher to let me know if anyone dropped out, she immediately made room for my daughter.

 

I never again failed to sign her up for the next session. She has danced year round since that very first year when she turned three. She gradually added classes at appropriate times. In the meantime, she took piano lessons from age 4 to through 4th grade, oboe lessons from grade 5 to grade 7, recreational soccer from age 4 through 1st grade, travel soccer grades 2 through 3, creative writing courses and city student newspaper journalism grades 5 and 6. At each juncture that an activity was dropped or laid aside, it was because she chose dance--more ballet classes, more dance disciplines (flamenco, jazz, modern, tap). By her fifth or sixth grade year, she was at the studio essentially every weekday 4-9 p.m. and 9-2 p.m. on Saturdays, most of it dancing, but there were breaks.

 

She left home to attend a residential ballet school as a sophmore. Since then, she attended a different second 'release time' program one year, finished her high school education a year early, and then attended a full-time (9-6pm) training program. Her next plan is a BFA at one of the ballet program beginning in the Fall.

 

Yup, it's been a full 15 years of learning--on our part (her parents). The initial years were blissful ignorance, existing simply in the moment. The last four have been quite stressful, blind, and harrowing. The most difficult and stressful changes she has made in training were prompted by an administrative change in the training program she was in at the time.

 

nmp1014 has given GREAT advice. There is nothing to compare with a trusted teacher or mentor that really looks for what's best for YOUR dancer. Luckily, we have two of those. (And I bless them daily).

 

Take nmp1014's advice and try to hang onto the 'blissful ignorance' phase as long as possible. The stressful, blind and harrowing time will come soon enough, so there's no need to court it early. It will only make you more crazy before necessary. :wacko::)

Edited by dancemaven
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nmp1014 and dancemaven-

thanks for taking the time to share the stories of your daughters. I bet you can look back and are so proud of what your dd's hard work and their love of ballet has given them. The advice to make sure the teacher/mentor is a good fit is great. We have a wonderful instructor who has produced great dancers and was once a great dancer herself. We do live in a rural area, and I am so blessed that she is here for my daughter and her studio. My dd started when she was 7 (she is now 12) and is now dancing several hours a day on M,W,Th,F,and S. She has been on pointe for 2 and 1/2 years and although she is in orchestra, dance comes first in her life. She has attended SIs for the last two years- The Academy of Russian Ballet in MN (excellent!) for two years (no audition), Nutmeg last year and Kirov this year. She has also participated in her studios si for three years (required for company). She does well in class, but it is a small school in a rural area. She has been accepted at the only two places she has auditioned for, and I know I enjoy watching her dance-But I am partial!! But, how do you know when to help her pursue her interest in going on with dance, or to just be happy with what she has now? I do beleive that if opportunities for her present themselves, we take advantage of them. But it seems that so many others are out there looking for the opportunities instead of waiting for them to knock on the door by themselves. Now, it is late at night, and I do hope this makes sense- and I am sure I am not the only one who has ever expressed this question. It is hard for me to think these things out sometimes, and my friends with non-dancing kids don't understand. I am a single mom who works full time and I really am doing a lot to provide these opportunities for her...and I want to do the most I can to see her be provided with the training she needs. Thanks for all who read this, understand, and give me a response...This site has been so helpful already.. :)

 

Afterthought- did any of your dd compete in Youth Grand Prix? My dd's instructor wants to take her next year...

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Remember when you asked how to keep your dd out of the "rat race"?????????? :):wacko::lol:

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Zippitydoda,

 

It sounds to me if you are making the appropriate opportunities for your dd age and stage. I think too many parents try to cram too much stuff in and call them "opportunities" and they end up burning parents and dancers out. Wait and see what the summer holds for her at Kirov. Have open discussions and evaluations with her teacher; you will know when it is the right time to pursue the next step whatever that may be.

 

YAGP -- hmmmm ... There are lots of threads on this topic on the board. My dd has competed at the regional and final level of YAGP but is not doing so this year. She has attended SI's on scholarship and been accepted to outstanding programs but that has not come about from her participation in YAGP. If you can take YAGP as a step for more experience and exposure then so be it, but if you are looking at it as the only way to scholarships or entrance to prestigious programs I would go another route!

 

As far as parents with non-dancing kids "understanding" ... Forget it! We are crazy! :)

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Zippity, here is a snippet that caught my eye from the Teacher's Forum in a thread about the ABT Teacher's workshop:

 

Most concerned about the child’s safety and experience of ballet because only a small percentage of students will have the physiology to dance professionally but the rest will become the support system for the art form and we need them to come away from class loving it. . . . . Talked about how kids these days are often pushed too far too soon and how difficult it is to then go back and clean them up. Wanted to see age appropriate choreography emphasized in recitals. Felt the steps should be easier than those given in the classroom. (For me, imagining the piece is difficult enough!).
[emphasis added].

 

Your DD is 12. See Clara 76's last post above yours. :wacko:

 

My dd has never done YAGP. She started attending residential SIs when she was 14. She did attend her home SI beginning age 11. The school actually dropped the age requirement that year to permit her and another three dancers that were considered ready 'for more', but only she and one other actually attended that year. Their schedule was reduced hours (9-2) from the older girls (9-4). One of those youngest dancers that did not attend that year is currently a senior stand-out at NCSA who has received full scholarships to SFB's SIs. So, skipping that year certainly did not set her back in any way. That same dancer did not begin attending residential SIs until she was 15.

 

Obviously, my DD's path and experiences/timing is not the only way. But it does reflect that the 'craziness' does not have to start all that early. She was a dedicated, serious dancer long before we entered the 'mad mouse' ride ---that started about when she was a sophmore.

 

It bears repeating, in keeping with the topic's original question: See Clara 76's last post. :)

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Zippidty,

I have a small bit to add to the great amount experience and wisdom already on this thread. As one other poster put it, there are many paths, and there is not necessarily "one right track".

 

our story is a bit different from some of the others.... Like you we live in a fairly rural region but are fortunate to have good training available at home. And although my DD has been dancing since the toddler years (she is 16) its only this year that we looked at "away" programs. We made the progression thru a couple of different schools before she came to her current school and we have been entirely satisfied with the training and performances. Guess we've been living in blissful ignorance!

 

Although she is still challenged at her current school, and is happy there, we are now working on the "where to go from here" questions, and I have lost not a little sleep and have spent a lot of time reading the posts on this board! I am paying for one college tuition already, so looking at the costs of some of the programs and schools is a bit overwhelming as well. I have spent too much energy, I think, berating myself for being so clueless and not figuring some things out sooner.

 

I have only recently come to the conclusions that feeling guilty about what I didn't do before, and what I may not be able to afford in the future, is wasted energy. We will work to find and finance the best possible training for DD, without disrupting the entire family, financially or otherwise..... her path will be what is right for her... fueled by whatever recourses we can give her, and her own desires and drive.

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Zippity - Just to add to the many roads lead to rome. My dd did not start ballet until she was over 8, in 4th grade. She attended and still does attend a public performing arts school where she started as vocal and theatre student but took dance to "fill out" her schedule. She did dance daily at school from 4th grade on, but at 8 was an absolute beginner. Since then she has progressed on and now at 16 has dropped voice and drama and only does dance at school. (she does perform outside of school in theatre.) For the first time this year she is seriously consider going on in dance at college and thinking of a career- contemporary ballet to modern, not classical- but she does not want to go a school that does modern as a primary emphasis. But this has been a slow development and a choice that is hers based on her own knowledge.

 

She has had excellent and consistent training during the school year, but the last two summers she did not do an SI, just some local open classes. We/she caught quite a bit of grief for this at the time, but now all seem to agree that for her it has helped her dancing and she moved ahead faster this year than all previous. I am sure some of that is age, growth and strength but not doing SIs did not hurt her as many had predicted.

 

Her school does not encourage competition and DD hates the whole idea of making a competition out of dance. This has not hurt other students at her school in terms of scholarship for SIs, year round programs for a few who have gone that route, college programs or companies.

My rather uninformed opinion based on limited experience, if the training is good where you are then you don't have to enter into the rat race until your kids is fully old enough to understand this for her/himself.

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Oops - I hadn't realized the thread had been split. I've moved the content of this post over to the new thread.

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