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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Daughter wanting to quit after SI rejection


justmom

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I've been reading through this thread and remembering and reliving all the heartache and angst that you and your dds are going through right now. All so eloquently written... :yes: Hang in there!

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My 15 year old dd experienced declines from her top 3 choices which were the first 3 auditions of the season, all 3 of which she has either attended or been accepted to year after year. A true punch in the stomach. Our discussions were similar to all of the posters above. Her ADs advice was mostly that these rejections are a drop in the bucket of life to come as a dancer. You need a tough skin and if you only want to continue when it is easy, then ballet is not right for you. Also, that we don't remotely know what the auditioner was looking for. They may have not taken anyone in her age range for various reasons. Also, the mid puberty years are sort of like no-man's land. Body in transition, AD's no longer looking for only potential, they want solid technique, competing for spots against an older group of dancers, etc Even with all the excuses, we talked a lot about the areas she needed to evaluate, her natural ability, her training and her work ethic. Once we evaluated all 3 areas, we realized that this was a good year to have gone through this process. She either has lots of work ahead of her or she can do something else. Either way it is her choice and her journey. With our family budget in mind, I had to remind her that if she wasn't completely committed, there were lots of other things she could do with her time and our money. She has chosen to jump back in and make a go of the hard work ahead of her.

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Thanks everyone. My daughter is nearly 13 and we are going through some emotions currently, as well. I appreciate you sharing. I think when your child is so passionate about something and they have been for many years, change and uncertainty (like a new studio) or SI auditions and replies (both acceptance and declines) can stir up those emotions.

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As posted here and as I am sure you can find many stories with a bit of research, there do exist late bloomers.

 

I think it is possible to learn flexibility, technique and musicality in the next few years.

 

All those skills are required to become a professional dancer.

 

But equally important is that inner strength to continue with the work even knowing you are not there YET. You must have the focus to realize there will always be dancers better than you in many different areas, yet continue with daily classes and learning. There must be resolve to believe in yourself throughout rejection.

 

There probably is a point where one either accepts defeat or it just is not in the cards. But SI rejections from some of the top schools at age 14 cannot be it. If she folds that easy then there is no hope. Being upset, discouraged and maybe even a little angry is completely acceptable. Quitting is not.

 

Quitting means she ended the dream. If she wants to latch on to a new one, that is fine too. After all, she is 14. But quitting would be her decision, not the SI's fault. If her dance school is still wiling to teach and she is capable of continuing to try, then she is responsible for the decision.

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Even for parents, this whole classical ballet training process is a rollercoaster! I know there are times I worry about all of the time, effort, money, priority, energy, sacrifice, relationships, and did I say money, that is dedicated to or affected by the dream. I have worried if DD is giving up too much of just being a regular kid and if she (along with our whole family) is sacrificing too much. So if a parent can feel all the ballet turmoil, then of course the dancer him/herself feels it a thousand-fold worse! I have had low moments, and my DD has never even expressed quitting or being unhappy...dancing is all she's ever wanted to do. But even though there are lots of benefits of advanced traning, if I knew for certain that she would never make it as a pro, I would definitely have our family chill out, slow down, and just do this at a less intense, recreational level. This level is hard. Hard for the whole family. But I keep dreaming right along with her, and keep on chugging forward. I guess my point is that even the "dance moms" get discouraged too, but our children see our example of not giving up. We're their support. I can't imagine what it must feel like to be them...all of the hard work, balancing dance and academics, having everyone judge you, your body and appearance, the comparison game (that is inevitable to happen no matter how much they tell themselves not to)...They will look to us to see how we tough things out. Luckily, I've always been a determined person.

Edited by Cupid
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There probably is a point where one either accepts defeat or it just is not in the cards. But SI rejections from some of the top schools at age 14 cannot be it. If she folds that easy then there is no hope. Being upset, discouraged and maybe even a little angry is completely acceptable. Quitting is not.

 

 

Quitting means she ended the dream. If she wants to latch on to a new one, that is fine too. After all, she is 14. But quitting would be her decision, not the SI's fault. If her dance school is still wiling to teach and she is capable of continuing to try, then she is responsible for the decision.

 

 

Curandera,

 

I absolutely agree with you. Now over a week later I can see she is putting some of this into perspective. We've just had the conversation that you talked about---An SI can't be the determiner of whether she continues, nor can any outside factor. If she has the technique, artistry etc which her teachers think she does then this is a good opportunity to see if she has the temperament to learn to cope with rejection. I also told her that if this world isn't for her that is OK too. She can love something else and do something. Nothing is wasted.

Edited by justmom
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Dancers learn so much about themselves, the way things work out there and about where they are welcome to thrive on a given year from SI audition experiences. One year's results will not be the same as another's.

 

And Cupid, your post reflects the feelings of many parents here and I think it's beautifully put. There are many factors to balance in this experience beyond what you learn from SIs and in the more mature student years that will literally fly by with new information and insights and revelations that there are actually even more intangibles. Hold onto the tangibles, work with them and then let yourself have some blind faith in your decisions. There's not much more you can do, except just what you said. And learn as much as you can so you will be able to be as supportive and empathetic as you can be. :)

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  • 2 years later...

This is a great topic this time of year (2016), as our sons and daughter try their luck at the numerous summer intensives auditions. I have once again seen crazy behavior surrounding who got in to a particular program(s) and the assumptions made as a result of a selection process. Excuse my rant but acceptance into a particular programs is not a valid predictor of future opportunity or performance. I've seen too many dancers dishearten because their rival or friend got into a program, when they didn't. These are summer programs (with the exception of possible trainee or studio company positions) are done after the program is over. Many kids need to re-audition for the next year, or if they get rejected after being accepted the previous year, will bounce around to experience different studios. I understand the "better training" argument but we forget just how young these teens are and how much further they need to go before they are employable as a professionals. Furthermore, programs need to be evaluated on more than just their fancy name. Most importantly the health and happiness of your child is paramount. Their path is unique and if they are passionate about dance they will succeed on some level. It may not be the same was their classmates, but true happiness and success are not measured by comparison to others, but what is felt internally and honestly.

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I agree that this is a HUGE worry/thought this time of year. Don't know if anyone listens to the "Ask Megan" show (on Itunes), she addressed this exact issue SO eloquently in today's episode (#163). I found a TON of value in her words of encouragement and really believe it would be powerful for any of our DD or DS to hear this advice when auditions do not go as they had hoped.

Edited by dancemaven
Removed links to personal blogs per BT4D Rules and Policies.
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My DD is one of those who did not get into any of her choices (yet - she still has one more). But her list was very exclusive, those top-tier schools. I asked her if she wanted to audition for a couple of regional programs where the chances are more desirable, but she declined. She said that her dream was still alive and that this summer was going to be her "rebuilding year." I think my dancer has been watching too many football sportscasts. I am glad she has a positive outlook about it.

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My DD had a meltdown after being rejected by 2 SIs, one of which had waitlisted her last year, because she was just sure that meant she was falling behind. The funny thing is that she was accepted with a partial scholarship to the SI she had said she really wanted to attend as well! But that evening,for whatever reason, the rejections brought more pain than the acceptance brought pleasure.

 

It was like she had been asked to prom by the cute, quiet, smart boy that she had a crush on, but she was upset because the quarterback of the football team had asked someone else, even though she didn't really want to go with the quarterback anyway!

 

My DD has never doubted her love of ballet, but she has often doubted if ballet loves her back, and SI auditions just stir up every insecurity. But if she wants to make it, she will develop the thought processes and coping skills to keep her going through the difficult moments. I can help her by providing my unconditional support and love, and I can remind her, "It's just a bad day, not a bad life."

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This is my DD's first year auditioning, although she has done her home studio's SI for the past few years.

 

Right out of the gate she got three rejections, sadly, two were her top picks. She was crushed. Those rejections hurt like heck but they provided the opportunity to have serious conversation about the importance of flexibility and the ability to hear the word 'no'. No one likes to hear it but dancers will hear it a lot and must have a thick enough skin to not take that 'no' personally. It is not about you as a person it is simply that you were not right for their program (at this time). I also believe that things happen for a reason and told her that the right match would come up.

 

My DD was thrilled to get accepted by two other programs, one with a partial scholarship...much to her surprise. Talk about a roller coaster of emotions, first she thought she wasn't good enough and a week later she was riding high.

 

Now she is in the unfortunate position of watching a close friend receiving repeated rejections. The good news is that those initial rejections my DD suffered have provided her with a good perspective to empathize with her friend, but it is hard to get excited about going away when you know a friend is hurting and may not be going anywhere.

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My DD has never doubted her love of ballet, but she has often doubted if ballet loves her back, and SI auditions just stir up every insecurity. But if she wants to make it, she will develop the thought processes and coping skills to keep her going through the difficult moments. I can help her by providing my unconditional support and love, and I can remind her, "It's just a bad day, not a bad life."

This is so beautiful and shows the vulnerability our dancers may experience along the way. Nicely written, mama2dancer.

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Momof3darlings

Remember, there is still time to find a gem of a program. In reality, DD's favorite, most challenged and most learned program was not one of the ones considered to be a "top three" (Your words not mine). It was actually a smaller program but with very hands on teachers. So yes, reach for the top programs. Be sad if you don't get in. But that doesn't mean you need to be defeated. Many of the dancers in that smaller program went on to dance at the more well known companies. They learned that the training you get is what is really important and what that training does for YOU. For some the bigger programs are that spark and push. But for others, the training itself, the hands on teaching are what propels to the next step and that might just happen without the ego boost of the big name. I know the rejections are hard. But, this should not be a them or no one journey.

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I thought I would add.....as our DK's get older, the different programs are looking at them not just as dancers but (in the case of schools with companies attached) as potential employees.....this brings so much more into consideration than just ability. Somewhere on this board is a story about a dress and choices....really appropriate! My DD has been getting the talk on rejection from the beginning, because of her mixed ethnicity there is a certain amount of rejection that is to be expected.

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