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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Talented but lazy?


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Oh boy, does this thread bring back memories. My DD is grown now and did not remain on the ballet path, by her own choice. But that's a different thread. When she was dancing 6 days a week and I was putting miles and miles on my old mini-van, I used to wonder why she wasn't more focused. Don't get me wrong, she was serious. But her approach was not as focused as I thought it should be. And that was, simply, the issue: it wasn't the way I thought it should be. I did approach her teachers and they pretty much said the same thing; self-motivation was the best. That she could have all the talent in the world but it was, ultimately, her choice in what she wanted to do with it. They had already spoken with her before I came to them. Though I was worried, my gut told me that trying to motivate her might backfire. I bit my tongue - more than once. And it wasn't easy.


Hang in there.

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  • pointy_ears


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Again - thank you to EVERYONE! i have loved reading your stories and shared insights!


And it's so funny: Since I posted this a while ago, there has definitely been a "shift" in my daughter. She can't seem to get enough classes and I have found her several times on her yoga mat stretching or in the "plank" position - with absolutely no encouragement on my part. The catalyst seems to be a new teacher that she claims has really "pushed her" to reach beyond, and she seems to be very inspired by him. Throughout, I have heard all of your stories in my head, and I just nod and smile -- and drive and pay. :)


Thank you again!

Edited by pointy_ears
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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you to all the parents that have posted here ! It has really helped me to read that what we are going through the is very similar. Sometimes it is hard to understand as a parent that each child is different. We as parents put so much time and financial resources into our kids dancing and when we don't get back the effort we expect it can be frustrating. I too provided my DD ( 14 ) all the resources she could want to help improve etc. I see other girls from her home school taking advantage of everything. They do so many classes outside the studio ( pilates, yoga etc ), taking advantage of all the master classes and stretching all the time. Things come naturally to mine DD as she has been given physical attributes that many of these girls do not have. I sometime feel that the talent was wasted on her as she doesn't seemed as obsessed as these others. Granted she was the only one to leave the school for two years to attend a pre-professional school and the has gotten into several SI's. She does work very hard but I question her overall passion. We did discuss it a few months back and she basically said that her friends are obsessed with ballet and passionate about it. She also said I need to work on understanding the difference. She was right ! I also have to trust like whitenights mentioned that she needs to find her own way in this dance world and not set expections on how she achieves that or the path she takes. The more I have let go and pulled back the more I see the perceived " laziness " fade. Its so hard to do but I keep in mind that it is not me in the classes it is her. Thank you again for all your sharing.

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This has helped me too, so much.


I have learned not to compare my kid to others and I have also learned that my DD's outside interests and passions will probably help sustain her through ballet. That all consumingness can burn out. My DD has the slow and steady wins the race approach.

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  • 2 months later...

It would be best with self motivation, or a nudge by a teacher. Generally not a great idea for it to come from a parent. :wink:

This is so true. I have several daughters, all of who have danced at one point. Four still dancing . . . One that is no longer dancing (decided to quit after 11th grade) has a beautiful ballet body, lovely feet and lines and ballet came very easily to her (at least it appeared to)-- we supported her in dance, but did not push (even gentle nudges were unwelcome). She did have an AD who pushed a little . . . but it came down to her own desire/motivation. She enjoyed classes, and went cheerfully and willingly and worked hard for many years. She loved to perform. But I think at some point she realized she didn't want to be a professional ballerina in the future, and was just happy enjoying it-- which worked out fine. (Although a couple sisters who had less "perfect" ballet bodies, were perplexed by her decision).

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We sometimes go through this with DD. Sometimes I don't think she's lazy as much as she's either afraid or befuddled. Without a nice home studio, sometimes I think DD just isn't sure where to begin or what to do. I also think sometimes that she's afraid to really push herself because she's afraid of "failure." At this age (young teens), I don't think our kids truly understand the number of hours needed to accomplish their goals. Up until now, they have been able to make great strides with seemingly little effort. Now, the ante has increased and they have to regroup and chart a different course to get where they want to go. But, if it's something they really want, they will learn how to do that. One of the things DD has come to understand is that there are some small things she can do with an extra 5 or 10 minutes here and there to improve her core and her stamina. This is very important at the moment as she is going through a growth spurt and everything she has been able to do with ease is now throwing her off balance a bit.

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Great thread as I am sure many have experienced this same behavior. My dd also went through this as well, specifically when she was 12. Looking back I would attribute it to 20% complacency! I'm already in top ballet training, 20% lack of confidence and 60% not really seeing how other dk's prepared themselves.


Going away to a very big SI program and seeing that even with a great deal of talent that she had to work hard, given the work ethic of the other dk's. Living with other dk's on her own she got to see how many others went about doing things or didn't and the results. It helped that realizing that and working harder was necessary and then it started to pay off and she enjoyed being noticed and getting compliments which was a great reinforcement.


My discussing with her the things she had to do was like talking to the barn door, once she saw for herself the light went on and she got busy. Since she got religion so to speak I still periods of laziness, but the periods are less and less, days not months and weeks. It's very much in balance, in my opinion.


At 14 she seems to have made great strides in motivating herself and drinking the water. She'll never be a type A individual, but she is steadily taking advantage of all the opportunities she gets and has also is seeing that the extra effort hasn't exhibited the law of diminishing returns.


At 12 she was all about potential and frustratingly not great effort. Everyone was sitting around waiting for her to light her candle, somewhere between then and now she did, so patience is required and keep putting her/him in situations where she can get motivated from her peers. After all our influence as parents tends to dwindle when kids reach middle school and then it is their friends and peers who they get more influence from.

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  • 3 months later...

I just discovered this thread and am so thankful for this information and all of you moms sharing your experiences!!


I've had this conversation with my husband - who likes to push a little more with regards to DD stretching outside of class - which just causes DD to not want to do it - or push back and always results in frustration on both sides. I think I'll let him read some of these posts - hopefully that will help!!


Thank you BT4D!! :)

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