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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Anyone taking the residence plunge this fall?


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From a ballet school owner and director...I encourage you to volunteer at your local school/company. We always need help and there is nothing better than an 'alumni' ballet mom to get things done! You know the ropes and are volunteering for the betterment of ballet in your community; not just your DK.

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learningdance, I agree with you absolutely, and to be honest, I don't believe the gossip I heard AT ALL. I know enough about the kid they were talking about that this was a very unfair/untrue remark, most likely rooted in jealousy.  The point of the comment was clearly meant to make me feel bad about my decision to send the kiddos away to this well known school. 

I just didn't expect the fellow dance parent drama-- it just wasn't a part of my stuff-that-happens-when-they-go mental checklist.  There was some surprise, and some love and support, but there was also some cattiness like the comments I mentioned, and flat out "oh good now my daughter can be in snow" type comments that caught me a little off guard.  

Temps, yeah I will volunteer for sure.  It's a great way to give back to the school that nurtured them for so long.

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Nynydancer, don’t be surprised if your offers to volunteer are rebuffed . . . .  Just stay calm and repeat “I only want to play baseball” (from movie “Bull Durham”).

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Thinking ahead to next year as I may be in this situation, for those that are sending their child(ren) away this year to non-company affiliated programs, how is the housing arranged? Dorms, host families, independent living arrangements?

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When we made this jumpt to residency we realized that people often did not understand what we were doing and/or judged us for it. Fortunately I have never needed other's approval and you don't sound like you do either. People have no idea how their comments are registering often. 

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L_One, DD16 is at a company-affiliated program, but we had to arrange for housing.  The school was great about connecting the dancers in the program to see who needed a roommate (or 3!).  Their apartment is just a few blocks to the studios, and they have promised to always walk together (at least two).

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Things to expect or think about re: residency in the first year

1. The venting phone call -- At the beginning you are your kid's only "safe" person.  They can't show others that they are scared, jealous, worried, or angry.  They will vent to you.  You will likely imagine that it is a HUGE issue and then stay up all night worrying and trying to "solve" a problem. Then 24 hours later, after you are a complete ball of nerves you will say ,"Ok I thought about how to handle this. . " and your kid will say, "Oh well, it's fine."  Advice: Listen and give it 24 hours before really getting concerned.  Also, ASK your child, "Do you want help with this? Or do you just need to vent?" I got into all kinds of "fixing" before I realized that my DD was simply venting. 

2. Roomate Issues: Expect roomate issues and remember the 3 rules of roomates (Harlan Cohen) a) People who both have a desire to get along WILL; b)  You don' thave to be best friends with your roomate; and C ) Talk about something that is bothering you sooner, rather than later. Make sure if you raise an issue, however, that it is really important one (e.g., when you talk to your mom until 12:30 you are keeping me up). Also remind your DD with the small stuff that they probably have bad habits that are bothering someone else.  No one is perfect. 

3. Life is so unfair:  Expect to get a call or e-mail about how someone is doing your child wrong and expect to believe everything that that are telling you.  My DD was getting "left behind" by friends--they were all so mean and they left her without waiting.  After a little reflection I realized my DD was actually the problem and was keeping others waiting. I noticed that she did it at home.  Since she has cleaned this up and all because her peers gave her feedback that they were not going to wait for her.

4. Expect something to go missing or get stolen:  We have lost several things. A few pricey leotards and other items.  It's all bound to happen. Have a plan for "finding" lost cell-phones, as this will be your only link to your child and you will panic when they don't answer.

5 .Find Friend: We have an iphone and kids under 18 must allow me to follow on Find Friend--I usually don't let my kid know I am doing it, but it gives me piece of mind. 

6. Establish expectations for communication: I expect my kids to respond to texts if even briefly.  We do a facetime call most nights.  I find it INVALUABLE. I can tell if she is extra tired, sniffly and needs meds, is using her acne meds, etc. It allows me to gently parent. 

7. Keep lines of communication open: It's most important that your kid is as honest with you as a teen will be. This will help you help them. Feeling jealous? You can help them navigate that. Feeling fat? You can bring a perspective and reason to that. Not hitting turns in class? You can help them think through that. Casting disappointments? You can help. 

8. Something will really go wrong--BUT you will survive:  Yes, something will go horribly wrong (injury, bullying, eating issues) but with love, information, help from the staff, you will help your kid survive. 

9. Your child needs to learn the life skills and life management that will sustain success in this profession: Sleeping, Getting school work done, prioritizing, saying no to friends, stretching, PT, managing and recovering from injury, icing, rolling out, doing laundry, clearning room, getting groceries (if necessary), cross training, eating properly, getting places on time, pre class warm up, sewing pointe shoes, professional interactions with staff. This stuff takes time to learn but in my opinion it seems that these things are often the things that can really derail the early professional-- freaking out and giving up when injured, getting into a serious ED, not sleeping properly, not doing injury prevention, not knowing how to prioritze, not having mental toughness, not having FUN, not keeping JOY of dance as the motivating factor.


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Learningdance thank you for your post! I find that in these early days of DD residency I often have trouble seeing the forest through the trees.  Your perspective is very helpful! 

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Thank you, learningdance.  DD's program just started, and so did the "drama".  Thanks for the reminders about perspective!  It's hard when you can't give them a real hug.

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