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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Talented but lazy?


pointy_ears

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There is a lot of passion that is sometimes unseen in the obvious ways -- even by a parent -- especially in some quieter souls. Your daughter will tell you when she doesn't want to dance or when she wants to keep going forever. But questioning her passion for it is not the way to find out.

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  • pointy_ears

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I completely agree that these busy dancing kiddos can not have their passion or commitment measured by what they do at home. I believe that we as parents have to make sure that they are having other experiences and hobbies. I mean, I am passionate about gardening but I don't want that to be all that I eat, sleep or breath 24/7. If all I had access to was gardening resources to fill my time, books, movies, magazines, sketch pads, seed packets etc....I would explode.

 

An additional thought that I would like to share, which I think is a really important consideration, in youngsters the frontal cortex of the brain is not yet developed. This part of the brain manages thinking ahead and putting aside instant gratification for the long term gain. They may recognize that if I want to be a pro I need to do X,Y and Z, but they lack the ability to follow through and sacrifice as we as adults would to reach our goals. They need our guidance to research and map out the master plan to help them to potentially reach their goal...but we can't hoover and force them to implement the plan.

 

My DD has a chore chart. She does not get paid for chores, it is a reminder of the things that she is responsible for, stretching is on her chore list. If she does not bring down her laundry then she will not have clean clothes. If she does not stretch she will not increase her flexibility. Her goal, her choices, however I have drawn of the map for her to follow IF she chooses.

Here is a quote that I found about the developing brain and why most youngsters do not stretch etc as some of us would if we were in their shoes...

But it's the combination of that prefrontal cortex and a heightened need for reward that drives some of the most frustrating teenage behavior. For most adults, climbing hotel balconies or skateboarding off roofs of houses sound like awful ideas. Their prefrontal cortex curbs any impulse to do so, because the possible negative outcomes outweigh any potential thrill. But teenagers may try these things because they're seeking a buzz to satisfy that reward center, while their prefrontal cortex can't register all the risks these actions entail.

This behavior is evident on a much smaller scale as well; when a teenager goes to the mall to watch a movie but comes back with an iPod, then the prefrontal cortex didn't curb the impulse buy. If a teenager spends an hour on the Internet instead of focusing on homework, it's because the teenage brain doesn't register delayed gratification. Even though the teenager can vaguely register that there will be parental punishment later on, the appeal of fun now is too strong.

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pointy_ears

Noodles, this is great - thanks!

 

Mousling, I do not question her passion or dedication. On the contrary, I support everything she does, and provide as many opportunities as I can that she wants to explore. But I know the nature of my child, and she can be lazy about things.I was looking for insights from others who have experienced this with a passionate/talented child - and how to best guide them.

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I was looking for insights from others who have experienced this with a passionate/talented child - and how to best guide them.

This is the best place to find just that!

Hugs...just trust that it will all work out just as it should :-)

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bluemountain

My DS (13) can be lazy. But then he can be restless about his dancing too. I am trying to let him figure things out, what's important and what is not. He seems to work much harder at the competitions, when he has the audience or strong competitors. He frequently holds back in classes. I remember listening to one of Sergey Polunin interviews where he said that when he was a ballet student he didn't like working in class, he found it boring. He loved to perform. And look where he is now :). Daniil Simkin said that his regular ballet classes were not longer that two hours, and his parents made sure he has other activities and interests. Not all of his public school friends knew he does ballet. As you can see, I am researching this topic as well :).

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Mousling, I do not question her passion or dedication. On the contrary, I support everything she does, and provide as many opportunities as I can that she wants to explore. But I know the nature of my child, and she can be lazy about things.I was looking for insights from others who have experienced this with a passionate/talented child - and how to best guide them.

 

Your child is unique and how others show their passion may not be how she shows hers. That is all. Good luck!

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harbordancer

Noodles, I had a chuckle as I read your post about the teenage brain. I recently had a conversation with my non dancing child about planning for high school. He commented that he didn't care about "all of that" because high school was so far away. He starts in the fall. :-)

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LOL! Yep, just how the little buggers think, God bless 'em.

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learningdance

Love the adolescent brain thing. It reminds me that although DD may sound mature and grown up, full control of impulses and emotions is certainly not there. We serve as a structuring force that is critical for building later habits.

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I too have a dd who was a little lazy when she was younger. I felt I needed to push a little but regret that now. It was a waste of time! She reached a point herself when ballet became all-consuming for her. I now see that it really does come from within. I wasted my time by pushing. Ms. Leigh is right.

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pointy_ears

 

Thank you for sharing your experience, Rosetwirl!

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Momof3darlings

Ms. Leigh and Dancemaven have both given you wonderful wisdom. I would take it to heart and then take it to heart some more. I remember when DD was training, I would see ballet videos on sale somewhere buy them and then expect that she would want to watch them. I would get frustrated when she did not want to devour them from beginning to end. I never said anything to her. Just a mommy frustration point. The thing is, in looking back, she rarely sat still long enough on a daily basis to watch anything much less a full length ballet unless we were at the theatre. I liken it to my love of baseball and movies. Take me to the movie theatre or field and I can sit there all day watching game after game, movie after movie. But ask me to do that at home and it's torture because there is too much else that can be done. Every dancer will come to this from a different place. So the time she spent while not dancing, developing a love for photography, for reading, for crafting, for cooking, etc. are all very well spent.

 

Now it's part of DDs job to watch and immerse herself in videos of the greats. She has to study for roles because that is a part of what working dancers do. And in reality, what she would have gained from watching at age 13 is vastly different from what she is gaining now. Let kids be kids and find their way naturally.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Can't help but echo what everyone else has said. DD wasn't much interested in "extra" dancing at 10-12 when she first started serious training, but came around to it on her own at around 14 as the teachers' expectations grew and she was given more demanding things to learn. After that it was hard to get her to *stop* dancing, stretching, humming variations and doing arm movements on the subway... I've reached the point where I forget it's not ordinary for kids do do their homework while sitting in a split! Nowadays as DD is getting ready for companies we talk about the opposite issue: ensuring that she maintains some interests outside of ballet to fall back on once the other major routines in her life (school, family activities, etc) are no longer there to provide a distraction when the dance days are tough. The adjustment to a new city and a working life is difficult in any career, and it's so easy to fall into obsession with your work if you're struggling to adjust in other ways, so I've done my best to prepare her with the awareness that, while ballet can absolutely be at the center of her life, it shouldn't become her *whole* life -- because one never knows when or how a dance career might end.

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I've reached the point where I forget it's not ordinary for kids do do their homework while sitting in a split!.

This made me smile so much! My DD is exactly the same, I also find her lying on her front with 'frog legs' reading or with her legs stretched and feet on the desk whilst working.

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Whitenights

Had a thought so I wanted to chime in. I have enjoyed reading this thread. It is so nice to know we are not alone on this journey as moms. I have 2 ballet dancers, the older one is now 17 and slightly more serious about dance. At 13 (14, 15 and 16 for that matter!) she would not watch videos (and yes, I tried) or read books I would check out. I didn't push because it was very obvious to me it was frustrating her. I took a very "casual" approach, which caused her to start to "own it" in her own unique way and caused her to actually initiate ballet conversations. Also, it was and still is tempting to ask her to stretch over breaks (only because I worry about injury) but now at age 17, she has gradually taken ownership and it has been so much fun to follow her lead. I also found that simple exposure to ballet (or any dance) performances in our area or while traveling has helpful her tremendously to inspire her and to help her figure out her place in the dance world. Though, you will see, what a teen likes/wants or is inspired by one day may not be the same the next. She is currently at an SI. The first few days she was frustrated and told me, "I think I have come to realize I like contemporary ballet better and it fits me better. I just love contemporary!" The most recent was a comment about a teacher she is loving. I said, "Oh, is that your contemporary teacher?" She said, "No, she's classical, very classical!" I say all of this to say it is a fun, comical journey so enjoy it and know that you are not alone. Lots of moms are feeling the way you are.

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