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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Growth Spurt in Audition Season


tldx

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DD (13) woke up yesterday morning, complaining that she was sore and had no idea why. She went through a Sun Salutation to stretch out and couldn't get past 110 degrees in her forward fold (normally around 160 degrees cold). She had PT yesterday and the therapist mentioned how stiff DD was - everywhere. I thought about it all day, because DD hadn't done anything that would have made her so sore. Her studio has been closed for two weeks for the holidays, so no dance injury, but she has been going to PT regularly, so she's been working. It finally hit me - the last time this happened was when DD grew two inches in about two months. (I should have noticed the extra klutziness, but dismissed it to the holidays.)

 

The problem this time is that it's January - audition time. She has five auditions this month and two of those are for our area performing arts high schools. Ugh. SI's I am not so worried about, there is always next year, but the high schools...getting after freshman year is next to impossible.

 

Does anyone have any tips, tricks, words of advice/comfort? She's not going to be 100% until this is over, which could be a while, so she's starting to freak out, plus she has classes and rehearsals every day from now until the auditions are over, so there is a very real risk of injury. Help!

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Hi tldx. I am sure you will receive more expert opinions from others but my advice (of a very tall DS) is to coach your DD to think of this experience as 'one of many yet to come'.

 

My 18yoDS has had to push on inspite of injuries (he even wore jazz shoes to ballet class for awhile), he had to keep his spirits up at a 3 letter SI inspite of an injury which left him sitting out (very tough) and has weathered the impact of growth spurts along the way.

 

Telling her to simply 'calm down' probably wont help. I have found it useful to reframe these experiences as learning opportunities, learning to develop other skills inspite of physical set backs.

 

As DS gets closer to the age of hopefully finding work, I can now see that becoming a professional requires more than just the ability to dance. They have to learn to work with their body at all times, not just when things are going well. Yes I guess her auditions wont be her best performances but this wont be the last time this happens. I dont know exactly how they do it (not being a dancer myself) but it seems that they highlight other strengths (perhaps their port de bras?) during these times. I cant explain this properly- hopefully someone else with direct experience can. One thought also is that at 13yo, you can be sure that there will be plenty of other dancers at these auditions who will be having similar difficulties!

 

Bottom line is that DS has learned over time to frame these experiences as 'normal'. There have been times when I wondered (privately) if his dancing days were over but he keeps on keeping on and those early set backs have just formed part of the fabric of his learning. Does that make sense? Basically catastrophising these situations (you or her) really, really doesn't help. Trying to turn it around into a learning situation has worked well for us- DS sees these experiences as part of earning his stripes as a serious dancer. Anyways just my two cents. :cool2:

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I wholeheartedly agree with everything Thyme shared. I am the parent of a very tall dancer and there have been times when it is a real struggle for her. She has had to dig deep and push through rough stages of growth but it has made her a better and smarter dancer. She knows her body well and has learned to listen to it.

 

Since there is nothing that can be done, your DD is just going to have to go into her auditions with the best attitude she can muster and do her best.

 

Best of luck!

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Thank you both so much. At this point, there really isn't anything that she can do except for work hard and keep a good attitude about it (she isn't there yet). DD did actually listen to me and mentioned this to her teachers last night and they did give her some good advice for coping with it (mostly the same things I'd said, but it always sounds better coming from someone who isn't Mom, heh). Stretch out, hot baths, lots of sleep, and lots of bananas. They've also suggested cutting a couple of her classes for the time being, so she can continue rehearsals without overdoing it. I'll probably get a excuse for PE until she's feeling better, as well.

 

I'm certain that the schools have encountered this situation quite a bit, but with the level of competitiveness for admission, I do understood her concerns. I'm just going to keep telling what I've told her all along - either you have what they want or you don't, but these schools are not the only path. It's just so hard to see her sore, sleepy, and down in the dumps all at once.

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