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Ballet Talk for Dancers

first SI audition how to break the bad news


lpnlotus

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This was my 10 year old DD 1st SI audition and I just got the email she didn't get in. My heart is breaking for her. We have already decide to go to a more advanced school for better training. She starts that Feb 1st. She wanted to audition for another youth summer workshop. I am afraid if I tell her she may not want to go? Any advice. We did talk about it before the audition that not every one gets in, but still its got to hurt Thanks

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My heart goes out to you lpnlotus! And I definitely understand your situation, as I was in the same place you are. Let me share my experience: DD auditioned at that same age for a big name young dancer workshop along with a close friend from her studio. She was so excited to audition even at her young age. We planned that if she got in we would all stay together for the program length. But it was not to be because she was not accepted. And to add to the disappointment her friend WAS. To tell you she was heartbroken was an understatement. But in reality, it was a wonderful thing. It made her so strong, that now she goes to auditions and doesn't flinch whether the news is good or not so good. She knows there is always a risk and is happy to handle it. She is now almost 15, still auditions every summer and has gotten accepted into many programs since. In fact that same year she was able to try another audition at another program and was accepted to that program. I am pretty grateful she has learned a life lesson this early and will have an easy time picking herself up when she needs to. Please feel free to share with your dancer her story. I find children to be pretty resillient; I did not make a big deal about it when she didn't get accepted. We did not dwell on it.

I hope that helps a little!!!

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Dear lpnlotus,

 

My DD only began auditioning at age 11, but she has had a few rejections in the years since, as members here, who have supported so well, can attest.

No matter how much you discuss the risk beforehand, they still hurt, but over the years she will have acceptances to balance out the rejections. Sometimes, they are a wakeup call that different training is needed or some changes need to made; other times, the dancers just had a bad day (that teaches them to strive for consistency), or you just don't have the "look" of a particular program. Several times, my DD tried the following year for the same program, and was accepted!

My heart goes out to your DD, but do have her keep trying, as long as she wants to. There are not as many programs out there that will take dancers under age 12, but this experience will serve her well when she is 12 and has all kinds of options!

I just found this little quote today, from "Anthem" by Leonard Cohen, and thought I'd share during audition season, even as I check our inbox for results for DD:

"Ring the bells that still can ring.

Forget your perfect offering.

There is a crack in everything.

That's how the light gets in." Best wishes!

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So sorry to hear of your daughter's disappointment. The first one is tough. The way I handle my daughter's disappointment when she is rejected is to let her vent, hold her, just be there as she feels what she is feeling. If she says, "That's it; I'm quitting dance," I just let that one pass, saying something like, "You're really frustrated right now, and I don't blame you. If you need to take a break from it, I'm behind you 100%." Inevitably, when she cools off, she finds she does NOT want to quit, but I think it's important that she express it and that I allow her that option. After the venting comes the second-guessing ("maybe I'm not very good" "so-and-so is better than I am"). I ask her to remember why she dances. Is it for herself or for external validation? We talk about how the external validation sure is nice, but you can't base a passion on it. She tends to go back to class with an extra (earned!) layer of inner determination.

 

I'm making this sound easy, and it's not. There's lots of tears and anger and, as a parent, it's heart-breaking to watch your child go through this. But it really is only a small moment in the years that she will be dancing. If you can help her come around to this perspective -- that she got dealt a hard blow, but that it's just one moment in a lifetime and that these awful feelings of rejection will pass -- it can help.

 

My daughter was dealt a tough blow in October and got a couple of great, ego-boosting accolades in January. Sometimes you're up; sometimes you're down -- you just have to keep taking the ride. A rejection does NOT mean you should pick up your marbles and go home. It can make you tougher, something that will serve you well as you progress in your dancing (and in your life).

 

I would recommend that she audition for another program. Perhaps her new school would have an idea of where they would like her to be over the summer.

 

Best of luck to you and your daughter. Please keep us posted!

 

~boxwoodgirl

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Until a year and a half ago, I was a parent of a dancer under 13, so I think this is relevant.... ;-)

 

When my DS's teacher, who had a very nice professional dancing career, first encouraged her students (including DS) to audition for SI's a couple years ago, she sent an email out with the following text (edited to protect the innocent :lol: ), in which she did a pretty good job of trying to downplay whether the kids were accepted to any program or not:

 

"You probably have lots of questions like I did when I first started auditioning: Am I good enough? Will I get accepted? What will it cost? Can we afford it? What if it's across the country? Will my parents let me go? etc.

 

"All I can say is, you have nothing to lose and you will never know until you try.

 

"I certainly didn't get accepted to many programs I auditioned for, but kept trying until I learned to audition well and someone spotted my uniqueness. I was the very last person to be hand picked by Mr Xxxx for his A class (15 students) in City X out of a group of 100 that had been accepted to the program. I will never forget it - it was the end of class and I had resigned myself to being in the B or C group which was depressing because the friend I had come with was choosen for the A group (it has always remained funny to me that I became the ballerina and he became a xxxx). For some reason Mr Xxxxx asked to see one more combination which was turns to 5th, at the end of which he said "You little one, over here" and then proceeded to pick on me endlessly for the next 6wks! I loved every minute of it. Up till then, it had been a long series of "No thank you's" and I was beginning to lose hope.

 

...

 

"I don't think you have to have your mind set on being a dancer to get something out of these auditions or even plan on going to the summer camps. You can even look at them as an opporrtunity to take a master class and learn a little about the style of training each school uses. Some you will like, some you won't, but I can guarantee that you will come out of each audition having learned something."

 

I still try to keep the focus on how DS liked the audition class rather than how he did. Did he like the teacher? What did they do that was different? What did they do that was most difficult? Most oriented toward his strengths? Did anything funny happen? He seems to have a good attitude about the acceptances/rejections because of that, i.e., he doesn't worry about the rejections.

 

I like Mobadt's advice, too: "I did not make a big deal about it when she didn't get accepted. We did not dwell on it. "

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Would it be possible for your DD to audition for a program that is easy to get in?

Even if you chose not to attend that program, the acceptance will balance out the

rejection.

If it was me, I'd probably hold off on telling my 10 year old about rejection utill

after another audition (unless the other audition is months away, and there is plenty

of time to forget the disapointment and plenty of time to work on improving oneself).

I know it's a little bit under-handed, and I'm all for honesty but telling my DD about

rejection before the audition will make her extremely nervous and doubtfull about her

dancing abilities. I would also tell DD that she is very young, probably too young to go

to SI this year, so we will make this year a a trial year, to gain experience in auditioning

for both her and me.

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Update:

 

I told my DD that she was not acepetd and she said OK when is our next audition. Kind of funny how sometimes we worry more about our kids that we need to. She is excited to start her new ballet school. Its a classical russian ballet school. We even talked about takeing the SI from this school since its a new style and would allow her to grow as a dancer in a new style. She agreed but still wants to go to the audition next weekend. She has so many hopes and dreams I dont think she is going to let anything stop her. I am such a proud parent for putting her self out there. I can say the ladies running the audition were wonderful and she loved it. It gave her a taste of what is out there. I really think this audition is what gave her the courage to change to a more professional school. I also want to thank this community I have learned so much from this board. I did not come from a dancing background so this is foreign to me. :wink:

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The first time my DD auditioned for the college Nutcracker, she was 5 and absolutely loved the audition experience. When the letter came telling her 'thanks, but no thanks', I worried about how to tell her. Finally, I read her the letter and explained that she wasn't going to be in the ballet that year. She said, "Ok. But can I keep the letter?" She was just fine.

 

They really are much more resilient than we give them credit for. :wink: If we don't teach them to be overly disappointed by showing our own disappointment, they learn to accept things and move on, not expecting to always 'win'. The earlier they learn to be comfortable with that and not let it derail them, the better off they are.

 

DD has had quite a few 'thanks, but no thanks' in the dance world during the ensuing 15 years since that first one. Some hit a little harder than others and she vents for a day, but works it out and moves on, happily usually. She's also had quite a few 'you are it!', which often are much sweeter due to the fact that she doesn't 'win' every time. Personally, I think it builds strength, commitment, confidence, and an ability to adapt and discover who she is and what she really wants.

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I would like to second what Dancemaven has said. I read an Time Magazine article titled The Growing Backlash Against Overparenting

 

Lest all we parents read this article and have it add to our already overloaded Guilt (we all have it), let's take some things from this article and think about whether we can learn from them. Let's remember that our generation of parents is different, likely because our parents took a "hands-off" approach to parenting which many of us may have found to feel a bit rudder-less. We may have overcompensated a bit by how we have handled our children, but the great thing about it is, it's never too late to change because our children are remarkably resilient.

 

Rejection, disappointment, and loss are a huge part of life, and the earlier we help our kids to learn to cope with it the better prepared they will be for their futures.

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