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Ballet Talk for Dancers

What to do with potential and passion at almost 13?


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marigold, it is your job as a parent to raise a responsible, educated, well-behaved citizen. It is NOT your responsibility to raise a dancer per se.




(just reconstructing the note I just wrote which somehow vanished after I previewed it!)


Just wanted to thank you for this post - your wisdom and common sense. As I have receive feedback similar to Marigold. That my daugter has a 'ballet body' and unusual ability and focus for her age. But she is after all only 11. I have sometimes lost sleep over this, feeling the responsibility and wondering how to guide her and also where the money will come from in the coming years. My heart soars when I watch her dance. And I would be delighted to see this work out for her.


Surely it makes sense to raise a child who is well educated, a good citizen, and who loves and respects herself. Then if her love for dance holds during her high school years, and she continues to work hard it it - hopefully we will find a way. . . .

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My dd is now almost 15 and started ballet at 5. At six we were told she had everything she needed to become a dancer, and in hindsight, this put a terrible stress on me as a parent - one which was unecessary. So here's what I've learned since then, re what to do with potential and passion:


1. Place your child in the best studio in your area that you can afford (may require at some point that you get a second or third job :dry: ). Now their potential will be taken care of.


2. Drive said child to and from classes as required


3. Pay the ballet fees (see note at point one)


4. Purchase ballet leotards, tights, pins and more pins, flats, pointes and other extras as required (see note at point one)


5. When you have the opportunity to watch your child perform or take class, tell them they were lovely, how impressed you are with how much the class has learnt and give him/her a hug


6. Know when it's time to get out of the driver's seat and let them take the wheel, while you continue to attend to points 1 - 5. The passion can only come from the child, not the parent


7. Make sure your child has an adequate education, that will give them other options and career choices if they don't make it, or change their minds about, becoming a dancer


8. Ensure your child enjoys the process of learning to dance and isn't only focussed on the outcomes.


9. Make sure your child has time to actually be a child. Once this time is gone, it's gone forever


10. Now you have done everything that is actually in your control, sit back and enjoy a nice glass of wine

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Yes, excellent! Thank you for sharing.

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Thankyou for your appreciative comments, but I can't take full credit for what I wrote, for it is actually a summary of some of the best advice I've read on this board over the past few years.


My dd had a bit of a flat year last year - questioning whether she was really ready to commit to ballet as a career. Whether she was really ready to make that decision at the age of 13. And this was despite being 100% definite since she was nine that she was going to be a dancer. And despite that fact that she was receiving very positive feedback from her school and master class teachers throughout the year. It was her decision and I had to sit back and let her make it for herself.


This year took a week of master classes during the Christmas holidays, and as were driving home from her last day she said, "my goal with ballet this year is to excel!". And she has. She was moved into classes at the senior level, relished the challenge and is more passionate about dancing that I have ever seen her. Her AD says she is the standout student at the school this year, is incredibly dedicated and has lifted her technique and artistry to a whole new level. And that passion and dedication. has come from her completely. I can't take any credit there.


And on a sad note, dd's father became unexpectedly ill in March and I spent most of the month interstate, where he was hosiptalised. Dd was very disrupted at home during this period. She said she needed to stay in her home environment and continue ballet classes, but had to be shuffled around from place to place a bit to be cared for. Her father passed away at the end of March. Dd's ballet family at her studio, incredibly caring people, have helped to her, are still helping her to get through this period. But it is her renewed love for ballet that seems to have given her strength. She also insisted that she be allowed to do her mid-year assessment the week after her father died, as it included her first solo en pointe, that she had worked very hard on this year. The smile on her face afterwards told me she had made the right decision for herself. Ballet has given her something positive and life affirming to focus on, and whether she becomes a dancer or not, it has all been worth it for that alone.

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I am so sorry for your family's loss and I'm grateful that your daughter had ballet in her life at such a time. I am sure some days it is a great comfort to you both.


Wishing you all the best,


Edited by Bennett
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