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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Daughter considering Drill Team / Dance Team in High School


beauty of dance

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beauty of dance

Hello! Hoping to get some opinions /advice from some experienced parents who have been in the shoes that I am about to describe!

DD is 13 and will be attending a private high school that is 40 miles from where we live...she will be in a new school and will not know other kids (except 2 other students from her current school). She is a dancer who certainly has the potential and desire to dance professionally.......that is her goal and dream. She is the hardest worker at both school and dance that I know (school does not come easy for her....but her ballet goals have also caused her academic successes to go through the roof). The high school that she will be attending does have a dance team with a great reputation. She is considering auditioning for the team for the sole purpose of meeting and making friends (she is quite shy....and is not one who easily forms friendships...but once they are formed...they are lasting and true!). She is making the team aware that she will not be available during summers, as she will be involved in dance elsewhere. The high school is going to allow us to count her 15-20 hours of ballet class per week as her PE.....and the Drill team will count as her fine arts credit. The Dance team has practice in the mornings before school....and our dd will be dismissed from school in the afternoons by about 1:45 so that she can make it back to her ballet classes......She will have additional obligations with the dance team, ie: performing at sports events, pep rallies, dance team competitions in the spring, etc......

Will the benefits outweigh the additional requirements? I certainly want her to have a normal high school experience at some point.....we feel certain that she will be in a year round program by the time she is 15 or 16..(if we can bear to part with her :shrug: ) Will dance team be too much of a burden or should we let her give it a try......with the prior decision that if it turns out to be too much....we allow her to resign (i am a firm believer in....if you start something you finish it!)......

 

I know ....I know ....so many questions?????/

Just looking for some suggestions!

Thank you all in advance! I know i will get some wise and sage advice!

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Momof3darlings

I'm afraid you won't find alot of support here for encouraging Dance Team. I've tended to be one of the only ones who feels Dance Team has some validity. However, at least you can read through the older threads to see what questions were raised and how they were dealt with. Good luck to your daughter in making the decision that is right for her.

 

The pressure to participate in High School Dance Team

 

These two threads were on the Teachers forum so you can read but please do not reply:

 

Teachers asking how they can discourage dance team?

 

Teaching Junior High Dance Team Students Ballet

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From our experience....My dd started high school this year and joined the dance team to make friends and also b/c she loves to dance. I secretly never wanted her to join the team but I also knew that I did not want her to hold it over my head if she never did join b/c of my disapproval. Anyway after 2 .5 weeks she quit the team. She felt that it was to difficult to maintain the school workload, ballet all week, latin club, and dance team. She also felt that technique was seriously lacking on the dance team. I normally would never allow her to quit but in this case she was clearly exhausted and she recognized that her schoolwork would only increase over time as well as her ballet hours as rehearsals for performances would come along eventually.

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I'm afraid you won't find alot of support here for encouraging Dance Team.

 

Me! Me! I'll do it. :shrug:

 

I'd say this about any activity, not just Dance Team specifically. If your daughter wants to try something new, why not? There are many benefits to stepping outside of an intense activity (just as there are many benefits to doing an activity intensely).

 

My DD discovered fencing last year. She has had a very hard time balancing the two activities this year; varsity competition coincided with Nutcracker, and with rehearsals for an early spring show. We worked out that she would not compete until Nutcracker was over, but that in January all conflicts would be resolved in favor of fencing. (This latter decision probably cost her the lead in the show.)

 

Long story short, she has loved being part of the team. She has loved the practices, and making new friends, and traveling to tournaments, and cheering on her teammates, and doing a little bit better herself at each competition.

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I'm with Treefrog!

 

My daughter is balancing school activities with ballet as a freshman in high school. It's busy, but she has gained so much by being involved in a different type of dance with new kids. It has exposed her to jazz and 'broadway type' dancing that she probably would not have experienced if she did nothing but ballet.

 

They may be 'ballet kids', but they're kids. They should experience everything they want to try.

 

Good luck to you and your daughter as you make these decisions!

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Mine did Orchesis last year as a freshman, which is not the dance team but rather the school dance company. It was to give it a try and she was cast in some nice parts there due to her training. She asked to have fewer dances, and this was accomodated. In the end, it turned out not to be the right thing for her, but she stuck it out and performed in the spring show. It didn't really happen to conflict with her ballet classes, but she simultaneously went out for the track team and was a varsity high jumper, and that conflicted hugely with Orchesis. It was a great learning experience, because, while she was good at both of these things, she wasn't giving either as much time as was expected, so she ended up feeling very torn. This year she won't be doing Orchesis because she has lots of opportunity to dance and she really loves high jump so she'll be working that around her ballet schedule. Luckily the coach is quite happy to have her just jump and not do the running, which does not suit her knees.

 

I will also say that it is difficult to resign from these things. Once you are involved, the choreography includes you and it is unfair to others to quit. So I wouldn't approach it with the idea that you can quit if it doesn't work out--rather than making friends through dance she may find herself making enemies.

 

So like Treefrog, I say give it a shot if it's what your daughter wants to do, but plan on sticking it out for the season. Trying new things is part of what these years are for.

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beautry of dance The time committment required of your dd's dance team sounds more extensive than the one my dd was on since it was only during the football season. My dd was on the dance team her freshman and sophomore years She loved being a part of school and we loved going to the games to watch her dance. (Oh yeah, and the football too.) It was hectic for several months but she made it work--keeping her grades up as well as trying to get in enough dance hours.

 

Going into her junior year she decided that she didn't want to continue. I think it was a combination of things that caused her to make this decision (stress, friends leaving, SAT/ACTs, etc.) She still went to the football games but as a fan, watching others do the halftime show.

 

After graduation I asked her if there was anything she would change about her high school years. The only thing she said she would change was quitting the dance team and if she could do it again she would have stayed.

 

Being on the dance team helped my daughter to become a part of high school right away. There was a lot of work but there was also the sense of belonging, not only to the dance team but also the school. She had a "normal", "ordinary" high school experience which is what we wanted for her. Those are years and experiences you can never get back.

 

If she had to do it again, I too wish she wouldn't have left the dance team.

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beauty of dance

Wow! What a wonderful group of responses and suggestions for past threads! My prayer for dd is for her to search her heart and her priorities and decide what will work best for her.....I believe that in the long run she will forgo the dance team...because her love for the ballet is soooooo strong! She wont do anything to slow down her progress....or put her into a situation of potential injury! I think she is fearful of being in a new situation, new school, and feeling lost! She has been in a private pre-k through 8th grade school.....and has been with basically the same kids all the way through! All of her current friends know that her love for the ballet is priority over just about everhthing else....and they accept it....I think she fears that it will be more difficult to make friends in this new larger setting. Her way to communicate and be "herself" is through dance! I think this is why she is considering the dance team! She feels like she will have a lot to contribute! I certainly understand where she is coming from.....

Just this afternoon she mentioned that her ballet teacher.....will not be happy with her if she does join the dance team. She puts a lot of weight into his opinion of her as well! As parents of teenagers, we have to give them the "room" to make decisions....and we just pray that they are the best ones! I think I will help her by encouraging her to look at all of the pros and cons of both directions!

 

Thank you all for your many comments and suggestions to this point! Please keep them coming! I will keep you posted as we go through this "discernement" process!

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ddsupportteam

Another parent weighing in to say YES! It is hard for girls whose primary interest is not shared by her school peers to fit in and be part of the group. Class, rehearsals and performances make it difficult to hang out after school or be part of the day to day social scene of high school. The dance team is a way for your dd to be part of the school community in an area where she has strengths. She'll meet girls who like to dance, and even though ballet world may be a bit foreign, they'll at least respect and understand what she does and why it matters to her. She'll be overqualified for the team, which will help her relax and have fun and will probably balance some of the shyness and make it easier to make friends. If she tries it for a season and really can't make the commitment work, she can find a way to bow out gracefully, but will have made friends and been part of her school world. If she decides she needs to concentrate on ballet and can't be involved in school activities, she'll also have a clear understanding of what she's giving up and won't always wonder if she should have made another choice. Or she may decide that as much as she loves to dance, she doesn't want to do it to the exclusion of all the other things high school and the bigger world have to offer.

Good luck and I hope your daughter has a wonderful year - whatever her decision.

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I too will weigh in with a yes. DD has something of the opposite since she is at a performing arts school with a classical ballet program and does theatre outside of this. There has been stress and sometimes I feel like she should just bag it all, but she has learned to negotiate people, schedules and many other balancing acts. And she has different sets of friends from both, with some overlap, that have enriched who she is.

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Dance companies, cheer leading, and High School athletics have been things my DD's did not get involved with. The main reason being that in their ballet studio any activity that could potentially cause an injury was avoided. If a dancer is serious about his or her training the sacrifices start young and continue, at least in our studio that has always been the expectation. That doesn't mean many a dancer hasn't been involved in all of the above mentioned activities, many have, they just keep it quiet. The fall out from being found out can be unpleasant. I have known more than one dance company girl have to take serious amounts of time off due to sprains, stress fractures and tendinitis. It's proven to be an unfortunate way of being caught. It's not right or wrong for a child to pursue any activity in school, some just aren't compatible with working towards a career in ballet. As always it's all about choices and no one can tell you what is right for you and yours. I do believe the phrase 'A Jack of all trades a master of none', is a very real one for those who try everything. Ballet is a discipline that is a cruel and jealous task master. Good luck with your decision making.

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Pulled ileopsis, tendonitis of the psoas, severe tendonitis of the hip flexors, possible labreal tear, broken toe, patellar tendonitis, sprained ankle...ballet has the potential for injury also, as does life in general. Keeping her from doing things to prevent possible injury? Might as well keep her in the house (where DD fell down the stairs and sprained her ankle two days before Nutcracker- with family coming to see her in Chinese and Snow- and yes, she danced!)

 

We suffered through many tears during freshman year due to no friends in school, no social life, nobody to be "BFF" with. Sophomore year involved a different dance schedule which allowed for DD to participate in a couple of afterschool activities. She is busier, as stressed as ever, but happier. Many of her equally-committed dance friends have become involved with track, drama, diving, dance teams, etc. Some compromise rehearsal time, some compromise ballet time. All are strong ballerinas who attend SI's and have professional aspirations/potential. Most find that while this satisfies their social/school needs, they return to ballet for the love of dance above all else. Those who don't, still find their way. I would let her try out dance team. Of the kids I know who've tried dance team at either the college or high school level, all soon found they were much more talented than the team could provide an outlet for- basicaly they were bored with the "wiggle and jiggle" dance technique found on many football fields! Let her try it, though...especially for dancers, childhood is so short!

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Ballet Fanatique

Another yes! The transition to high school can be very difficult - especially when you feel alone and unknown. Being part of a group like the dance team gives you an instant set of friends, which quickly expands. Our children grow up so quickly and have so many responsibilities so young. I believe that high school is definitely to be enjoyed (and let's face it - sitting in a classroom is not all that much fun), not just tolerated while you do some other activity.

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As the mother of a freshman in high school, I though I should chime in. At the beginning of the year, my daughter felt a little lost in her new high school. She could never participate in a sport because she dances everyday after school and weekends have been for rehearsals. She knew only a few kids coming in. She had no immediate group of friends (other than ballet friends) until she joined the dance team in January. Of course, she is over qualified for the dance team. And that in and of itself, provides an opportunity for leadership. Yesterday the team coach was out and asked my daughter to run the rehearsal along with a couple of other seniors. It helps her to feel like she is an important part of the school and will hopefully make her high school more enjoyable and 'normal'. I don't know how long she will stay with it because it is frustrating to dance with many who are non dancers. However, in the meantime, she tried it and is having fun. The school loves her dance team so it makes her feel very happy. My one piece of advice for her is not to do anything "stupid" for a ballet dancer. She will not be the one climbing or doing acrobatics. Ballet is and will continue to be her one passion. And ballet has provided her the opportunity to participate in something social at school. I will continue to support her decision to be on the dance team as long as it is still fun for her. I agree that our kids work incredibly hard and it is nice for them to have this fun outlet! :unsure:

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I'm going to add another plug for joining SOMETHING in high school. My DS attends a very large public high school. He had a difficult time his freshman and sophomore years, but this year, he decided to try out for the school musical. I was reluctant because he is so busy with ballet. However, even though his schedule is horrendous, he is so much happier than he has been in past years. It has done wonders for his confidence, and he has met so many people at school. I think the earlier she does something like this, the better. (as long as the dance team isn't doing anything physically that might be at odds with her ballet trianing).

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