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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Frustrated dancer


dancingjet

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I'm not quite sure where this may go, and I may just be looking for others who have experienced something similar. Last night, DD was crying over ballet for the first time. She talks about working so hard and feeling picked on, that she can't just have fun. The ironic thing is we moved her to a studio that is much more child-centered and relaxed, with a more slow and steady approach. Her teacher has expressed that sometimes DD almost works too hard. I can't tell if this is really about ballet, or summertime blues, or what. DD doesn't show any of this at class, but she's so amazingly good at shoving things down that it's a minor miracle that she broke down at all last night. There's a perfectionist streak in her, and while I think she hears that it can take months or even years to correct something, I don't think she believes that. She gets frustrated hearing the same corrections over and over again.

 

I feel like all I can do is listen on the rare occasions she opens up. She knows that she can stop ballet at any time, and that she is welcome to try other things too if she wants.

 

Part of me feels like she's depressed about summer vacation, that it hasn't been what she wanted, that she misses her school friends and it's easy to pin it all on ballet because there are things there that she can articulate. She goes to school in another city so it isn't simple to see classmates, though she did see one of them twice last week. She complains about summer being "so busy" already. We went on a vacation (!) and the only activity she has is ballet, where her other best friends are.

 

Any thoughts? Been there, done that?

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Been there, done that? Oh yes!!! :blink:

 

I'm wondering how old your DD is. Mine is 12 and she has been going through an extremely emotional period for the last 6 months or so. We've even had her evaluated by doctors but we can't quite figure out what is going on with her. The interesting thing is that in our case, none of the doctors suggested that she give up dance or even cut back. They seemed to think that this period is just something she has to work through and that it would be good for her to continue her usual schedule.

 

I understand how you feel when you say you don't know if your daughter's blues are really about dance. Our doctor said that many times kids at this age can't even tell you what's wrong because they don't know themselves. The doctor gave my husband and I some tips on how to respond to DD during her irrational moments, and I have seen great improvement over the last month or so.

 

I think it's great that you have given your daughter the choice to stay with dance or pursue something else. Kids want to be able to make their own decisions and separate from parents to some degree, but I think it can be scary for them when they start making hard decisions on their own.

 

If it would not upset your daughter too much, I would suggest talking with her ballet teacher or the director of the school. Maybe they could set her mind at ease. It also might not be a bad idea to take her in for a physical if she has not had one recently, and discuss the issue with her doctor. The doctor could help you decide how to proceed from there. Maybe a school counselor or other neutral party could help her open up and sort things out. They may also be able to help you to navigate this difficult period.

 

My thoughts are with you because I know how difficult this can be. I hope you let us know how things go. :P

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It's called "Puberty" - these young girls are now changing emotionally and physically. My olderst, now 23, was an emotional mess and half the time no one knew what it was all about, she included...A very driven child, always had to get the highest grades in school! My DD's, who's 10, is going through physical changes in her body! (She'd kill me for saying that). Hang in there mom, it'll get better. Just being there for her will do her lots of good! :D

 

Being supportive and listening will help her immensely. It's good to let her vent, she has to have someone she can do that with...who better than mom! Sometimes I find if you let them talk and they hear themselves vocalize it, instead of internalizing everything, it helps them paint a clearer picture in their mind and they get a better idea of how to handle it. My oldest would be going off about this or that and I'd just be there nodding and than she'd say - Yep, that's it, I know what to do, thanks mom :blushing: I wouldn't know what I did except listen!

 

Speaking from experience, they'll be like this for a few more years. It mellows around 14-15, just in time for boys and the angst with that whole world!!!

 

Does she have one particular friend she likes to hang out with at school? Anyway, you can make special weekend arrangements for a sleepover either at your house or the friend's?

A slumber party may cheer up DD!

 

Don't know if this helped - It's just another parent's experience - Truly, the only opinion that really counts is Yours! :)

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Dancingjet - If I recall, your dd is young yet, right? I know that when my dd was late 9 and 10 years old, the water works started with regard to ballet. This seems to be a transition year where children are deciding whether or not they really want the increased work load, and dedication ballet requires in their lives. Prior to those ages, ballet is still one of the things they like to do. Once the class days increase to 3 or more per week, the "seriousness" of ballet begins to set in, and, yes, the corrections can begin to take on a new tone as the teachers begin to treat the children as serious ballet students. And though it doesn't sound like this is happening for your dd this summer, that's also when they begin to have to make choices like Girl Scouts or ballet? because the days conflict, or soccer or ballet? since Saturday ballet classes conflict with Saturday soccer games, etc., or even my friend's birthday party, or ballet class? It gets tough!

 

My dd and I have had, and continue to have talks about accepting ballet the way it is - with it's repetition, constant corrections, disappointments, etc. One of things that my dd has learned that has been essential to her feeling of well being in ballet is that corrections are good! The teacher is not picking on the student, rather corrections are evidence that the teacher has faith in the student, and the student's ability to improve. My dd has taken this lesson so seriously, that at 10 years old, she used to cry if she didn't get corrections for a class or two! Even at her SI this summer, she called me after the first two days of class bummed out because she only got two corrections in two days! As of a week later, she was so happy in her classes because she was getting lots of corrections! :yes:

 

I've always been optimistic with her, (though I might come here and vent!), but straight with her about the decisions she's made to forgo other activities in pursuit of more ballet, and with regard to the realities of ballet class, which can be difficult. I think I've told the story on BT4D before about the imaginary can of "skin thickener" we would get out, and paint on dd during teary-eyed drives home during that time (which would always make her collapse into giggles). The point was and is, if she continues to choose ballet, she also continues to choose all that goes with ballet, which I don't sugarcoat - the sublime, and the ridiculous, the wonderful, and the frustrating. So, she can cry, and vent and get it all out in a safe environment - with mom - and then, since she has always chosen ballet, she's ready to go back into class, and work hard.

 

Anyway, this past year, at 11 years old, I think my dd has only cried once after ballet class, and she was particularly hungry and exhausted that day. Since she's turning 12 next month, I'm anticipating more tears - about more than just ballet, I'm sure. :yucky: . So, your dd may be going through a normal phase which occurs to some kids as they're becoming more serious ballet. And, this too shall pass.

 

All of that being said - another possibility is that your dd may be sick, and have a low level virus or something.

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Yes, DD is still young - eight and a half, so I don't think it's hormonal (yet!). I am hoping that this is presenting an opportunity for DD to learn to persist and work hard, particularly when the going isn't easy. I'm also hoping that this isn't just about dance, but that dance is giving her something concrete to pin her feelings on. I may bring it up with her teacher, but not yet. I kind of want to wait and see what happens after the next couple of classes. She has a summer workshop and goes three afternoons a week. I do know that her teacher does treat her as a serious student but is also worried about not pushing her, knowing her personality and her tendency to work so hard and push herself to the point of frustration.

 

So many times I've wanted that crystal ball that would let me know what's coming up and how to react today to plan for tomorrow! :yes: Parenting can be difficult.

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Am there, doing that!

 

In DD's case, it often takes much talking about sometimes seemingly unrelated issues to pinpoint the actual source of her upset. Lately, in her case, most tears are perfectionist-related, as she has extremely high (and sometimes unrealistic) expectations for herself. I have talked to teachers (academic, music, and dance) when she gets in these moods and have found that they often have quite a different (much better)take on how she's doing than she does. She and I then talk about how to resolve the issue, and I have often found that the better teachers will also provide some sort of encouragement to her the next class which is right on the money.

 

No answers, I guess, just some more perspective...but you're not alone, at least.

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After a couple more classes, DD came home happy this evening and even demonstrated something for me (something she rarely does). I'll keep an eye on her, but hopefully the black cloud has lifted.

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I agree with LauraGG, :sweating:

 

:thumbsup: That's wonderful dancingjet...yes, it does sound as if your Dd has turned a corner!!! Hopefully from now on it will be "Sunny Days" for both of you!

 

P.S. Sorry dancingjet - I didn't know your DD was that young - of course, she's not going through puberty yet - Thank goodness right! Thank you for pointing that out LauraGG!

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  • 3 weeks later...

The saga continues...

 

I think DD is in need of some serious downtime. She seems to be wanting days where there is nothing she has to go do. I think that's what this has all boiled down to - she has felt scheduled and pulled here and there all summer. She is off from ballet this week and when offered, has said she'd like to take another week off so she can just play and "not have to go anywhere". So I feel like I finally have a good glimpse of what's been troubling her, and if taking time away to have an unfettered few weeks here at the end of summer is what she needs, then that's easy to provide. She's in her room playing with her ponies right now, and I think that's exactly what she needs. :(:D I'll be curious to see what happens when school is back in session and whether she wants to go back to ballet, do Nut, etc.

 

As a side note - it would be a lot easier on parents, I think, if they never heard any mention of talent or potential when their dancers are quite young. I'd much rather be oblivious to all of that at this point than worrying about it. So much can change in time that it really doesn't do much good at all to talk about it yet.

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I have a nine year old that sounds very similar to your daughter. She is very against having her days scheduled. She would be perfectly happy to be playing down by the creek all day or working a puzzle or just hanging out with me. We keep her in dance now just one day a week so that she keeps up w/ it to a degree and if she decides she wants more, it's there for her. Good luck to you....kids sure keep life interesting!

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At such a young age a lot of kids (I'd say most kids) really just need time to still be kids. It doesn't matter what talent or potential they have - they are still kids and that time is gone so quickly. Now my dd never wanted to do anything but be in the studio - but I have always teased her that it is not "normal". The problem that we have now is that her ballet schedule was preventing her younger brothers from their time to just be kids and just play. We addressed it a littl ebit by starting homeschooling last year, but while that provides them with down time it doesn't help add in time to play with the kids outside. :wallbash:

 

Anyway - my suggestion at this age is to follow her lead - which it sounds like is your plan. :)

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Just a quick reminder-

This is the Parents of Dancers Under 13 forum. :wallbash:

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