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Have you lost friends, who are non-dancing parents?


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The 'upset dissappointed dancer" thread led me to this question. Another poster said that whenever she tries to vent to her friends who's children don't dance, they look at her like she is crazy.


When my kids were little, before they started to dance, we had a nice group of friends.....I'm talking my husband and I. We all seemed to have kids the same ages and got together often. With the busy dance schedule during the week, and then of course the Nutcracker every December. Our ability to socialize was strickly curtailed. We haven't been able to attend a Christmas party in 7 years! I mean its our choice. We aren't really comfortable leaving our DD's at the Theatre, so we stay busy volunteering during the shows.


But there are times when I feel really sad because I miss my old friends and they have understandibly filled thier social calendar with others who are free. I have one friend who seems quite hostile to me, as if my busy-ness was an affront to her.


When I need to vent about dancing I tend to turn to this board. My friends don't get it, and while I have some great friends at the studio, sometimes you want to just vent, but you don't want to do it to someone at the studio, because you are just venting....


I really think this is part of the dance world because this board is so active. I have sought out other boards online and they are not anywhere near as active as this one.

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I do think our ballet commitments have created a strain on certain friendships for both my daughter and I. I have spoken to parents who do not understand why I spend my time driving almost an hour each way to take my child to ballet instead of enrolling her in the dance school up the street. I have found they are more understanding when I take time to educate them a bit about the world of ballet training.


I think it is important though for my daughter and I to work on maintaining those friendships outside of ballet. When I begin to feel uncomfortable with the financial and time commitments that ballet places on my family, those are the friends who help me keep my feet on the ground. If I were to only seek the advice and friendship of other ballet parents, I fear we would get completely caught up in the whirlwind of escalating expectations. And I believe it also grounds and comforts my daughter to see that there is a wide world of opportunity beyond the ballet studio.

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Oh, yeah...I can relate. But, I think that it is probably this way no matter what your child is involved in. We have a 15 year old that plays competetive baseball. He travelled all summer long. Very few people understand the drive of these kinds of kids. They assume it is the parent's that are pushing them. Our 12 year old dancer is wise beyond her years. She gets occasionally disappointed if she has to miss something because of dance, or has to leave early, but she knows that this is what she has chosen to do.


My husband and I have to play the divide and conquer game, since we also have a 9 year old, who refuses to have her time scheduled (Smart girl, eh?). So, I volunteer for the ballet stuff, hubby does baseball, and 9 year old DD gets to do all sorts of fun activities because we feel bad having to drag her along all the time.


Dance parent friends are great, but sometimes it gets too catty for my taste! Someone is always disappointed in their kid's roles, you know?

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Oh yes!! :yes:

and that brings up another point - hope this isn't off topic....(though it may be)

How about the alienation of your family????? Not only does my sister in law seem to think it's a joke, she totally does not get it! She has 2 kids also yet she constantly tries to schedule things - to my thinking deliberately- knowing that we will probably say we can't do it. Okay, maybe not deliberately, but she always 'forgets' we can't do something because of our committment. Nevermind that I have 2 DDs- one 9 and the other that's been on a full time ballet schedule for 5 years now - but she regards it as just an 'after school' activity, and doesn't seem to understand why we can't blow off a rehearsal or 2 to go and visit her house in the 'country'.

It drives me insane and I also feel guilty at the same time, which gets me even crazier! Now I almost get pleasure out of telling her no out of spite. Can't help myself.... :)

my other relatives understand to a point; they are better about it in varying degrees. But I always sense this underlying emotion that they think I'm pushing DDs to do something they really don't have to do. It is very difficult sometimes to get them to understand. Thank goodness for places like this!! :)


Mobadt :D

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I don't know if this is off topic (perhaps) and I raise this very gingerly, but has anyone experienced issues with their spouse/partner around the topic of dance? My husband, while a great guy, is at best neutral about DD's commitment to dance. Because dance is such a big part of DD's life, I can't really share the enthusiasm of her love of dance with him. Also, because I am the one who goes with her to purchase shoes, leotards,talks with teachers, he is pretty left out of things, which is not good.


Any thoughts?

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Yes, Glynis, I had a few occasions with my husband, where he questioned the way dance seemed to be taking over our lives. (at least mine and DD's). And he questioned the money....

That was quite a few years ago and a couple of things changed his perspective. One, DD switched from a comp school to a more professional school. And without all those costs for the competitions, what I spent on dance actually decreased for a time. Until DD started wearing out pointe shoes with greater frequency. But by then I had foud a couple of ways to generate extra income,specifically for shoe money!


And then there was watching his daughter in professional productions..


Now he's more likely to ask "When's the next show?" and he enjoys talking about some of the company members he has seen perform. While he still shakes his head over our hectic schedule, is not done with disapproval... just bewilderment about how we can keep up!

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Oh yes glynis!! I have said before on this board that dealing with husbands/dads who don't exactly understand all this could be a thread of it own. I'm afraid I might go on for hours on that topic! :wacko: Comforting to know I'm not alone.


In all fairness to my husband though, and as frustrating as it can be, it is good to have someone in the house to help us maintain a healthy balance.

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Well since we have gone in this direction, yes, my husband and I frequently "discuss" this.

I think sometimes that leads to my lonely feelings, that there is no-one to commiserate with since I can't sound off to him. His solution is always that she should stop dancing. And since I champion her desire he thinks I will be devastated if she does. He can't believe the amount of money we spend on dancing (hitting $4,000 for two young dds this year), and the fact that if our children had chosen something else it would be just as expensive is lost on him. I think he more envisions his own childhood where his activities were all school related, therefore held at school, after school, and the parental financial committment was limited.

We attend a non-profit ballet school. And as a non-profit we are always fundraising and looking for ideas to raise money. Of course its easy for the parents to feel that the burden is on them to come up with money for these things. And I find myself volunteering and working at the ballet studio, and then defending the fundraising needs to him at home.

To his credit though, he shows up for parent work days. And for the past three years has played our DD's "father" in the party scene of Nutcracker. So when she grows up I hope she will remember those on-stage moments with her dad, not his rants at home about the cost.



The cost of ballet in addition to the time is another thing my non-dd friends can't grasp. The cost of the pointe shoes just makes the jaw drop. And things like we still have dial up internet at home, no DVR on our cable, we skipped vacation this past summer as the economy started to turn, we don't eat out, we don't have grand birthday parties for the kids, our furniture is looking ratty. Some of my friends wanted to go to Disney and thought it would be fun if we went too...but se knew they would do it on a much higher scale than we would, staying in one of the nicer resorts, whereas we would stay in the budget ones.

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My husband had a hard time accepting that our dd had chosen ballet as her passion. Through the years, we've had many discussions about how far to go in supporting her dance training. He has come completely around now, and is fully supportive of her. I think the turning point ( :P ) came when he saw her perform this past summer. She really shined (shone?) on stage, and he could see that she was becoming a dancer, rather than just a cute little girl doing her thing on stage. Her joy for dance is also infectious, and how can he resist that? He doesn't know how much dance costs, and has said he doesn't want to know. :sweating: Of course, he does know that the SI this summer cost a pretty penny, but he's also seen all the benefits (many non-dance related) that the SI gave her, so he's cool with it. :wacko:


Since dd is getting older now, friends and family seem much more understanding about her time commitment to dance. When she was just a year or two younger, there seemed to be more judgment toward me for allowing her to do that much dance - and that's when she was only doing 7 or 8 hours a week.

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Thank you karenD, bec2, trythis and LauraGG, for your response (and all others who respond).


It is odd how our dancing children's passion draw the lines within families, and among friends. One poster made a really good point that a spouses can help with maintaining "perspective" of our child's hobbies, so this is good to keep in mind. It is really easy to lose balance with the intensity of this art form.

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if that ain't a nail hit on the head...


In my situation what has helped is the age difference between my kids - the fact that the DD is 4!/2 years younger than my MS (Musical Son). So that at the point that her activity/schedule intensified, he:

A. didn't want me hanging around, B. Was happy to drive himself to his rehearsals and performances.


I made damn sure that I made it to all of MS's performances, and dragged DD to as many of them as possible. when that was not possible for DD, Dad transported her while I attended her brother's performance. He never told me much in advance and I ended up crying my eyes out at some unexpected solos. Of course he was so happy I was there. And we did make it as a family to his big performances. And he is a fabulous big brother, never missing his sister's performances. In fact, he told her once, that he was envious that she had found her passion so early. He admitted that he wished he had figured out his direction much earlier on!


Honor and balance, for all family members. So important. So difficult to achieve!

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  • 1 year later...
I know my real friends will be there through thick and thin in the end.


I went searching for this thread today. I remembered it but didn't remember that I was the one who started it. I just had a situation in my personal life with my friends, the same ones that made me post originally. We were really looking forward to the annual New Year's Eve party with these friends. But I found out at the party that they had all gotten together the night before for a low-key night, and they all had plans for New Year's day, neither of which we were invited to. I have been friends with one person in this group for over 20 years. When I called her to speak to her about it, she said that they just don't think of calling us because we can never come! She vigorously defended the friends for excluding us, with out acknowledging our hurt feelings. And I am having to accept that like Sam7 said above, a real friend would make an effort to get it. If I can't make it half the time, a real friend would still want me there the times I can.


The ironic thing is that two other members of this group have dancing daughters too, but they are younger and they haven't reached the full committment level yet. I wonder if they will remember me when they do?


Our studio printed up a t-shirt that says "Can't, I've got rehearal" on the back. So true.

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Our studio printed up a t-shirt that says "Can't, I've got rehearal" on the back. So true.



There's a group on Facebook for kids called (something like) "I'll never have a normal teenage life because I'm a dancer" which to me is both funny and appropriate.


As far as friendships go, some will get it and some won't; I've learned to minimize the dance talk with those who don't and share more with those who do and are supportive. Not surprisingly, I am closer to those and share more of everything with them, not just my child's dance life but MY life. The important thing is your child is doing what makes her/him happy and filled with joy. To be able to support that passion as a parent is a gift.

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I haven't had any problems with friends, but my SIL often throws the odd snide remark my way. When i said we had ballet exams coming up and the girls were excited about them, she said are you sure THEY want to do the exams. Well yes, I am not pushing them but her tone implied otherwise. I think she thinks I am a pushy stage door parent sometimes which I really am not. I just don't talk to her about dance stuff anymore :innocent: I think sometimes you just need to find supportive people to discuss dance with otherwise it is going to be frustrating.

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