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Advice for an inexperienced dance mom?

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I have a 10 yr old who will be starting middle school this year. In the last 6 mos or so it has become apparent that my DD is looking to have a career in dance, likely ballet. She has danced since she was 4 but in the last year has increased her number of classes (as required in her level) and she has grown exponentially. She definelty has the build for it and although she has not hit puberty yet my other older children reflect that her body will not change much.


DD attends a lovely dance school on a pre-pro track and we are very happy there. She is also quite strong academically. Looking ahead I am anticipating some tough choices although I am hoping that out local public academic schools will be willing to have some flexibility so that she can benefit from being in school with her friends while still developing as a dancer.


I am wondering what one does when the local school does not offer a PE waiver/independent study? I was surprised to find out that ours does not :-( My DD will be in advanced classes and although she is only at the studio 4 days per week ( including Saturdays for rehearsals) I am already worried about how to juggle the homework load. Any advice from veteran dance parents out there would be most welcome!


I guess I had better buckle up, this could be a wild ride!

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Allo, and welcome to BT4D, as you haven't been here long!


I found this thread for you, and Momof3 links to two more in the third post that are also relevant. Maybe it'll tide you over until the others can respond...

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Thanks for the welcome :-)

I have been here for a bit and have enjoyed LOTS of reading! This site is a wonderful resource for us non- dancing parents!

Thanks for the link, I will check it out.

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After reading thru the links that ascballerine provided perhaps, for now, PE is fine...I am worried though about the homework juggle, although my DD is a wonderful student. Maybe I am fretting over nothing.

She don't think she NEEDS more exercise, but I am worried that she will need more study time. How does everyone handle the juggle?

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Time management! The students must learn to be diligent in their studies early. Although I am a ballet instructor, I strongly believe my students academics are the priority. EVERY dancer will be told at some point they have to do something else. Whether it happens at 18 or after a long career at 40, it WILL happen. Having that strong academic foundation will be an asset to that transition.


With that said: students, do your homework so you can come to your lessons!!!

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Your daughter will become very good at managing her time as she adds more dance classes to her schedule. Because she is a strong academic student, she probably will be better equipped to handle the demands of school. With each year that she goes into tougher and tougher academic classes she will find ways to handle the longer hours of ballet. Sometimes it may be a study hall in high school, other times taking an easier academic load. At some point, it will become more clear if she really wants to dance as a career or go more academic. She will let you know. Fortunately at 10, she has a lot of time before this will happen. So don't fret now. Enjoy her success as a student and a dancer.


gcwhitewater and I were writing at the same time and I am in full agreement! Your school work is your priority and if the supposed dance career doesn't materialize, you will be in good shape to move on to something else.

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Thanks so much for the feedback!


She already is quite good at time management and adores school and is proud of her academic achievements...that will always remain a priority. She has always managed just fine but with increased homework in middle school I am just a little uneasy, although typically I find that I worry for no reason!


At this point she is asking to pick up one more day at the studio to take a jazz class and I am going to say no, at least not for the first semester of school...I want to give her a chance to see what the work load is like before adding in another day of dance. Crazy girl.


I have learned a lot from this forum and am so glad I found you all! You are a wealth if information!

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I am mostly writing to let you know that I am looking at a similar situation, with an exception that I don't really expect my daughter to get good enough to be a professional (just because there are just so few jobs out there, a lot of things have to go right other than having the right overall body type - if it happens, great, but I rank that as "unlikely"). However, the problem of balance is something all parents of kids who have a passion for a particular hobby face - dancers, swimmers, hockey players, etc. For ballet parents, it's often compounded by the fact that we have to drive for 30-60 min to class and back 4-5 times a week.


At this point, what keeps us going is that my daughter is able to do homework in the car. We bought two portable desks (pillow with an attached board) for her to do her homework on in my car and my husband's car. If I drive both ways, then I grade the homework while she is in class, and she re-works the sections that were hard on the way home. If there is nothing to re-work, she does her reading. Every couple of weeks on average, she has to wake up in the morning to finish up the assignment. If there are missing assignments in the gradebook, I don't let her take ballet that afternoon - she does not lose ballet privileges based on grades, but absolutely loses them based on completion / ignoring homework. She must stay organized, or no ballet, period.


One of the long-term dilemmas I face is that right now I can still permit my daughter to take those long summer intensives (our home studio's intensive is excellent and costs as much as any other camp, so it's a no-brainer). In the next year or two, however, I expect she'll need to travel for the intensive, to get different perspectives and additional instruction. It scares me financially. I don't see paying 5K for 5 weeks.... so then she needs a partial scholarship in order to go, and what are the chances of that for a girl? I also would like her to start taking summer camp in the area of her academic focus, especially at High School years. I have no idea at this point how I expect to combine all that. :-) I think the last 3 weeks of CTY camp allow a student to take a 4-5 week ballet intensive earlier in the summer, but that's just one option. Have you given any thought to that yet?

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Katya, YES! During her ballet years at a pre-pro, my daughter, who also was a strong academic student, did lots of homework in the car. In fact, our car served as both a mini-office and mini-fridge. :) I used one of those car seat-back organizers to stock office supplies: paper, pencils, colored pencils, pens, colored markers, stapler, paper clips, pencil sharpener, scissors, protractor, Scotch tape, compass: you name it. If it might possibly be needed for homework, it was in the car. I even included wrapping paper at one point because we were always on the go.


We also kept a large cooler in the car at all times. It was stocked with breakfast foods, snacks, protein sources and drinks.


Luckily, my daughter didn't get carsick working in a car. I could never have done it.

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Yes time management is important. And at 10 her education is very important. Hopefully she will have enough time to study and finish homework but at 10 a few missed ballet classes to ensure she is on track academically won't hurt her either:). Butnyoumwill be surprised at how much a driven young dancer can accomplish. And by the time she is in middle or high school she may be able to wave the gym classes!

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My DD spent all of 6th grade juggling 6 days at her pre-pro and a regular school schedule. No exemptions. Was it ideal? No. BUT she did manage to make High Honor Roll all semesters. What I have learned from other parents who have gone this road before, is if your child was a good student before a heavy dance schedule they will do fine after. Take a deep breath, she will do fine!

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The beginning of every school year makes me wonder about the balance between school and dance.. (dd dances 6 days/ week) and every year, dd rises to the challenge with straight As and high honor roll.

While sometimes I know she feels like school is just what you do before you get to dance, she also would not settle for anything less than A work.

Her annoyance is listening to her friends from school complain about homework etc. She has said..."Mom, they have no reason to complain, they just go home after school. They have NO IDEA what I do every day after school. They should all be getting As."

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My DD is going on her 3rd year at a large pre-pro school and so far has manage to balance the 6 days a week schedule and school very well. I would be lying if I said

I sometimes think "this is just crazy" driving 45 minutes to class each day. We support my DD dreams because she continues to balance it all, A student and continues

to progress each year to a new level at her school. Do I think she will be a professional dancer............not sure................but looking back when she was 10 if I knew what

I knew now I may think differently of our chosen path.

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Mdballetmom, my DD is like yours...perplexed by the act that her friends/other kids in class are not as driven in after school activity, just sit around after school and then don't complete assignments.


It is great to hear everyone's perspectives on this. Such a diverse group and yet we are all in this together!

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Stressedoutmommy, it can be a tough road for us parents. I am very fortunate that our studio is a very short drive. It is a big financial investment and yet it thrills me to see my DD so passionate about something.

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