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isadora

Help! DD is quitting dance for good

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isadora

Pointy_Ears,

 

I was hoping you would come back here. Alas we don't have any good news to give to each other. I cannot remember how old is your daughter, but what you are describing is typical of post-dancing life and the discovery of everything that is available to them once they became free. For my daughter, this year has really been a year of discovery, of having strong opinions, of rebelling (against everything she was before), of discovering jazz music, and of course, love. A very important year indeed! She has changed a lot. What could be dancing in all that?

 

Yes, she enjoyed the ballet show (we just run into her former dance coach!), she had a lot of very interesting observations to make on the dancers technique. Then the topic was closed.

 

Yesterday I wrote to her, asking her to just consider going for a single ballet class, in a neutral setting (a place where nobody knows her) just to see how it felt like and to decide afterwards what she wanted, either going back from time to time or never going back. I asked her to think about it, and to not answer me right away. She seemed receptive. But I am waiting for the answer, and don't dare to ask anything LOL. I was very honest in my message, and I think that at least she understood my question and what it also meant for me.

 

This is the last check, the last chance.

 

After that, whatever happens, I will try to see the future in a brighter way.

 

The pointe shoes: there is still a shoe pink ribbon dangling from a high shelf in her bedroom. Of course I am the one who arranged it this way. I don't even think she noticed.

 

Please keep me posted. You know that after she will be done with this wild stage, she might go back to dancing. We have to be patient.

 

Other ballet moms (like Clementine) told their stories of DDs quitting at the beginning of this thread, and I would appreciate if they could give us updates. Some of them had been trying to have their daughters go back to a studio. Where are they now?

 

This forum has been a great help.

 

Let's keep in touch.

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dancemaven

My DD had to give up dance--kicking and screaming--due to injury that ultimately revealed and exacerbated a congenital hip issue. She struggled for at least four years to come to terms with it. She stopped and started down a couple different Plan B/alternative routes. She'd get herself back to where she could audition and then her body would rebel. Mentally and emotionally, she'd rail against her fate.

 

But, eventually, her body won out and she listened to its increasingly adamant voice. She finally accepted that she could not dance professionally, but it took her getting to a very physically painful point. She came to terms with it and she has now found a very worthwhile course in life that she has pour every ounce of her passion and herself into. She learned the depths of a passionate adventure through her dedication to dance and it to her. She is VERY happy. And I daresay, she is happier with the road in front of her than she ever would have been constantly worrying about annual contracts and where the next company contract might be always sitting on a bubble at the mercy and whim of an AD or changing AD and budget concerns.

 

She has pain daily and will until she has a total hip replacement, which she is putting off for as long as possible. She has a number of modalities that she relies upon to help with that. Her body wants/needs dance, so she goes to class as much as she can. It feels better when she goes. She cannot dance full out like she used to; she is sad knowing her body can't do what it used to; she is sad not to be as good a dancer as she was. It used to hurt terribly; now it is an ache. But she knows it is her fate and that it has opened the door for her to do something else with that degree of passion. She accepts it now and is happy.

 

Yes, I mourned the loss of her dance. Sometimes I thought as much as she (which can't possibly be true). It had been a part of her life since she was 3 years old and mine, as well. She was on the brink of receiving that professional contract she'd worked for for so long. We had a lot of bonding over her classes, her journey, decisions, and the lessons she learned along the way. I always wanted her to leave dance on HER terms, not someone else's---including mine and her father's.

 

Those of you whose DD's have decided FOR THEMSELVES that they wish to move on----for their sake's, let them! I say that with all kindness, understanding of your own loss, and good wishes. Your daughters are leaving on their terms, by their decisions. Let them. That is the best way to do it. It is not being forced upon them. Even if you believe their decision is based upon something someone said to them, LET THEM move on on their own terms. They have processed it and are content with their decision.

 

"If you love them, let them go". If they love ballet (and ballet loves them), they can always go back. If not today, then tomorrow, or next year, or several years or decades from now. Let them come and go from ballet/dance on their own terms. If they regret it, that will be something that they will need to come to terms with for themselves. As long as you did not prevent them, you can't be blamed. And, it IS their life and their decision. :flowers:

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iceberg*lover

It has been about a year since my daughter told me that she didn't want to do a SI, and she probably wouldn't go back to dance in the fall. Since then she has had a very lazy year lol. She is happier, though, and we get along sooooo much better. I think she is still discovering who she is without dance, and hopefully she will discover she is more than someone girlfriend.

 

On the dance front, while I was able to get her to attend a class that only lasted a couple months. Something interesting has happened, though and it involves me. I started off by getting her to come to adult barre exercise class, hoping she would miss ballet enough to take it up again. Turns out, I love it and have moved into an adult beginners ballet class. Sometimes she comes with me (she's 18) and loves the attention. She has also recently admitted that she misses the performing but not the work that goes into it.

 

At this point, after a year, I've realized it's her life. She's mentioned musical theatre, but she's not motivated enough to look into it, and I am no longer her mom-ager. I think that role did neither of us any good.

 

At this point, I am happy with the progression of how this has evolved. I'm keeping ballet in my life by going to class ( who knew it was so HARD!) and I do it for me, not for her. She is looking forward to attending college this fall. I will always wish that she would have continued on her ballet journey, but it's okay.

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dancemaven

:clapping: iceberg*lover. Sounds like both you and your DD are happy now. :D

 

There are other ways to satisfy that performance itch. :wink: My DD has satisfied hers by training to be a public defender. The first time she attended an oral argument before a Court of Appeals at her law school, she experienced that adrenaline high and said she knew she had found her outlet. She loves every second of it and it provides it all: preparing for the motions and court appearances is like rehearsals; the strategizing is like choreography; and the actual court appearance is like a stage performance. There is constant movement in this area of law practice and less office/desk time. It fits her.

 

Sometimes it is just a matter of thinking out of the box. :)

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isadora

Iceberg*lover,

 

I too am taking ballet classes. I had taken some beginner ballet classes in the past, at the same studio where my daughter had her first dance years, but decided to return this fall after a long break. It has been quite hard at the beginning, as the memory of my DD was everywhere (although she had left that studio a year before to go to her professionnal school), but little by little, I made the experience mine. Although I have some difficulties due to my lack of coordination and knee pain, I enjoy the classes a lot, and this is why I cannot understand how my daughter could leave this for good (although I am convinced that she is much happier now than she was before). I am just hoping that she could take a class here and then, that would be enough for my own happiness.

 

It is great that your daughter is joining you from time to time!! I love this 'passing the baton' from daughter to mother!!!! This way, nothing is lost.

Edited by isadora

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love_ballet

Those of you whose DD's have decided FOR THEMSELVES that they wish to move on----for their sake's, let them! I say that with all kindness, understanding of your own loss, and good wishes. Your daughters are leaving on their terms, by their decisions. Let them. That is the best way to do it. It is not being forced upon them. Even if you believe their decision is based upon something someone said to them, LET THEM move on on their own terms. They have processed it and are content with their decision.

 

"If you love them, let them go". If they love ballet (and ballet loves them), they can always go back. If not today, then tomorrow, or next year, or several years or decades from now. Let them come and go from ballet/dance on their own terms. If they regret it, that will be something that they will need to come to terms with for themselves. As long as you did not prevent them, you can't be blamed. And, it IS their life and their decision. :flowers:

 

Having lived through these journeys with ballet (DD) and soccer (DS non-dancing son), I so agree with these wise words! They know enough to find their way back on their own IF they want to - resist the urge to "get them" to a class, a pick-up game, whatever. Our job as parents is to get them to the point where they make their own decisions. Even if they still seem conflicted, let them work through it on their own. Sometimes that apparent internal conflict (second-guessing themselves) results from a feeling that they do not want to disappoint us parents - so convince yourselves (and therefore, them) that you trust them to make the right decisions for themselves.

 

 

Edited to clarify abbreviation (on my other forums "D" means "dear" but of course on this forum it means dancer!)

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isadora

We all agree with this love_ballet!

Only sometimes it depends on the circumstances in which the dancer had to give up ballet, and also on her unique personnality.

 

Each mom knows how to approach this with her own daugther (son).

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love_ballet

I remember how much DH dear husband struggled with this process - he had a much more difficult time letting go of the "what could have been" than I did and at times I found myself supporting him as much as supporting our kids. But he got there eventually.

 

Edited to clarify abbreviation.

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swanchat

Those of you whose DD's have decided FOR THEMSELVES that they wish to move on----for their sake's, let them! I say that with all kindness, understanding of your own loss, and good wishes. Your daughters are leaving on their terms, by their decisions. Let them. That is the best way to do it. It is not being forced upon them. Even if you believe their decision is based upon something someone said to them, LET THEM move on on their own terms. They have processed it and are content with their decision.

 

"If you love them, let them go". If they love ballet (and ballet loves them), they can always go back. If not today, then tomorrow, or next year, or several years or decades from now. Let them come and go from ballet/dance on their own terms. If they regret it, that will be something that they will need to come to terms with for themselves. As long as you did not prevent them, you can't be blamed. And, it IS their life and their decision. :flowers:

Our experience is the same as dancemaven's. It would have been much better for our daughter if the decision to stop ballet had been hers and not the result of an injury. Isadora, you mentioned that your dd had an injury that caused a decision by her school to assess her out for the next year. It seems like your dd is adjusting very well and you are still having difficulty. I'm sorry that you are struggling. Please do take these posts as kind encouragement.... your dd will adjust and seems to be adjusting well. As a mom, I'm sure that your first concern is your dd's well-being and success in life. The discipline and work ethic that are second nature to ballet students help them in all things.

 

Teens rebel. If your dd wants to go to class, let her ask to go. Even gentle suggestions to go to class may be interpreted as coercion and she will run the other way. If she doesn't ask, then let go! She's going to be fine.... and so will you. There are so many successful former ballet students (and professionals, too)!

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Momof3darlings

I agree with love_ballet. Time is part of the healing and they will find their way back in some capacity if this is where their heart takes them. I agree with swanchat that for some the encouragement to get them to take a class will work and be positive. But for others it can be daunting to consider. So let them ask!

 

I wish I could agree that all parents will know how to deal with their own child in this regard. But this type of loss is a tricky one, and not all of us do know how to help our children through it. It is so heartfelt and so internal that what our children need from us might be the complete opposite of what we think they need. This might be one of those cases where open, caring conversation is needed led by them and not us. Where listening ears instead of speaking voices are truly what's needed. Where day to day, minute to minute, and year to year the conversation will change and the readiness to accept suggestions taken differently.

 

I can't profess that if this were my child that I would know how to help her and in most cases I would say I know how to parent my child. This, though, would not be one of them. What I do know I can do is be a support, be a lending ear, be an open heart and have hugs ready based on the look in the eyes or the slump of the shoulders without any words being spoken at all.

 

I agree with dancemaven. After years of seeing dancers leave on their own, dancers have the rug taken out from under them either from injury or job loss and the lack of a new position. If they have decided on their own terms to move on we need to let them! On their own terms is better for them in this journey when possible. That may kick us in the knees for a time, but from what I've seen, on their own terms is always easiest to work through. As parents, that is the time we need to mourn the loss of their journey but remember it was their journey and begin to focus pretty quickly on the time that has freed up to allow us to focus more on our own journey.

 

*note part of what I was responding to has been removed from the post above.

 

Members-this really causes a change in the flow of reading conversation when you do this and makes responses seem odd. How about just clarify, this is a conversation/discussion. Use the boards to converse like you would in person. In person, if someone brings up a point that makes you question what you said, the words are already out. So you continue the discussion. Point and counterpoint. When you go back and simply remove a sentence, it makes many of the rest of the comments seem like they came out of nowhere.

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isadora

I agree with you Momof3darlings. Of course it is their life, etc.. not ours.. And they know what they have to do.

 

I never talk about dance with my daughter. Except asking her for technical tips for my own classes. I know she misses ballet classes, but I also know that she is relieved from the extreme pressure she had on her shoulders last year. This clearly was not for her!

 

She went back for a visit to her pro school some months ago and texted me from there how she was happy not to be part of this world anymore. She noted how limited and useless this all was.

 

She is now on a better path (for her), playing a musical instrument, writing and drawing. That doesn't mean she would'nt be happy taking a class from time to time. As a work out, as a way to use some of that knowledge, and also to regain some confidence in general (as her confidence has been hardly challenged last year). I know she would enjoy it, in a free and non-competitive environment. But I am not pushing whatsoever. I am on the contrary encouraging her pursuing other interests, and praising her on this (like her musical talent).

 

From the start of this thread, I think I made clear that the problem was not her, but me. That's why I called for other ballet moms to testify, to tell us how they coped with the loss.

 

It is clear that after nearly one year with no dancing, my pain had time to vanish, little by little, month after month.

 

What remains for sure, is a kind of bitterness thinking at what we were told to believe (her talent) by teachers and ADs, all the energy and efforts, and emotions, and $$$, all for nothing! And no, I don't think that her practice, except as having given her a nice body posture in general, is helping her in other departments. On the contrary, I think she has all to learn now that she is out of this restrictive world.

 

Sorry for my awkward english.

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pointy_ears

Isadora,

 

I so completely understand where you are coming from and how you feel.

 

For me, too, the problem has been, well, ME. My daughter seems fine with her decision, and what I can't seem to accept is HOW she can be so "fine" with it; how she can walk away from something she had dedicated so much time to and been so good at, and, per her, was her passion and heart's desire. For me, the ease with which those things suddenly became null and void for her and the "what could've been" is still very hard to grapple with. Too, the idea I will never again see her float across the stage with her innate grace and delicate way is something that is hard to accept. I know it all sounds selfish but it's the way I feel, and I'm trying to change that.

 

You've had more time than I have; I'm hoping I will get to there and be able to wholheartedly embrace the new adventures.

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isadora

Pointy_ears : the first 6 months are the worst. Then the pain starts to diminish (not the dreams though...). It takes time but it vanishes... As I said somewhere above, I cannot even remember what it was when she was dancing. I watch her videos, and think I am watching someone else... She changed so much, she is not the same person...

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isadora

And that was the goal: becoming another person.

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Boydancermom

It's been two years since our son left gymnastics. I had been a coach and a judge and was thrilled that he (although I have to admit I had hoped for one of my daughters to follow in my footsteps) took it up and ran with it. He did it since he was 4 years old, did it until he was 13 and was the State Champ in vault in two states and had progressed to a top level. I was thrilled! I loved going to every meet, watching him progress and when the light started to flicker, I was in denial. Lucky for him (and for me :-), another door opened (dance) before he closed the gymnastics door. I think that's key. If anything, try (I know it's hard) to encourage some other interest for your dancer to focus on, or develop. And maybe they need some time to "regroup" and rest.

 

I still have twinges when I see a gymmastics meet and it's hard not to be in that world anymore.....but you know what? I know that gymnastics prepared him for what may be a career in dance. One door closes and another one opens.... (and now I'm here trying to figure this whole new world out). I know the pain and I hope that your daughter's or son's find their next passion.

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