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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Anxiety about dancer leaving


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Dd hasn't gone away yet.  I'm suddenly terrified at the thought.  I don't want to lose her.  It's too soon!  I need at least another 20 summers with her and then she can go ;)  But seriously how do you let them go and not lose your mind???  For summers, and for residential?  She'll have to go away at 16 full time; we don't have the advanced training she needs in our area. 


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You teach them to fly!  And then watch them soar!  When they come home, it is so much sweeter still.  :wub:


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I feel your pain Ballerinamom2girl. My daughter left at 16 as well which also happened to be the same year my older son graduated from high school. His "departure" from us felt so much easier because we had all of those moments in high school to prepare him and us for his moving forward. Kids who stay at home through all 4 years of high school have a ring day, prom, ceremonies galore so that by the time they graduate, it feels like it's the right time.  I felt cheated out of all of those moments with my daughter so my emotions were very raw when she left at first. I am happy to say that it gets better and that worry and anxiety softens over time, especially when you see that they are happy with dancer peers who "get them" and in a place that is providing them with the training they've been craving. I won't lie...I missed her like crazy but FaceTime  helped a lot!  

Be aware though that the residential program might not always be the right fit for your DD. Listen to her carefully to see if she is really getting what she needs technically AND is emotionally well.  I was very very surprised how many kids left DD's highly selective year round program in the middle of the year. They had many reasons. Some weren't emotionally ready and others decided that's it was more work than they were ready for or just wanted a different path in life.  We all want great training for our kids but make sure they are emotionally healthy too. It's a big transition for them as well as us.  

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Not sure if it's ok to post here since I no longer have under 13's...

The first summer away is the hardest, and although I can't say the rest gets easier, it does get more comfortable each time (at least it has for us). And if your DD is still under 13, there is quite possibly a long way between now and a permanent time away. Until older DD was 15, we had never even considered her leaving home to train, and by 16 she was gone. There seemed so little time to emotionally prepare for that versus just a summer away. When her classmates here at home did all those "normal" high school things cperkins mentions, there were little pangs for me, but she seemed unfazed. Now, with a second DD who aspires to follow a similar path, I am making sure that I savor every moment with her while she is still here. I don't want to miss anything worrying about her possibly being gone!!

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I also have a 13+  and I have known ever since she became truly serious about ballet, at about age 9, that she would need to go away during her high school years.  It is hard when the training where you live just will not support your kiddos dreams. 

Magically something has changed for us though and a new training option opened up locally! Something that I never expected. With this new, better training my daughter has a better chance of staying home longer. I would love for her to be home until her senior year...I think that would be awesome. We shall see. 

So one never knows what the future holds. I suggest that you take some deep breaths and when those emotions hit try to remember nothing is written in stone and there are many unexpected turns on this path that our dancers are on!

As for planning, if she is able to knock out some of her high school requirements sooner rather than later (probably requires alternate schooling) it will open up more options for her training when she is older. For example by senior year my DD will only have 1-2 classes to complete, Even if she goes away Jr yr she will have a fairly light load with only 3-4 classes required. This helps me to worry less because a full load of academics with dancing away from home is a lot!

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  • 3 weeks later...

When sending a child away, how do you make academic arrangements? Does their dance program connect them with a local school, or must a parent find an online program that the child will be responsible for keeping up with on their own? 

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That depends on the specific program. Many options exist from all inclusive programs, to providing some sort of tutor to supervise online school, to no involvement at all with academics

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That is what I am finding. Unfortunately, DD's school doesn't involve themselves too deeply with the academics of students. I really dislike that, as students from out of the state/country have to teach themselves (since most parents choose not to move & just send their child away; many also cannot afford a tutor in addition to dance expenses & room/board). It is a lot of responsibility for, say, 13 year olds. I wonder if there are any scenarios in which a young teen couldn't keep up with their studies & how that played out.

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I don't want to add to anxiety about a dancer leaving, but DanceMumNYC's question stood out to me: "Are there any scenarios in which a young teen couldn't keep up with their studies & how that played out." Yes, that can happen.

I know a gentleman who left home as a teen to train as a dancer. Even though he had academic support, his studies suffered and he returned home. He continued to train at home and eventually achieved a career as a ballet dancer.


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Every child is different just as every program and every virtual school is different. Some have more internal supervision and time requirements than others. At 13, my DD could have easily been working on virtual school independently. In fact, I just asked her and she said definitely. It probably helps do online school before going away. There was a bit of a learning curve that first year. In the end, the responsibility falls to you as the parent to make the best decisions for your own family. What works for one may or may not work for another. There are multiple threads on that topic. 

As far as letting them go, I kind of felt sucker punched each time. First at 15, when she was invited to attend a year round school overseas. We ended up declining. Second was actually at 18 when she had planned a post grad year at home but secured a trainee position at the end of an SI. Summers were easy. Year round was much harder. Even harder now that she is on the opposite side of the country!

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Forglitter, when he returned home, how did his academic support change? (Did he enroll into a traditional school? Or did things just become less stressful & more manageable having his parents' support?)

I'm glad to hear he was successful in the long run. It's great that the ballet offered in his hometown still allowed him to dance professionally.

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MelissaGA, I have a fear that the alternative education won't be as good as the private one DD gets now. I am trying to keep her in a traditional school for as long as possible, but keep my eyes open in case that has to change.

I can only imagine how hard it is to send your child away :(. I am hoping DD continues to do well in NYC so we can postpone traveling as well for a few more years. 

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Please remember that per BT4D Rules and Policies, we need to keep our discussions to first-hand information.  👍  Unless it is our own child's experience, we really are introducing second-hand information, which is a telephone game with decreasing reliability. 😉

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My child's experience was that she went from a college prep hs with a significant AP track for her junior year to one where she was minimally supervised during a study hall to finish her high school through online schooling.  She "got it done" and kept up good grades but it was a constant struggle to keep her on task.  They are tired. They need downtime. It's a lot to ask of these kids.  It's all true but it's a hard row to hoe if you want it all, good grades and success in dance.   Prepare your DJ for hard work. Sorry, it's not easy but it's achievable    

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