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Ballet Talk for Dancers

How can I help her?


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My 12 year old DD loves her dance, she's been dancing since she was 5, and just a couple of days ago made the "I want to be a dancer" announcement.


The problem with that is that right now, is that she's lost a lot of focus and motivation.


I attended a viewing of a class the other day and was stunned at her, I've never seen her ignore corrections, or just not pay attention. She's always worked really hard, been focussed, and determined to overcome a few physical issues she has to do what she wants. She's lucky enough to have excellent training, which seems to be taken for granted right now also...and I'm at a loss.


She starts vocational grades next year, so I'm really concerned, and honestly, not prepared to give the time or support if she's going to have an attitude like this, more importantly I'm not prepared to meet the ever increasing costs that will come with the workload she'll have.

She knows all of this, I've spelled it out in very clear terms, and threatened to take it away. The couple of times I've done that she's changed her attitude, but only temporarily.


I can see a few reasons why she's lost some drive, they're nothing we/she can do anything about and she just has to deal with.


She has some time off over the Christmas break, so I'm hoping that she'll miss things a little which will kick start things for her next year, in the meantime though....is there anything I can do to help her through, is it a case of just needing a break? I really don't know.

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Hi lovestospin,


I may know what the problem is -- she's 12! Speaking directly from the trenches as a mother of a 12 year old, I think they LIVE at this age to shock us, to see how far they can push. I wonder what her attitude is in regular class, when you are not watching. Perhaps you could email one of her teachers and ask for his/her assessment of your daughter's motivation and attitude. If your daughter is like mine, she knows you invest a lot of time and money in her ballet. Therefore, it's a perfect button to push. The question is whether her attitude is just toward you or whether her teachers are seeing a change, as well. If it's the former, just try your best to ignore her. If she acts up in a future viewing, you could walk out of the classroom and tell her afterward that your time is too valuable to sit watching her misbehave. If she is having attitude and motivation problems in class even when you are not present, I think your daughter's teacher will be your best ally in terms of figuring out how to handle it and whether ballet is something she really wants to be doing just now.


Good luck! We will get through these preteen/teen years!



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My daughter is 12 as well and she has definitely discovered that her social life is very important to her in the last 6 months. Although, she still tries hard in class, she has discovered that she also likes a good old gossip at the back of the class. We and the teacher are working gently at the moment to try and remind her that if she wants to succeed, she has to cut down on the chat.

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Guest tipo'thetoes

I agree with Boxwoodgirl. 12 is a difficult age. What I would say is don't be really quick to judge. At this age girls really are seeking reassurance. When they suddenly become self aware and start to analyse themselves, comparing themselves to their friends, they become very self critical. They want to be reassured that they do have the capability and that they will be loved no matter what. Children of this age react very instantaneously. Every disappoint makes tham lose heart and wonder what the point is. Its difficult as a parent. You get frustrated by what looks like lack of commitment, when really it is lack of certainty in themselves. I'd give positive reinforcement and praise a go. See how that works.

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She might need to try a different school. If she's getting the same barre every class she may be bored. DD had a teacher ages ago that every class was the same. Needless to say that eventhough she loved ballet she wasn't keen on class with that teacher.

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Thanks for the responses so far.


DD has had the same teacher at the same school since she began dancing 7 years ago. They/we have a wonderful relationship, and yes, she has noticed the difference in her, she's had chats to me on and off about it for a few months. I wouldn't dream of moving her to a different school, she's at the best school in town with excellent training.


boxwoodgirl, I think you're right...she's 12!, when I think about it, a couple of the 14 year olds at the school lost focus etc at about the same age too, there's no stopping them now.


I've been quite ill for a great portion of the year, and been concentrating on getting myself well, so haven't been as supportive as I usually would be. I think this has been big factor in what's happened.


Now that she has time off until Feb, the plan is to work on strength and flexibility, I'll most certainly help her with this and try to make it fun. Hopefully that'll create a little more enthusiasm and re-establish the feeling of her being supported. Her teacher is expecting work to be done on certain things anyway, so if she can achieve that, and some more then I think we'll get her off to a better start next year.

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