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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Help! DD is quitting dance for good

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Dragons live forever but not so little boys

Painted wings and giant strings make way for other toys.

One sad night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more

And Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.


His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain,

Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.

Without his life-long friend, puff could not be brave,

So puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave. oh!

. ♪♪


Peter, Paul and Mary


We just need to let them grow up. :flowers:

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Pointy ears, I went back and read your previous thread to see what her story was.

These words stood out to me.

her classes became stressful and frustrating rather than a source of joy for her anymore.

She no longer found joy in the day to day. If they do not have joy, I personally feel there is no reason to continue dancing on such an intensive schedule. When ballet first ramped up, I remember my the 10 yr old serious student complaining about a dancer who just did not pay attention all the time. This dancer would chat or fool around and it drove dd up a wall. I explained that some people can take a class once a week and that's enough for them. 2 days a week is too much and it is no longer fun for them. Other people are happy with 2 or 3 days a week, but more becomes drudgery, Your daughter reached the point where it was drudgery. She still loved the people and she still likely loves to move. It just doesn't have to be ballet for her.

As a parents. most of us get joy from watching our children dance. We also get joy from seeing them happy. You are mourning the loss of that joy from seeing her dance and the dream that once was. She's maturing into a young adult. I think it actually is a brave decision on her part to move on from something that wasn't making her happy. That is something adults can have trouble with. If it made her happy, it wouldn't matter that she would never be "good enough" (even if that is wrong). There's a whole world of people who love to dance, ballet or other genres, who will never be good enough for all sorts of things. But they love what they get from it.


As for your mom guilt, we all have that for one reason or another at some time. :) The expression "fake it until you make it" may help you.

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Pointy ears,

I totally understand. I think ballet is so beautiful, and I have great joy in watching my daughter's on stage. I took up photography, and I love to take photos of the ballet performances. I get a lot of positive feedback from other moms who also like my photos. I feel like I'm losing my joy of watching her perform, as well as losing my fun hobby of ballet photography. Luckily we have a good performing dance department in high school, and she will stay with dance in school. And I take all the photos for that teacher, so I'm not fully cut off, but it is very different.

I'm mostly afraid that DD will try running, and find she doesn't like it. I'm also a big believer in keeping teens busy so they don't have time for trouble. And now with more time, DD (who is good as mischief) will find trouble. She has been getting excited about some summer job applications she is putting in, in the field she is passionate about (animal science) and is speaking to the HS track coach about joining the team a bit late once she finished the show commitment.

If she does Cross Country in the fall, that will mean very early Saturday AM wake up calls for travel to the meets. The meets are out doors. I'm so NOT an outdoor girl. But I'm sure I will learn to love track and field and cross country photography!!! Just give me time!

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Your post moved me a lot. I completely adhere to what you say, this is exactly how I feel.


I too have to pretend approving her new choices, enthousiasms, although I can only think of dance.


`Let it go!' Yes I heard that too!!!! People who have not been full time ballet moms for years cannot understand us, that's it.


Our pain is real and huge, it is as you say 'beyond being devastated'.


Today I am not afraid to say that I have lost a part of my daughter. What she is now is OK (accomplishment is not in her agenda), but something huge is missing.


There is not a day during which I don't see her dancing in my head, her lovely long arms floating in the air, her face focused on her movements, with the piano playing at the back.


If it can console you a bit, the pain seem to be less harsh now than 8 months ago, when she undid her bun for the last time.


There might be light at the end of the tunnel.


Continue to visit here, and no you are not high jacking this thread. You are totally part of it.

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Thank you all for your support and sharing. It brings great comfort.

I'm really working on putting things into perspective and letting go of the secret hope I keep in my heart that my daughter will realize she misses ballet and want to go back to it. That's only setting myself up for disappointment and definitely not for healing. It's not fair to me and it's definitely not fair to her.


Isadora, I feel like you and I may be cut from the same cloth, as I, too, have an artistic background. I think because of this I was profoundly moved by her ballet on a personal level, and then just as profoundly affected by her decision to remove herself (and, by proxy, me) from that world. I know you have the additional element of your daughter having been "forced" out, and I hope for her that she recovers that sense of who she was, whether it's through dance or something else. Wishing you peace in the process.


This has been and continues to be a lesson for me in so many ways.


Thank you again, to all.

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My daughter took a break from dance in April, went back in August, then quit -- I thought for good -- in early October. In late December she told me she wanted to dance again but not at the old studio. She's been at her new studio for almost 2 months now & she is happier than I've seen her for a long, long time. She's made friends with the kids at the new studio & it's not uncommon for them to end up in a group chat / text less than 30 minutes after they've left the studio for then night.


I let her take the lead on what she wanted to do & she has thrived in the new environment. It's more nurturing & do much less stressful. There is little to no favoritism shown. A bonus is that this new studio has several alumni who are either in solid college ballet programs, trainees or corps members in major ballet companies & one is a principal in a European company. She also recently began serving as the school's artistic director.


I feel bad because I didn't know / realize how very stressful it had gotten for DD at the old studio. It was so bad that the new teacher told me that DD was almost flinching when she came to her to do corrections, especially those that involved physically helping her correct her position etc.


It hurt my heart when she told me she was quitting bit I'm glad I let her have the time to regroup.

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Love this Dancemaven ... struggling with the same issues, much to my great surprise! At 16 DD moved to be at great ballet program, loves the teachers, the feedback, and the work, great Nutcracker experience, excited about upcoming SIs. Has always been working towards a career in ballet. Suddenly, mid-January - an epiphany for her, it seems. The level of talent is even greater around her now, she began tracking career trajectory of very gifted students trying for apprentice / second company spots and not seeing much success. For the first time seems overwhelmed and defeated by the challenges that face all young dancers. Said it is like climbing a steep mountain with large, loose rocks randomly bouncing down towards her. Now class feels like work with no fun and no reward. We are discussing her quitting, but it is mid-year - I want to say 'stick it out and finish the year' but I really feel as a mom that she may need to be home, her decision supported and her feelings nurtured. The other reservation I have is that her commitment and growth as a dancer will serve her well in applying to colleges, but she is a year and a half away - is it right to expect her to continue for that reason alone? And without ballet, will colleges view her as a quitter? Her whole story thus far has been very much the opposite - she has persisted and made strong choices in the face of ballet adversities, always forging ahead ...

To your point, she must be allowed to "explore falter, figure out what they want to be/who they are ..."

I need some sound BTFD advice!!

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Macaroon- your post is very much close to what my older dd just went thru. She's finishing her senior year this semester. I'm not sure that her interest in ballet has waned, but her feelings about a career in ballet definitely did. She said something similar about class not being as fun anymore, and suddenly ratcheted her hours and commitment level way back after the summer between junior and senior year. After a year of homeschooling with 25-30 hours a week of training, followed by a two SI summer, she went back to traditional high school. Something in her seemed to click in a way that I still can't quite understand, which made her re-think her goals. She took a very short time off in the fall and then surprising all of us, performed in a local very low key Nutcracker. Now she takes only a few drop-in classes each week, and is not considering trainee/apprentice positions or even a dance major. She's going to prom, doing stuff at school, and waiting for college admission decisions. She's completely unused to having leisure time. This time last year, we were picking SI's based on potential for second company spots in the not too distant future. It's been a huge transition. Felt so strange not even taking her to SI auditions, knowing how many summers she spent away.


Anyway, to try to offer you advice, I can say that colleges so far don't seem to care that she's now dancing 5 hours a week instead of 25. So far, from what we've seen, colleges do not seem to notice/mind that she's only had one real extracurricular, and she's receiving offers of admission even though she's no longer dancing as much. I really would not worry at all about the college viewing her dance as a failure of any kinds. And the essays that can be written about how dance makes you grow as a person.....let's just say they make strong, honest, emotional essays. Essays about quitting dance show a certain maturity as well.


I applaud you for respecting her mid year complaints. It's super hard because you think in the back of your mind - sheesh, she's a teen, she can't even commit to her favorite leo color, how can I let her make these huge decisions that are so hard to come back from? But the quitting (or scaling back or whatever) is a thing that happens to all of them. Some at 17, some at 27, right?

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I am wondering if I may be here soon, too, sadly. DD is really loving her drama class, and happily did not join the group who traveled to Japan for a drama competition because it would interfere with dance...but now wishes she had. She has been getting some acting jobs and really enjoys them for what they are, rather than what they used to be- basically the only way a 14 year old can make any decent money to put towards SIs. She is starting to wonder out loud if ballet is really what she wants to spend so much time on.


We moved to another country, which is hard, and she realizes much is different here and her classes are much harder and more intense, with fewer performing opportunities and many more students who are at a higher level. She has said that since these things make ballet not as fun for her, is ballet really what she wants? There is plenty of ballet, but it turns out ballet itself may not be what she enjoys most, or even at all without the performing opportunities...which is really acting, and what she is thinking may be what she really wants to spend her time doing.


She is 14, and it's her first year of high school, and like so many she is looking around at different things and thinking "do I love ballet enough to forgo these things?".


It makes me sad,( and I've been very noncommittal and just listened) because she has grown so very much as a dancer lately. It is really all coming together for her...and she is considering walking away. But I suppose if it isn't what she loves then she should not devote so much time (and so much of our money!) to it. Ballet really leaves no room for anything else at these ages after all.


So, we shall see. A year ago I would never have thought she would succumb to the high school drop off but it seems it may be so.

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This thread is so wonderful!


DD is also going through this process. Many factors at play but mainly she has known for some time she does not want to pursue a professional career. But she has always loved dancing and it has been such a big part of her life for so long. Now as a freshman at a performing arts high school, she gets enough dance during the day to satisfy her love of the art and is questioning the amount of time devoted at her pre-professional ballet program.


First it was going to be scaling back next year to now wanting to quit completely. I am sad because I love to watch her perform and all that comes with studio life. But after having some time to absorb, I realized it was inevitable and is just happening sooner than expected. With each day that passes, I am getting more excited about having family dinners again! Weekends back! Other extracurricular opportunities! And most importantly, it is on her terms and she is happy with her decision. Who knows, maybe she will take a break and go back to it. Maybe she will focus on other interests and academics. She is 14 and as with all things, it is a work in progress. Just the other day, she said "Maybe I do want to go to a SI this summer." So, time will tell...


Regardless, she is approaching her decision with maturity and clarity that makes me happy. And selfishly, I can say that I am very happy at the prospect of having more time with her before she goes away to college!

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Two months and a half since my last post. Time went by. I am still dancing and my daughter is still not dancing. However dance is still in the air..


It is like the spirit of a deceased person still being around...


Tomorrow I am taking her to see a very classical ballet. It is my last attempt to bring her back into this. I intend to ask her after the show, or the days after, to attend a ballet class, just one, to see what it looks like dancing again. I know ballet is still inside her, she always start ballet steps when she is standing, although she refrains herself in front of me, knowing what I could say..


Last time we went to see a ballet, after Xmas, she stayed on the edge of her seat during the whole 1st act, trying not to loose a second of the show.


What will happen this time? Will she yawn of boredom?


Will I dare asking her to go back to a studio for one hour and a half? Just one hour and a half in a whole terribly long year? Yes, in a few weeks from now, it will be one year since she last danced, and undid her bun for the last time.


My pain is vanishing a little more everyday. I even forget what it was when she was a dancer. And this realization makes the whole thing even more painful. It is like realizing that you are forgetting someone you loved dearly before. Soon it will become just a faint memory... Unless she dances again...

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I'm sorry that you are suffering Isadora. I wonder if it's prospect of losing the mother-daughter sharing a common interest aspect of your relationship that is the scariest and upsetting. Your description of your daughter's total concentration when watching ballet does seem to signal a continued love. Maybe you and she could focus on becoming solid audience companions without the pressure to actually do the steps?


I do understand that empty feeling that comes after your dd isn't dancing. I drove by our local ballet company's new studio on a Saturday morning and I could see the young students at the barre. Memories of parent observation and piano music came flooding back. Our dd is moving on to new interests and thriving again so the memory is turning more poignant and sweet. (And I'm her favorite companion to accompany her to the ballet) :)

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Thanks Swanchat. In fact the suffering has diminished a lot, since so much time has passed since the stopped dancing, and that she is experiencing new things that throw her towards her future adult life. We do have many other interests in common, like music.


I just feel that her goodbye to dance was too bitter, too negative and I wish she could regain some confidence in her capabilities. And I know dance is still in her 'body' and bothering her..


Finally, I do selffishly hope to see her dancing again, at least once in my life..


How old was your daughter when she stopped dance?

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The conditions that caused your dd to stop dancing are not the same as mine but in many ways, similar. Your dd (and you) suffered a loss and it seems that you were both devastated. Our dd suffered a loss due to the careless, irresponsible actions of a co-worker and suffered a career ending injury. She was 21 when the accident happened and had been a professional dancer since she was 18 years old. Since your dd has chosen to stop (rather than forced out due to injury), she may yet find a way to dance but in a different way or different place but it seems that it will have to be on her terms and that's fine, too. Life goes on. Our dd's are young enough to regroup and have satisfying careers after dance.


I have felt that my role in all of this was to support her emotionally and standby with a hug or shoulder to cry on as the grieving process unfolds. I'm not quite sure (like you) that I will ever get over how tragic it is that her dancing is over or resolve the anger that I feel towards the young man who never even apologized to her. So, both of our situations bear some level of injustice. However, my anger doesn't help her and I don't wear bitterness well, so I have decided to put the negative and hurt behind me. I will treasure the memories of our dd's former ballet life and I'm glad that we can share our enjoyment of the art form together. I'm sending you a hug too. It's hard!

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Swanchat: In fact my DD was forced to stop dancing because of an injury that restrained many of her movements. She then became discouraged and gave up efforts to overcome her injury, to exercize, etc.. Then the school decided not to keep her for the coming year. So it is a mixture of many things. It was not her decision to stop from the get go. We had devastating moments last year.. When it was over she decided to surgically cut herself from dance.. I just feel sorry for her that she has lost something that used to bring her joy. She was also very lovely as a dancer.


Your case is worse, as your daughter was much older (mine was 16 at the time she stopped) and already a pro. I hope that she was able to find other interests and overcome this. Really tragic.

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