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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Daughter wants to quit dance after next year


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My daughter recently turned 12. She has been in ballet and recently jazz since she was 5 and has always told me how much she loves performing including a year she was in a performance group at a different school. This year she will be in grade 5 RAD as well as other classes (and pointe) she is now old enough for. Suddenly she has told me that dance is boring and she has felt that way for a long time. The last year has been one of change physically as she has gone through puberty, and is staring juniour high in the fall. My mother also recently,passed away which has also been difficult. Just a few months ago she was telling me she wanted a barre in her room so she could practice more. Is this just an age thing? She has a good physique for dance and up until now has loved performing. Maybe it is hormones. She has agreed to go one more year but says she will not go back after that. I was kind of caught off guard on this one.

Edited by Teacher5
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It's very common at that age. I would just let her decide and not bug her about it. She has agreed to go for another year, so just let it be and see how it plays out. Interests change--and we have to remember, that's okay, too.

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My younger daughter ( older DD still dances). was feeling the same way last year ( although it had more to do with atmosphere at her studio)

She was a beautiful dancer but just not into it enough to stay - I agree with dancemaven, see how the year goes but maybe introduce some others things that she may be interested in so that she can move into something else ( mine is now going volleyball and loves it). Hope that helps !!

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My DD is now 16. As she went through the ages 12,13, & 14 seemed to be key ages in girls deciding to stay or leave dance. The draw of "better cooler things" outside dance really seemed to be the driving factor. Sadly girls and boys (as well as adults) that were not in dance would actually use "teenage pressures" for them to drop dance and do "normal" teenage things making them seem so much better than dance experiences.


Many of DD friends dropped out or went down to minimal dance classes during those years most ultimately leaving dance.


To help counter the "dance not cool" thing we started taking our daughter to dance conventions (these were not in ballet) where she took classes from well known choreographers (many choreograph on SYTYCD). Many times we traveled to do so to add to the experience, stayed in up-scaled hotels (convention discounted) and toured the towns we were in. Taking a selfie with people like Travis Wall added to the experiences.


The experiences not only added a fun factor but also put her around other teenagers (became Instagram and Snap Chat friends) that thought the way she did and helped counter the non-dancers influence.


This helped get through those years and she is now in an all day ballet training program in NYC


This may not help but thought I'd through it out there for thought

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Thank you. She is my caboose and went through puberty the youngest. This week she is at a dance camp with many guest instructors in other dance forms and she is loving it, showing me the new steps she is learning. In the next breath she is telling me she is still quitting. They are putting on a show and for the ballet part,she was chosen to be Cinderella. She told the instructor she didn't want the part so has a different one although they all get to do a solo apparently. I didn't want to read too much into things and I guess this is just a new phase in life and ultimately, it is her life. It will be interesting to see what happens next year. She went from being one of the shortest, to one of the tallest in a year or two but knows the others will most likely catch up and surpass her in height. It might also be a bit of insecurity as she auditioned for two summer programs and didn't get accepted. Neither takes many out of hundreds who audition but egos are tender at that age.

Edited by Teacher5
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Dd10 is one of those girls seemingly made for ballet with a beautiful facility and an excellent stage presence, but last September/October she started telling me the same thing (it's boring, I have felt like this for a long time, etc.). I encouraged her to give it some time but by Thanksgiving she was done and in late December I told the studio she was done and let her quit. Honestly, I wish I had listened to her more closely to begin with. She has since found something she loves and it is like night and day for her. You only get one childhood--they should spend it doing something they love.

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Teacher5, I completely empathize what you are going through. My DD is the same way too. She has a lot of natural talent and has also shown a real love for dance and so our family have made many sacrifices to support her by driving her to classes, paying for them, signing her up for summer programs. She's going through a growth spurt and is now the tallest in her class. She still loves to dance, but sometimes sends mixed messages as well. I don't know if it's hormones, or waning interest, she doesn't say. She's still wants to do her classes but I can foresee a future when that could change too.I just try to support her either way and never push her to do more, but as parents I think it can be an emotional journey for us too. I really admire dance (soccer, baseball, fill in the blank here) parents because we do a lot to support our kids and do our best to make them happy. But they're growing, learning more about life, trying to figure themselves out and can change their minds often. So as parents, we have already invested time, money and emotions in learning to love something they love but sometimes they stop loving it as much and that gear shift can be tough on us parents as well. I believe it will all somehow work out in the end, but the journey can have lots of unpredictable bumps for all involved.


Good luck to you and DD. I hope it works out for all of you.

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Thank you. We may be heading into our final dance season but it will be okay. She has a lot of changes coming next year in school, starting band etc. I guess we will see where we end up after next year's recital.

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Honestly if either of my DKs said that I would let them quit. It's probably taken some courage to admit that they are ready to move on. Anyways ballet is too disruptive and expensive and as much as I love seeing them do it, it's not worth it if they aren't really loving it. Our house rule is you have to finish what I've paid for- so the semester, the season or the course. I ask them before I write the next check- are you still in? That way it doesn't feel like quitting and they need to stick out their commitment.


There are a couple kids I know who are forced to go or feel obliged to go by their parents. They weren't very nice to be around at the dance school, probably because they are bored or resentful. The one in particular I think about wastes the teacher's time often and once even cost her peers a number in the spring show because she didn;t do all of the rehearsals.


There are also a couple kids who started cutting back to due to injuries or something else, and just took fewer classes over time until they no longer came at all.


Ballet is such hard work, and really must be torture if you don't love it. If someone is bored of ballet, even another year might be really too much for them.


So I agree with the others- let your DD take the lead.

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She has always loved dance and performing so some of the things she told me do not ring true. I am happy she will do another year as this will be the year she gets to do the additional classes. We have talked and if she is no longer loving it, she will quit. Right now she doesn't want to do anything which doesn't sit too well with me as she has spent a lot of the summer on her IPAD. I can see

that in the future without some kind of outside activity. She really likes the dance camp so go figure. Tweens are a breed unto themselves.

Edited by Teacher5
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As a parent of a 13+ I would like to point out that sometimes the desire to pull away from dance (when one loves performing) is more about a shake in their self confidence and feeling like they might fail...it is easier to quit than to face the challenge sometimes.


It might be worth digging a bit deeper to find out of something else is going on...Has she had a growth spurt and is perhaps feeling a bit uncoordinated? Is she getting along well with her dance mates, any problems? How does she feel about her teachers and the corrections that she is getting? What about her social life at school? Is she getting enough of that? etc.


Sometimes kids have a hard time understanding what they are feeling and need help flushing out where these negative feelings are really coming from. Then again, as others have said, ballet is not for everyone. It requires tremendous commitment and dedication..there is nothing wrong with just wanting to be a kid without the heavy responsibility! Good luck :-)

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I agree with Noodles. Saying 'I want to quit ballet' often is a generic statement hiding much more precise and concrete issues.


To get those issues expressed, Teacher5, I suggest you practice a little of active listening next time she says it again.


This consists in repeating what she says, like an echo, forcing her to go deeper and deeper..


Let's say that for instance she says: 'I am fed up of dancing'. Then you would say: 'Oh so you are fed up!'. Then she would say: 'Yes it is getting too hard'. You would answer: "Too hard, uh?'. Again she would have to explain: 'Yes I cannot do this and this properly'. You would go on: 'You cannot?', etc. etc.. At the end, you would have both discovered what the real problem was.


I wish I had tried this long ago with my own former DD.

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I'm reading this thread with interest because who knows what the future will hold for my currently dance-obsessed girl. I have two stories to share, neither of which is the same situation as the original poster.


1) I took ballet from age 6. When I was 9, I told my mom I wanted to quit and do gymnastics instead. She asked why did I want to quit ballet, which she thought I enjoyed. Because (the studio owner/head teacher) was mean. But you like the other teachers, she asked. Yes. Well (head teacher) is retiring and the other teachers are buying the school from her. Somehow my 9 year old brain didn't pull that all together. I really wish she had told me to try a couple month's worth of classes with the new ownership before deciding. I enjoyed gymnastics (got on my high school team) but to this day regret not going further in dance when I was younger. I picked it up again in high school.


2) My daughter started ballet when she was 6 and loved it but, every so often, would say she wanted to quit. She'd say she'd wait until after the performance (twice a year) so she wouldn't let her classmates down and, afterwards, would find she was re-energized. Finally though, at age 9, she'd had it. Class was too slow and easy and the teachers wouldn't let her move up. A re-shuffling that brought 6 year olds in to her class was just too much. She'd had it.


We spoke to the teachers and they said she should take the higher level class (it was starting in 5 mins). So she could see how far she had to go to be allowed to move up. In her usual class she was kind of low energy, chatty, distracted, and didn't do stuff properly so it was reasonable that they wanted her to learn more first. But when she was with the older girls, she suddenly did more and they surprised us by saying she was ready right now. She moved up immediately and got exponentially better. Two years later she's in the same level, all with girls older than her that moved up later than her. But the class has gone up in level tremendously and now everyone's on pointe. That's what it took for her, to feel challenged and motivated.

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The only comment is that ballet has become "boring". I went to her dance camp performance last week and she did a great job at the new faster paced dance forms she has never done before, urban, hip hop, etc. Until this year, she had never had any interest. It was always ballet. I think part is just moving through puberty at an earlier age and changes in so many areas. Insecurity and not wanting to stand out might be part of things as well. Until now, she always loved performing but looked a little embarassed and self conscious during her ballet part. She did however ask for a small solo part in a techno style dance. Next year should be interesting. Her ballet school is quite traditional but they have added in some new classes. The other girls will also be moving through puberty and gowing through the growth spurt she has already been through. Going from one of the shortest to almost the tallest was difficult. She knows the others will go past her in height eventually and is ok with that. It may be that she will stay in dance and transition out of classical ballet but I will leave it up to her. She has agreed to one more year. It could also be tween push back and an effort to be more independent. I guess we will see where things stand after a year en pointe and in junior high.

Edited by Teacher5
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Nine months ago, after 10 years of dedicated study and several high level SI's, my then-14 ur old daughter suddenly quit ballet and left her company mid-season. She, too, said she had grown bored and was also only seeing her flaws, leading her to feel she was sacrificing too much for something that may never materialize.


After ridding herself of all things ballet, exclaiming "never again!", exploring cheer and going crazy socially, she just registered for fall ballet classes at her old studio. This time she will not have the full load she once had; she will just be taking three clases a week. But at least she will stay connected to what was once her passion and dream, and she will still have time for high school and room to explore other interests. She may or may not decide to go back full time, but if she does, it will be her choice.


Long story short: these kids get burned out. Sometimes their quitting is truly the end of that particular road; sometimes they just need a detour.

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