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Daughter wanting to quit after SI rejection


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Hi--I'm new here so this issue may have been addressed elsewhere. My DD is 14 (almost 15). I believe the training has been good since her teachers credentials are good.


Here is the problem: DD dances about 12 hours a week plus jazz and modern. Since the studio is small this year she was in the corps and the china doll in the Nutcracker. She/We have felt there is noticeable favoritism toward a couple girls her same age, making her discouraged. She has just auditioned and got accepted to ABT Texas but not Joffrey Chicago nor Miami CIty Ballet. (we don't have results from 2 others) She is making the assumption that she is behind, not good enough and thinking there is no way she can be a professional.


When she considers the favoritism, the fact that she is taking about as many classes as are available an not getting accepted to MCB especially she is thinking of quitting.


My questions are: Is she thinking correctly when she says that she just must not be good enough?

Do I allow her to make the decision or nudge her to persevere? I can see that she has lost a lot of her joy in dancing in the past 1.5 years. Since we live in the outer suburbs of DC changing schools would be extremely time consuming and I have another child and her activities to consider.


Any help with how to guide her would be greatly appreciated.

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This is a funny age justmom, so many dancers peel away at early high school. My own DD battled favoritism and self esteem issues at 14, multiple injuries at 15, and had to work really hard to set her mind to this continued pursuit. She is now 16. She's had years of great opportunity over the summer and yet this year the SI hunt has felt far more competitive. Some of it is her age, I believe, but some of it is also that there are more and more dancers out there auditioning for these programs. Miami and Joffrey Chicago are highly competitive programs, so not getting in is more common that the alternative.


As you read through many of the threads on this board, you will begin to discover that it takes all kinds of experiences, good and bad, to build a successful dancer. Sometimes it's the one no one expected to go anywhere that works hard and finds opportunity. Those that don't make it (and there are many) don't necessarily lose out, they still have the benefit of all of the other great aspects of dance training, including discipline, physical well-being and being part of a community.


If the current school feels wrong, then look for other options, but not before sitting down with your daughter and your AD to discuss your daughter's aspirations and ask the AD for advice on how to achieve them. A summer away, anywhere, could also give her another perspective in which to evaluate where she is in the broader context. The other thing to begin to explore, which is difficult for these bunheads, is other forms of dance, while keeping the ballet training in play. While the dance world is small, the more versatile/open minded, perhaps more opportunities.


There are others on this board that are far more experienced than I, but your post touched me so, I felt it was important to let you know some of our experience. The peaks and valleys happen to all of us. It's just so much more difficult to deal with as an adolescent girl. The important thing now is to help her find her passion again ... and try not to put as much weight on the status issues.


Best of Luck!

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It sounds as if she is thinking of normal teenage things and that includes how much time she is devoting to something she feels she is not getting a return on. Now, I have no idea if that is the case or not, I just know that I've seen many a teenager go through similar emotions from time to time. And they will weigh things out in different manners, but they all seem to do a bit of weighing things out that can befuddle mom.


Sounds like she had her heart set on MCB either for specific reasons of her own and that's okay. Remind her that she has 2 more audition results to gain and that if she chooses to go away, she has options to do so. But the choice is hers. Maybe a conversation with her teacher about what her strengths and weaknesses are and what if anything the results of her audition season mean for her. It's also important that she focus on what attention she gets and what instruction she gains in class. Sometimes there is favoritism and sometimes that is just perception. You will have to help her weigh that out. I don't like to see any dancer quit immediately after SI season. They need time to slow down, consider all their options and decide if they truly want to stop dancing or if their heart is simply hurt based on how they had things planned out in their head.

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justmom your post touched me, too. I have an almost 13-year-old daughter. I stepped over to this forum because we are dealing with similar issues. My daughter LOVES her dance school. I feel she is recieving a very strong foundation that pays so close attention to perfectionism that she is behind the talent curve for many girls her age, Except the one or two who are favored, are bumped up a level, and given every solo opportunity for their actual age group and the level above (where they currently dance). These girls are not bettter technically than the few girls at the top of each of the 2 levels that show some promise of becoming professional dancers. However, I have noticed they have grown as dancers in their stage presentation, confidence, and overall artistic expression based on the solo opportunities offered them and the one on one coaching.


This is blatant favoristism based on the preference of the artistic director and choreographer. Is it fair to focus on 1 or 2 girls at each level? What message is this sending to the other girls? There are 30 or so other girls in these age groups that are not getting featured roles over the course of 4 years and we are supposed to just watch this transpire before our eyes? Many of these girls just take it and some of the more talented girls are branching out and looking for SI's and alternate training. We're finding that the overall training is good and could result in a better outcome for the dancers who show promise, if all were given the same opportunites.


My daughter actually made it into a highly competitive SI over a girl in the level above her. they auditioned in the same age bracket. I have not told her current school these results. Have kept it quiet because for confidential reasons regarding the other girl. I have been wanting my daughter to move up a levell as she appears to be one of the stronger girls in er group and I have been told from other dance moms who seem to know what their talking about that she needs to move up.If anything, being held back, not promoted and not given opportunity to train at her highest potential will crush her spirit in the long run.My daughter made it into a very high acclaimed SI last summer. she was the youngest of her age bracket. This year 2013 she did not make it into this same SI and she was older and auditioned in the same age bracket as last year.She made it into others, but the results of this one was very telling. I think she is behind the talent curve and I beleive it is based on the restricted training. While I don't think her school is hurting her and teaching her bad habits, I feel she needs to progress in dance. She still loves dance, is happy at her current school. she doesn't understand she needs more if she still hopes to be competitive i todays professional dance world.Feed back?

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I have found that even favorites don't feel that way. Casting often has to do with many factors that dancers have no control over (how they look with group, certain steps featured, size of costume...) Also, it is essential to have strong dancers in the corps. You can hide flaws in a solo but not when you have several other dancers on both sides to compare.


As far as SI auditions, it is also highly subjective and no indication at this point of her potential. At age 14, she most likely is just finishing a couple years of growth or is in the midst of them. When you look at the 14 year old age groups there are those who still look like girls and those who look like they could be headed for college. While dancers are growing, they "lose" and regain skills constantly as muscles tighten and lengthen again and their center changes. Part of the reason I am glad that my dds dance(d) at this age is the life skills they learn - auditioning, performing, perserverance, teamwork, accepting criticism, maintaing their self esteem...


Check out Open World or other international SIs as an option. My daughter went to Russia for SI two years ago and she was transformed and it gave her a completely different level of passion for dance.

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Also, one of the stronger dancers at our studio has had the following ABT results as just a sample. Age 11 accepted. Age 12 waitlisted, later accepted. Age 13 rejected. Age 14 accepted.

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I generally discourage the belief in whether something is favoritism or not based on casting. I also discourage any parent from feeling that an SI acceptance is a "see I told you" moment in regards to the other dancers at their school. SI acceptances can tell you alot. Placement can tell you alot. As can asking the child where they felt they were in the scheme of the class they were in at the SI and how that made them work: harder, more diligently, a bit of a slack off, etc. Yes, depending on the individual circumstance, an SI acceptance can be an "aha" moment within the walls of ones own studio. We had that early on also when an AD stated to another mom/desk worker, that DD didn't have a chance in....well, you know... to get into her first SI and considered her 2nd acceptance a fluke as well. But the reality of that, is even though she came back much stronger and with different opinions of her than her first studio, that did not diminish that there were still other very talented dancers at the home studio.


What I find funny is that when there were older dancers at our first studio, we all had a list of those favored. Yes, there were some for reasons other than their dancing. Then as my DD moved up there were people who thought she was favored. Funny thing is, this is the same studio where the owner and AD consistently told my daughter that she was not a fit for ballet but might be a good dancer on Broadway or with Ailey. Same AD who stated what I did in the first paragraph. If you asked me during that time if DD was favored there, I would have laughed in your face quite loudly. However, in talking with a dear friend from that time about the good old days, she laughed that I thought DD wasn't favored as her perception was that she very much was. Favor to her meant parts. Favor to me meant rule breakers who didn't show up for rehearsal but got to keep their parts when if DD didn't show up hers was taken away. And for those who were known troublemakers in the school whose deeds got overlooked while no praise was offered to those who were rule followers.


Fast forward to the school she graduated from (yes we left the old one) where there was not as much disparity in the levels of dancers within a class and people still thought there was favor. However, I rarely saw any. There were enough dancers to share the wealth of parts when there were multiple parts but when it came down to things like Nutcracker or Coppelia where there were only a few solos or pas, then only a few could be cast. We are blessed though that it was one of those schools where you only got to perform the lead for one or two shows and the rest of the time you were corp. Because the ability to dance well in corp is what served her most in her road to dancing lead roles as a professional. Over the years, those Trainees who could not dance corp have not fared well at either of the companies DD danced for. It is those Trainees who could dance corp, blending and adapting who are the ones who have progressed up the ladder in both companies more easily. The ones who were only used to solos at the home school struggled a good bit. So embrace a bit of the favoritism if the SI acceptances are showing something different. It may just be the thing that serves your dancer the most.

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This is blatant favoristism based on the preference of the artistic director and choreographer. Is it fair to focus on 1 or 2 girls at each level? What message is this sending to the other girls? ....Many of these girls just take it and some of the more talented girls are branching out and looking for SI's and alternate training.



We've been on all sides of this situation. Ages 11-13, dd was on of those "favorite" students at her school. At 14, she was suddenly not a favorite. The reason had nothing to do with her talent, work ethic, attendance, puberty and it's affect on the body, or motivation. It was a business decision of the school. As others have said, there can be many reasons that others are favored. My dd did move on to another school. On another thread, there is a piece of advice that has stuck with me. "Go where you are cherished, not tolerated." This is what dd did. As far as messages to any other student. Let the other student parents worry about their own individual child. It's important for you and your child to develop blinders when it comes to the best training for your child and later, the best company. I don't mean to sound callous and I am from time to time outraged at favoritism. I still fume when I learn of dancers/students who are favored for reasons other than their ability to dance a role but I'm learning to accept that it happens and our dd must be successful the old fashioned way: she must earn it, there is no golden ticket for her.


Honestly, it was good for dd to have experienced being left out of featured roles at school. Did it hurt? Yes. Did it bother us as parents? Absolutely. Does it happen everywhere? Yes, there were favorites at dd's new school, although every student did have opportunities at featured roles. The students learned patience and that their time would come. DD's school was a highly competitive school to gain admission to and every student expected and was expected to become a professional dancer so it made perfect sense that every single student would have the opportunity to be featured (but not at the same time). Now as a professional, you can bet she experiences casting disappointments. It's part of being a performing artist. Sometimes, the choices for roles just don't make any sense to her but it's just a waste of time to worry about every single casting disappointment. She's found that it helps to make goals at the beginning of each year. She writes them down and keeps them with her at all times. She takes stock of her opportunities more generally. Has the year provided her with opportunities to grow as an artist, to learn new styles of choreography and to meet her goals? If so, and if she's offered the opportunity to stay, then she stays. If not, she will start to see what other companies might provide an environment for her to grow and become a better professional dancer. This approach makes single disappointments seem less important. Take one year at a time, see if the year provided opportunities to meet goals and have a plan to address deficiencies and improve on successes. Don't forget to make sure that the overall goal of dancing professionally hasn't changed either: teenagers have the right to change their mind and change course, so do young adults (even if they are professional dancers)!


edited to address the topic related to SI rejection:


Sometimes acceptances/rejections to SI's just don't make sense. Same goes for company auditions. At the end of the day, the best training you can find is the only constant that will make a difference. That and persistence and a little luck too.

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If I can just add this: Don't get too wrapped up in level placement. I know, it is much easier said than done. As long as the training is good, it really doesn't matter in the grand scheme who made it to the advanced class first. I see so many dancers and so many parents focus so much energy and angst because so and so was moved up and DD wasn't. Turn that angst to action and focus that energy inward in a positive way to make the most of the situation. Dig your roots in deeper & grow.

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I love the last two lines of your post swanchat! It pretty much sums up SI accptances/rejections for EVERYONE. Remember, an audition is just a snapshot of your DK's ablitiy....It is one class, on one day, at one time...not the total picture. My DK had a bad audition a few weeks ago...and.....as it turned out ....was diagnosed with the flu the next day. Some students have audition anxiety, and some students "perform" better than they present themselves in an average class! We have to teach our kids to learn from every experience.


If she still loves dance...power through this! ....Because this audition season will soon be history.... and she will grow as a person AND a dancer! Everything happens for a reason....As you watch her dance in th future....it will certainly be worth it!

Edited by andydancemom
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Just a note that I've edited the original member's post to remove information that might have led to far too many members figuring out location. Only that portion of her post has been removed and she will be notified.

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Thank you all for your insightful comments. There is a lot of wisdom in what you have said. I appreciate your taking the time to help us maneuver this complicated world.

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Thank you for all the in put and for sharing your experiences with favoritism and SI results, etc...It seems this thread has taken a turn from the original topic. My Daughter Wants to Quit after SI Results. There's a link somewhere in Ballet Talk and I can't find it just now. But I think it falls under the category How to Face Rejection. About comparing a periwinkle dress to your classic navy blue. Check it out. I think Victoria pinned it so it's easy to find.


Re- Favoritism ...I understand it can be anywhere. But when the school starts messing with level of training and who they decide to promote or move to the next level to justify their decisions is when it starts to interfere with a dancers equal opportunity to train at the level she deserves to. It's time to start looking for another school.
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But when the school starts messing with level of training and who they decide to promote or move to the next level to justify their decisions is when it starts to interfere with a dancers equal opportunity to train at the level she deserves to. It's time to start looking for another school.



I think I'd phrase it just a bit differently. The "messing with level of training and who they decide to promote" is in reality a part of the school's job. So best to say that when a parent no longer believes that a school is the best fit of training, temperament and financial standing for their child and the child is ready to find better (not equal) training elsewhere, then it time for a family to weigh their options. That can happen in a sort of glass ceiling level placement, but it may also mean that in order to protect the level of the next level up, not everyone gets to move up simply because they've danced together since they were babies. What's hard is that sometimes admittedly there truly can be a glass ceiling of sorts for no good reason. But other times, there is a reason and one that isn't so fun to look at. This is stated with no understanding of your personal situation. But, it's important to understand that part of a school's charge is to promote some students to the next level and leave others in the same level for a time. Your charge is to determine if there was something sinister in that or simply that it isn't a feel good moment if and when it happens.

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