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Ballet Talk for Dancers
BeenThereBefore

Here I go again

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BeenThereBefore

I’m the mother of two ballerinas who are twenty years apart. My first daughter danced since she was three, was in a wonderful dance studio where she trained with an outstanding teacher. The studio performed multiple shows throughout the year so she had plenty of performance opportunities. She was dedicated and danced every Nutcracker part from soldier to Sugar Plum Fairy. She set her heart on a professional company in the area, but we semi forced her to attend college. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BFA focused on dance. She tried again to get a traineeship, finally got an offer, and couldn’t accept it because of the stipend they offered. She completely turned her back on the dance world and became a VP in an investment company. Due to a job relocation, we had to leave our wonderful dance studio behind. When youngest DD wanted to begin dance, I tried to steer her into something else. She had ice skating, tennis, volleyball, and musical theatre. She did take ballet lessons at a very disappointing place that I felt was a total waste of time. That was 7 years ago. We are now back to dancing (started up again when she was 14) It is a better studio (Is well known and respected), but there are only recitals available for DD. She has no other opportunities. She’s now 16 and has been on pointe for two years but she’s 5’6 and all the school opportunities  are for no one taller than 5’. Frustrating for me to watch. Sorry this is a novel! I’m hoping to learn how other moms navigate the world of dance for the daughters who will be disappointed. Guess I’m not too happy about being put in this position again, but trying to be very supportive! Forgot to add she also plays clarinet and is in marching band. You can imagine how those two schedules collide when school starts!

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Chasse Away

Hi Been there Before,

I’m just wondering, what kind of school limit performance opportunities to people under 5’? That seems so strange to me. Is it because they only want children or students who can play children?

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workmail

Congratulations on the child who was able to study dance intensely in college and then go on to a successful career with an investment company. So many good memories and nostalgia of the days of a wonderful studio and the performances. I have a similar situation with a child earning BFA and did trainee but will not go to a ballet career after that. 

I was thinking about this when I read another thread yesterday - that one had to do with long training schedules and balancing with school/home school. 

I, too, have 2 dancing daughters age 15 and 20. My advice to others with younger children (and it sounds like you are experienced and don't really need advice) is LIVE IN THE PRESENT. Enjoy this dance year. And also NO ONE CAN PREDICT THE FUTURE. 

I am not a dancer and never have been. I think these girls should try to do their very best to excel in the activity of their choice while also trying to excel in school. Take the most rigorous academics possible and get the best grades possible without making it "all about grades and pressure". Try to make the most of each dance class and improve, participate without making it all about becoming a professional or winning a competition. This is generic advice not directed towards you. It sounds like you all did that. You daughter excelled in dance and made the most of it while training and she will carry it with her perhaps to teaching, mothering, yoga, pilates, adult classes, being in an audience, and perhaps even financially supporting the arts. 

Ms. Leigh has put in some sensible training guidelines e.g. and this is not a direct quote-- 4-6 classes 1.5 hour each per week and pointe, modern, variations if time. 

5'6" seems like a very average height and everyone will catch up if she had an earlier growth spurt than others. I am sure every few months your daughter is better than her previous self. That is wonderful that she does 2 activities. Colleges look for grades and standardized scores but they also look for an activity list with depth more than breadth. 

As inspiring person is Miko Fogarty who has bravely told her story from First Position to today. She is the most excellent young dancer that became famous in my dance mom experience. However, her performance career as an adult was short. She excelled beyond anyone's dreams while training and performing and now teaches and has gone into the sciences at the top ranked public university in the nation. Who would have thought as she was training and performing and winning that this is where she would land. 

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SonDoesDance

Hi BeenThereBefore,

Welcome!! It seems like you we also be able to contribute a wealth of information based of you older DD in addition to seeking out info/guidance for younger DD!

DS's school also has height restrictions for performances, but it's due to costuming. They don't order new costumes, they just resuse them from years past so it's all about just fitting the costume. There rarely are opportunities for students in his school to participate in performances once they hit age 12/13 and their first growth spurt. All they have to look forward to is their one end of the year school performance. 

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BeenThereBefore

Thanks for your replies 😊 Chasse Away and SonDoesDance, our studio is a major one and all performances are with company and trainees. Therefore, only childrens roles are filled through auditions. I’m disappointed that’s the case, but if DD had started from an earlier age or was shorter, this wouldn’t be an issue. DD does love to dance so it’s important for me to step back and let her enjoy it. Knowing or perhaps sensing the outcome is difficult. Workmail, older DD has so much sadness over the events that lead her to give up the dance world. But she probably wouldn’t be where she is without ballet. It gave her grace and poise. She is a beautiful woman. Younger DD will also gain the same attributes. Ballet touches the heart and soul. Still I’m hoping her heart won’t be broken when the reality sets in. 

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Noodles

Beenthere, how is the training? My dancer went from a dance studio that offered a lot of performance opportunities for one with only 2 per year but the day to day training is so much better, it is a fair trade off. 

Remember that every dancer is different, don't compare your older to your younger, they each have their own path. What are your younger dancers goals? Does she want to dance professionally, or just dance because she loves it?

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BeenThereBefore

Noodles, we haven’t had many choices as far as training goes. Our little neighborhood studio was awful. She’s getting great training now, but I don’t think it’s enough. She really needs to perform on stage more. One recital a year is for kids. DD thinks she wants to dance forever, in any capacity. She is a dreamer, but works hard to get what she wants. She’s moved through 3 levels in the past year and learns quickly. But she’s already 16 and has a long, long road ahead of her. Things are so different from decades ago. To give up academics for a dance career doesn’t sit well with me. I’m pushing for the best college with a minor in dance. Will she agree? Probably not! Her current plan (dream) is forego college in two years to do our studios pre professional program and see what happens. I’m pretty sure I know what’s going to happen as her sister tried the same thing with tons more experience under her belt. But my older DD could have had that career if she wasn’t so tired of being broke. So who knows where we’re going 🙂 money isn’t everything. (Unless you’re broke all the time!)

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Noodles

It is a tough road for sure. Best of luck to your dancer as she navigates her way!

 

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