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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Unsupportive parents


Guest NatDancer

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Guest NatDancer

My parents are very unsupportive of my dancing. They agree that it is a good thing for me to do every once in a while as a hobby, much like playing chess or being on the swim team. I am a good kid, so they humor me and compromise the amount of classes I am allowed to take ( I would like to take five or six a week during the school year and go away in the summer, they let me take 3-4 classes a week during the school year and let me do an intensive workshop at my school during the summer). However, they do not agree that it is a good thing for me to do as a career and tell me that I probably won't make it, even though they RARELY come see me dance (once or twice a year) What I was wandering is if anyone else has this problem, and what they did or are doing to talk their parents around.

THANKS

Luv

Natalie

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Natalie, I think there are a lot of young dancers in your position, unfortunately. The biggest problem here is that they are preventing you from getting the training that you need in order to be able to make this decision. I would suggest that you first have a meeting with your teacher in terms of your realistic potential for a career in ballet. If she is supportive of this, then ask her to arrange a meeting with your parents and present the facts of life about intensive training to them.

 

There is good reason for parents to be hesitant about wanting their children to enter the ballet world professionally. These would of course include the fact that there are far fewer jobs than there are dancers, as well as the relatively poor pay scale for all but the dancers in the largest companies. That said, I hold firmly to the belief that a person must have final say on what he or she plans to do with their life. No one else HAS to SUPPORT it, although it is certainly to their credit if they do, but it should not be anyone's place to discourage a young person from following their passion - IF that passion has a realistic potential for development. That IF is a big one, though. If the talent AND the training are not there, there is no hope, and therefore one must recognize that. That does not mean they should not continue to study and dance and perform, but it does mean they should seriously consider looking at other interests in the long term.

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My parents are the same. But mine even threaten to not pay for my lessons. I talked my parents around by offering to use my savings to pay for lessons. That's when they realised i was serious. I NEVER spend my money so it was a shock to them to see me willing to spend it. I'm still trying to figure out how to talk them around to letting me take 6 classes a week starting in september.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest BBNButterscotch

My mother was the same way at first. I didn't begin dancing until I was in my second half of high school, even though the interest was there much earlier. Why? Because I had to pay the tuition for classes myself, and I needed a job to afford it. Luckily, once you get to college, it gets much easier. I pay for all my classes and supplies, and you have a car to transport yourself. Even if you can't do dance as a major or become a pro, there are many other ways to stay active in dance. You can major in something else and minor in dance. Or join a small local dance company. I still aspire to local our school's small company, even though I am in college majoring in Biological Psychology. Keep up your dreams! :(

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Guest Nadezhda

Natalie-

I have the same problem, but there are 2 further obstacles. My parents won't even allow me to take 4 classes a week. I have never been to a summer intensive because our studio does not offer that. What is worse is that there is NO school in my town (the capital of my country) where I could take DAILY classes as a recreational dancer (that means I am not going to become a professional). AND maybe the studio I am currently in is going to be closed. This studio is the best place where I could get my lessons.

 

I understand your position and am very sad this is happening to you too, but maybe you should first know that what you have is not so little. Then, having realised that you've got to figure WHY your parents don't want you to dance as many as 6 classes a week even if you're not becoming a professional. There are many girls out there who are taking 6 classes a week but will not go pro. I wish there is something I could advise you to do, but not knowing your parents, that is hard.

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  • 5 weeks later...
Guest Sassybeaver

Hey I know how it feels. My parents aren't that supportive of my dancing. They think that only gay guys dance and I shouldn't. Another obstacle is that they don't like spending a lot of money on my dance classes. I have to make sure i take good classes. What gets me through it is praying that they will support me more. We all support you because we are writing back.

 

Good luck and fun dancing,

Adrien

 

 

Dance is life....and life is beautiful

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My parents were not supportive of my dancing when I was in middle school and high school. I did more dancing in college because they didn't have to take me to class or keep my dinner warm. Starting in my junior year of college I didn't dance as much because I had to do a lot of studying.

Now I have just graduated. And I will be dancing for another year or so full time--about 10-12 classes a week.

If you don't want to go pro, I think it's okay to dance more later. What you need to do is keep your body in shape during college with working out at the gym, taking yoga and Pilates, etc. I even did the rowing machine.

I know that some schools don't take older (18+) students, but there are some that do. I would ask around without using too much of your name. At some places, you may be able to lie about your age, but you may need your parents to sign everything even when you are over 18.

There are opportunities to dance as an adult if you do not make it professionally. Some regional ballet companies, such as Ithaca Ballet and Toledo Ballet, sometimes take adult dancers into their companies meant for high school aged dancers.

I hope I have been helpful.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Medora

I know EXACTLY how you feel. The only difference is that I am allowed to take as many classes as I want at my studio. Still, as of now my parents will not even consider letting me audition for a summer intensive. They don't want to pay for it and won't even let me audition because they do not think I have the talent or potential to even possibly get a scholarship, even though my two dance teachers, one of which studied at the American Ballet Theatre School along time ago and the other that studied under the first and at Joffery and The Washington Ballet School think I do. My teacher has been the best person in the world to me though. When I told her this, she said that she wouild drive me to Washington to audition herself if that's what it will take :(. I just hope that I can work this out with Mom and Dad.

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Guest Watermill

As a parent of a young dancer (14 years/8 yrs dacing) I have observed this friction between other students and parents not a few times. I would just echo Victoria's wise advice: have your teacher talk to your parents. It's not that they don't believe you, or love you, but this stuff costs a lot of money and they're concerned about your future. A professional consultation with your teacher on an adult to adult basis is the best way to move your parents forward. Just remember: there's no guarantee the teacher is going to agree with your plans, but at least you stand a chance.

 

There sometimes develops a kind of dismissive (and I think disrespectful) attitude on the part of some parents toward dance.

They don't realize how dance is helping to grow healthy bodies and minds. Not to mention the valuable lessons in discipline and team work. (Always throw in a sports metaphor for particuliarly tough cases...I remember one stubborn Dad's eyes lighting up when I referred to his son's intense last minute rehearsal as a "full court press") Try showing them an article from Pointe or Dance Magazine, or from a book (or even print a thread from Ballet Talk!). Reach out to them.

Keep your dreams alive...Some day they'll get it. But it's up to you to show them: through your dedication, hard work and communicating your needs. And a little compromise can help:

offer to do this (fill in the blank) if they'll let you dance more.

 

Hang in there!

 

Watermill

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Now, ordinarily, I would take down this immediately preceding post, as it is NOT from a Young Dancer, but I think it says important things about parents and teachers relating to one another. Therefore, I'll leave it up, but parents, please leave the Young Dancer threads to the Young Dancers and the moderators, or if you feel you must post, send Ms. Leigh or me a PM first for permission, please.

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