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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Help! DD is quitting dance for good


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It has been almost three months since I wrote here.


Gone are my hopes that my daughter would go back to a studio, even on recreative purposes.


I tried what I could to make her re-try, even once, what has been part of her daily life for more than 10 years.


We had our first free convervation about dance only a few weeks ago, exactly one year after she had her last dance show and wore her bun for the last time.


Listening to her, I could measure the trauma she had endured, being rejected and ostracized in that pro-school where she spent her last dancing year. I understood why she couldn't make herself do a few dance steps again. I am hoping to have more conversations with her about this. Something has to come out!


I cannot but feel anger at the people who made her hate dancing. She was a lovely dancer and we lost this forever.


Meanwhile I have taken care of my own healing. I am more and more involved in my ballet practice, and have slowly evolved beyond the beginner level. I don't think of my daughter when I dance, I think of myself. I have made ballet world fully mine. It helped me make the distinction between my relationship with ballet and her own. It also allowed me not having to brutally severe my ties with that world. I still watch ballet videos, I still listen to ballet music, but I think more in terms of technique than in terms of nostalgia linked to my daughter dancing past.


Nothing is as easy as it seems though. I am still in touch with a ballet mom or two, but I am very cautious on what I can listen to re: their DDs present dancing life.


My own DD is present in my dreams, but I have accepted that it is just my brain getting rid of negative feelings at night.


I can watch old dance videos and pictures of my DD, and accept that it is the past.


Needless to say today my daughter is very happy in her new life without dance.


But had I known the pain and sadness that having her quitting would have brought, I might have thought twice before insisting on having her doing a pro school.


I won't be posting again, unless someone in the same situation would need help or something new would happen.


I have been very happy to find comfort here when I needed it the most. It has been fantastic to discover that I was not alone in my sadness, particularly when my close environment couldn't understand it. Thanks a lot!

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My DD quit about five months ago. She does not want to do any school athletic activity. She says she doesn't want to do something if she isn't going to be good at it....of course the rub there is that other students have been doing swim, or track, or lacrosse, since they were younger, while she was doing ballet. She says she will work out at home, but does not. She says she will run on her own, but does not. I just got a family gym membership, hoping that she will start to attend. As you can imagine, going from dancing six days a week, to complete inactivity, has been very bad for her physically. Her clothes don't fit. She is self conscious.


She has taken a job, though, at the local dance store. And loves it when her ballet friends come it to get new shoes.

She has taken up guitar, and likes it very much.

She applied for a STEAM program at school, and was accepted.


We went on a college visit, and she was excited to see that they had a dance program. I was surprised, because she had said she would never take a class again. But she now says that she said she would never take a BALLET class again. So maybe she will find she enjoys the fitness classes at the gym, and maybe she will find some fun dance classes somewhere else.


I keep thinking that right now, she needs to decompress. She was quite burned out, and I think her lack of commitment to anything new is because she is afraid of getting in too deep and getting burned out again.


Its a fine line between letting her find her own way, and worrying that she is lost.

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I completely understand your feelings of grief and loss.

As you know, I have posted before, as well, of my own daughter's decision to leave ballet after 11 years.

Her decision seemed very sudden and left everybody very confused - including her teachers who had great hopes for her and her potential.


I just wanted to say that, while it's important as parents that we let our kids "find their own way", I also think it's important to recognize and honor that we, as parents, also have feelings -- and that is OKAY. They don't always have to be neat and perfect.

The world of ballet can be daunting and a struggle, but it is also magical and beautiful. And when you're deeply supporting your own child in that world, it should not be thought of as unusual that you would have a reaction to suddenly being removed from it.


Yes, it is ultimately their lives, but we are part of those lives, and I for one understand why it would be painful to suddenly be on the sidelines with no control over something you were previously such a "partner" in with your child. Not in physically doing it, but in aiding the dream, providing emotional support and lots and lots of MONEY. lol.


Thank you for being so candid with your feelings and your story.

It has helped me.

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  • 1 month later...

Isadora (et al):


Nearly two months ago I wrote that my daughter's decision to never again return to dance remained firm. Today I wanted to post as surprising update


After 9 months since her last class, my daughter has decided to return to ballet!

It will be different this time around. Rather than the 5-6 classes a week she was taking before, plus rehearsals for company, she will only be taking three ballet classes a week. The studio was good enough to let her remain im the prepro program without requiring the full load, which is quite the exception, and a wonderful surprise and bkessing.


Now, my daughter will stay connected to ballet, but be able to explore and experience other things and enjoy high school life. As time goes by, she may decide to go back to that more intense level, but IF she does, it will be her choice and she will feel more in control about that choice.


I am very happy she is making this decision; her quitting was, whether normal or not for a mom to feel, devastating to me. But more importantly. SHE is excited. And it will be wonderful to see her feel this way again about ballet.


Thank you to all for your support! And Isadora, thank you for allowing me to highjack your thread :)

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  • 5 weeks later...

We are living this very problem currently. My DS finished high school a year early to attend a trainee program last year - it was his dream. Dance has been his life from age 4 to 18. The teachers were absolutely wonderful and DC improved so much under their instruction. Dealings with the school itself - disorganization, lack of communication, surprise last minute rehearsals, little chance to eat properly, lack of professionalism among the dancers, trying to have a life outside of dance, living on his own, and trying to hold a part time job to pay the bills wore on DS. The last straw was the loss of the financial assistance DS got last year. Last week I moved him back across country home. I had hopes he would want to go back to his home studio right away and keep training but he is so burned out and depressed right now, he can't. I have cried a lot over all of the "what ifs" and "should haves" the past 2 weeks. My head logically understands his perspective but my heart is breaking wide open. Given time, I hope he returns but I really don't know if he will. :nixweiss:

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So sorry to read this, dinkalina! It seems some of these issues are not uncommon in trainee programs. I have said several times that it is much easier to send your child to college with dorms, cafeterias and many student services than it is to send them to a trainee program with an intense schedule plus all the adult activities of daily living they must manage! We dealt with the lack of organization and the lack of days off which were actually specified in writing. Fortunately, in our case, the previous administration is gone and the current one is much more organized and seems to be looking out for the trainees.


I hope your son can take some time to decompress. I have seen a dancer or two take off a great deal of time and come back stronger in many ways because they have a different, improved mental state. Best wishes to you both!

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Dinkalina I am so sorry that your son's experience have dampened his love of dance!


In hindsight, are there questions that you could have asked that could have shed some light onto how this school worked?


Your scenario sounds like something that we all would want to avoid. I wonder, how does one identify a program that treats the dancers well and vs one that takes advantage of them?


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I'm so sorry dinkalina. Like Noodles, I hope that as you debrief and recover, I hope you will help us by sharing hindsight on things that might have helped going in and then things should he decide to try again, what he will look for differently. That sort of conversation might help alot of people in general. Not school specific but just in general. We've had a few threads before where this sort of help was posted. It might be time to revisit or add a new one.


I know that when DD left her first company, with that, she developed a very strong sense of what she would not accept (didn't want) going forward that has really served her well.

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I've been thinking a lot about your story, Dinkalinka, and how hard it is to predict a good or bad institutional fit. If it was a matter of fit, I hope your DS will pursue a better one. It seems like a lot of boys move around to find the right training. (Girls may, too, but my sample is mainly boys). Maybe if your son knew that changing training programs as an advanced student on the cusp of a career is pretty common, it would help to put his situation in perspective. I will keep my fingers crossed that it all works out for him.

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Sounds like your son had a lot on his plate. It's tough to juggle all of it. I hope that he finds a better fit - but for now, gets the much needed rest (and home cooking) before he decides "what's next". It seems to me there is so much getting the "fit" right: the instructors, the housing, the friend group, the finances, the performance opportunities, the philosophy of the company. No wonder dancers don't always get it right out of the gate. (not to mention that they probably don't spend as much time as we do researching the ballet world! on boards like this!). Big hugs.

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Momof3darlings, I agree the thread of "what to look for" and sharing thoughts in hindsight would be helpful to revive or start! I've heard of more than a few situations where the glamour of "getting the offer" ends up far outshining the reality of the living/training situation in the end. It's hard to really think through the "what if's". And, the honest truth is that offers are not always that easy to come by, so letting them go isn't an easy decision to make.

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Perhaps someone should take the lead and get the suggested thread started. :D.


(We are starting to get off-topic here continuing down that road. :thumbsup:)

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