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Ballet Talk for Dancers

When to push?


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My daughter loves ballet, she loves to dance and perform but now that class is getting more difficult, she's complaining more. She says she still wants to be a dancer but that it's hard. I know all kids go through the "I don't want to practice" stuff (I mean, when I was young I was on a swim team - I wanted to do the meets but I didn't want to go to practice and swim a bunch of laps).

Plus, her teacher believes my daughter is performing at or above the rest of her class and is discussing advancing her to the next level. I don't understand what my daughter thinks is difficult if the teacher thinks it's too easy. I think it's just that my daughter doesn't want to practice.

So, as a parent, how do you know when to push and when to back off? I don't want her to feel pressured and want to stop... but I don't want her to quit just because she thinks something is difficult.

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The first thing you need is more information. What does your daughter mean when she says ballet is "too hard?" Ask her to be as specific as possible. Once you know more, it will be easier for you to help her.

In general, I would neither "push" nor back off. The challwnge will be in getting her to see that all the worthwhile things are hard. Isn't that part of what makes ballet great?

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Sometimes my kids seem to enjoy complaining at home, just to let off steam, whereas in class, they are dedicated, and motivated and never complain, so to hear their teachers talk about them, it sounds like they're talking about someone else's children! If your daughter isn't talking about quitting, then I would just continue to be a sounding board, and see if you can help her articulate what she's finding difficult at the moment. If she does cross over into wanting to quit, the approach I've favoured with pretty decent success, is to support their decision to stop an activity, provided they leave on a high note. So, whichever ever hurdle they've encountered, needs to be overcome first, and then once they've successfully overcome it, they are free to stop if they still want to quit at that point. More often than not, they choose to stay in the activity once they've overcome the hurdle, but on a few occasions, they had truly had enough, and genuinely no longer liked the activity, and have no regrets about stopping.

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Pertinent to this conversation.....How old is your DD? What grade in school? How long has she been dancing? I have found with my three kids that often the complaining about one thing is masking something else. :yes:

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Also, if they've just learned developpes or maintaining turnout is hard, those are usually difficult for youngers because they haven't developed strength yet. Those are usually culprits in our complaining sessions.

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I would agree that perhaps there is something else in the mix that she has not shared with you.


We have multiple things on the table right now at my house including a growth spurt which is making my lovely little dancer feel like she is the least talented in the class...and she is tired form Nutcracker rehearsals for 5 hours on Saturdays...which just so happen to be the only day one of her friends can play. Oh yeah, and the first year of middle school, when the homework load is a bit heavier than last year. She loves ballet and wants to dance forever...but somedays she doesn't feel like it.


The test of the commitment though is rising to the occasion especially when you don't feel like it! That is me every night when I have to make dinner...and I point that out ;-)

Seriously though, it is all good conversation to have. I don't always want to go run or swim, but I am training for something, I have a goal. To meet my goal I have to train, for her to meet her goal (if it is her goal) then she has to dance. Simple as that. I just make it clear that her goals are just that, hers. Not mine or anyone else's.

I also agree that sometimes they just need a safe place to grumble and vent.

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  • 1 month later...

This is a little thing, but my DD also started to dislike class at one point - she was coming out of class very tired and discouraged. It turned out we needed to give her a full meal before class. She ate lunch early at school so by the time class got out it had been 6 hours since she ate. Once we started feeding her right before class everything changed completely. Sometimes small things make a big difference.

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These have all been great suggestions. We found out her trepidation had more to do with the new studio rather than not wanting to dance. She's not connected to her instructor yet so I think it'll just take time. I'm hoping it'll get better after the holidays.

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LizzyA, glad to hear things are working out. I hope that she settles in and that her passion is reignited :-)

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