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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Help...not a right fit?


dancersmomm

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Hello

 

Could use some advice. Daughter, 13, left a studio with not so great studio practices/environment but great friends. Now in a great environment but can't seem to fit in. No one is mean, per se, but there is a wall that can't be budged. Several new girls joined when mine did, but they came together from the same studio. A few other new ones found their way in. Watching the dynamics one day at a recent competition, I was heartbroken to watch the exclusion, then angry and frustrated as to why. This has been going on since coming last fall. I feel awful I pulled her from so many close friends at the old place, but it was the right thing to do for other reasons. Now she's with a great teacher in a positive learning environment, but very little social interaction with girls in her age group.

 

I'm serioiusly considering just having her just stop team and take classes and maybe learn a piece or two for independent competing. I'm not sure about her, but I've about had it with the whole dance team scene....

 

Thanks

Edited by dancersmomm
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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, dancersmomm!

 

I know you will find a lot of helpful thoughts from our parents here on the board, but as a teacher, I have a couple of questions first. What dance form is your daughters primary interest? Is she dancing for fun and recreation, or is she seriously interested in training for a career in dance? The answers to these questions are important before I can offer you my thoughts, and the reason they are important is because of the type of school she is in now.

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She is in a pre-professional jazz contemporary company. They do both performances and competitions. Again, the learning, teaching, and choreopgraphy is great. I have tried to stress that positive to her in getting that part out of it. She has many friends at school, but that can be limited at times due to her schedule. She's probably handling it better than I am right now, but I see the non-verbals and higher level female form of bullying going on and my heart just goes out to her. Even though it's easy to say just get in and out and enjoy the training, there is an element of socialization and teamwork that you can't help but long for being on a team.

 

Thanks for your insights!

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Okay, that helps to know that her primary focus is jazz and contemporary. The competition schools are not good for ballet, and since we are focused on ballet here, my first thought was to get her out of a competition school. However, since she is not focused on ballet, it's possible that the school is fine. Or will be, once she has made friends and is socially happier there. It takes time when one moves from one school to another, but it does usually work out.

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Thank you. She does take ballet 3x week. I guess time will tell. It's just so hard to watch your child go through it knowing there's not a whole lot you can do. :)

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Dancersmomm, if you just scroll down the page you will see a blank box for your Fast Reply. Using this, or using the Add Reply button, with give you the message box without putting in the full quote of the previous post. :)

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My DD went through a similar experience when she first joined the ballet company, as we were new not just to the studio, but the community as well.

It's extremely difficult to watch it and do nothing as a parent, but that's what I'd recommend for now, as long as there's no overt bullying. I spent many hours talking to dd about the situation and how best to handle it. I told dd not to make it easy for them to freeze her out without being obvious, so she should just get used to being the one to say "Hi" everyday and to make friendly overtures without being obnoxious about it. I operated on the assumption that they weren't really bad kids, but were just behaving in accordance with studio politics and group dynamics, and eventually they would come around. Although it was very little consolation to a then 11-year old, the group did eventually come around (with an assist by one of the "mean girls" leaving the studio) and dd is now happily part of the group. There are still days when they treat her very much like the low man on the totem pole, but she's happy that she's at least on the totem pole now!

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My DD, now 19, grew up in the same type of comp school and the middle school, early high school years were horrible. She was in the same very small studio for 10 years with approximately 25 dancers on their team aged from 7 to 17. The drama was incredible almost causing her to leave. Fortunately the drama dancers left one at a time to pursue other interests or studios or were asked to leave.

DD stayed and is now a trainee in a jazz/contemp program in NY. It definitely can get better but my heart goes out to you. I can still remember some of the hurtful things done to her like it was yesterday. In competition studios sometimes jealousy and favoritism play a part too. I know there has been some talk on another thread about YAGP and competing. For my DD, competition exposed her to a world of dance we would never have known and most importantly taught her at a very young age how many amazing dancers are out there. It only made her want to be better. Yes, it was very expensive and I questioned each year whether we were doing the right thing for her, our family, etc. But watching her on stage in NY last month was something I could never have dreamed of.

Hopefully she will find someone to bond with and if not, her love of dance will help her stay focused on what's really important to her. She had friends at her other studio so she will find some now...Good luck

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