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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Parenting the male dancer who has an off day


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Our son is 17 and dancing at a ballet school with a professional company. He has become strong enough to support the ballet during professional productions and is well liked. We're in the middle of Nutcracker season as so many are at this date. He had a YAGP coaching session yesterday after being away from the variation for a few weeks due to the performance/rehearsal schedule for Nut. It was a rough session by his account, and he gets down on himself. I attempt to help him get some perspective about it, but wonder what guidance there is for dancers who will ALL have off days from time to time given the human condition. He acknowledges that he has high standards for himself. I've suggested that he speak with one of the professional male dancers, but he is a bit reluctant to do so. Any experience and thoughts are welcome.

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Firstly, those sessions can be rough because the dancer is being introduced to material with the intent being "to compete" with it. Normally, dancers are taught variations to perform them- not to compete against their fellow dancers. See if he can at least while in training, try to think of it as it's just another piece he's going to perform. Let the competition mindset come in later!

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One of my daughter's coaches used to say in his beautiful Russian accent, "Tomorrow is another day."


Having had a son who competed, I will tell you this is not uncommon. It will take a few sessions to get the variation "back in his body" because he has been concentrating on other things. I hear this from both my children, even now, as professional dancers. Comments like "I've been dancing Kylian for the past two weeks, and now I have to rehearse Aurora or Franz (or whatever other part they haven't touched in awhile.)" "It's not in my body." There are many aspects to competition as we all know and have debated frequently on these boards, but what Clara says is true. Help him to see this as another opportunity to perform and improve himself. IMO, that's the best part of competition.


In addition, as we all know, dancers are pretty hard on themselves. They continue to strive for perfection. He is probably, as you say, being harder on himself than he need be, but this is pretty par for the course.

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Thank you Clara 76 and its the mom, I appreciate the confirmation of my mother's gut. We're doing our best to frame YAGP as an educational event rather than focusing on the achievement/end result of a good score.

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Gee, sounds just like my son. His mood goes up and down regularly, part of that is being a dancer and part of it is being a teengaer going though puberty. The best I can usally do is just listen to him and let him know we support him.

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