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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Moving Away For Training- Packing Question


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Well the day has finally come, my dancer is seeing her dream come true and will be flying away next week to train in another state.

This transition has been on my mind for YEARS! I have known that this is what happens when one is pursuing a career in ballet, eventually they have to leave home to take things to the next level. 

I have mentally prepared. I have prepared daughter and she feels ready.

Here is the dilemma...how much to pack? This child (18) has THREE suitcases full of clothing and is not even done packing everything else she needs. I am imagining her new life: she is going to wake up & put on dance clothes and coverups, go dance, come home, shower & put on comfy clothes, eat and relax (should get home around 3:30-4:45 daily). I think the only time she will wear real street clothes (beyond sweats and leggings) is on the weekend. 

We did learn the hard way when she went to her first SI where she seriously overpacked and managed to scale way back in following years, but now she feels the need to take a lot because she will ben there for the whole year. I am already seriously concerned about how she will pack it all up to come home, she has got to cut back on what she is taking.

Any words of wisdom from those who have walked in my shoes?

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LOL.  Yes, tell her that she doesn't want to pack too much because she needs to see what everyone else is wearing... Her "high school" clothes may not be "cool" where she is going ("real training").  Just like professional dancers don't want to wear black leos once they turn pros because they don't want to look like "dance students" anymore. 

You are correct in your analysis of what she will be wearing and how she will be living, but she sounds a lot like my DD.  She wants to be "prepared" for EVERYTHING.  In order to combat that lovely characteristic (that has and will continue to serve her well), reassure her that she has the ability to solve problems or issues on the fly.  She can borrow or buy what she needs, and doing so will help with social bonding.  In a pinch, you can mail things.  Remind her of her time at her first SI, recognize that this tendency to over prepare is a GOOD characteristic, but at times needs to be tempered.  Too much, and it can weigh you down (quite literally -- especially FLYING, but also metaphorically).  In my DDs case, she flew cross country, and I could not afford the extra luggage fees, so she was limited to one suitcase.  We made that limitation "fun" by buying things there for her new living arrangement.  (she's also my eldest, so we didn't have hand-me-downs we could use).  In other words, we made the process of moving into a new (and somewhat scary unknown) life more into "starting fresh" than being prepared for everything.  

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My DD has the same kind of schedule your DD has - except mine also has very little social life or reason to go anywhere at night because she needs to do her school work. Over the last year, she has asked for more dance warm up clothing and comfort clothing. The one thing we have saved money on is street clothing! Plus COVID limits how much time she is out and about socializing. 

I do not know how often you will see your DD, I see mine every 4-6 weeks (she's younger) and we exchange clothing as a new season approaches. I was just washing her sweaters to freshen them up to bring to her Labor Day weekend. 😃 Also, keep some stuff home so she doesn't need to pack as heavy for travel home. DD is always carting around her ballet stuff (continues to train when she is home visiting) and her virtual school backpack, and that's already a lot to travel with. It's nice to have a few days worth of clothes and the basics at home. 

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Eligus, I like your approach. I will have a chat with my daughter about not needing to be so prepared!

Ballet6706, she will be across the country and we do not yet have the schedule for the year but I am thinking she will only be home 3 times. I keep reminding her that it is only one year and what ever she packs to take,  she will have to pack again to bring home!

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27 minutes ago, Noodles said:

I keep reminding her that it is only one year and what ever she packs to take,  she will have to pack again to bring home!

Yes! I remind DD of that a a lot - everything needs to come home eventually ... in one car! 🤣

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A funny story about the tendency to be "over prepared" and take things "just in case"....

my DD was prepping for her first 3 letter SI, and we were driving to the big city where it was to be held.  Because it was a car, she kept packing more and more and more things, convinced that she "might need it."  This necessitated several rearranging of the materials and stuff she was bringing. 

We finally got to the SI, and unpacked the over loaded car into the dorm room where she would be staying for the next 5 weeks.  My DD was unpacking her stuff in the room, going over in her head what she would need to do the next day (for class), when she realized in a moment of blinding panic, that the ENTIRE supply of leos (she needed a specific color for this SI) were at home, on the floor of her room, a good days' drive away...  all of that unpacking and re-organizing had caused her to overlook putting the leos back inside the suitcases.

I thought, quite literally, that her heart was going to stop.  I'm so glad I was still there and hadn't left yet, because that time of absolute panic was quite interesting to live through.  Once she realized she didn't have any of her leotards, she then couldn't remember if she'd also packed her pointe shoes!  (Thank goodness, she had packed them, but I was watching the absolute horror grow and the brain cells and rational thinking freeze and drop away as she pawed through the stuff she did bring). 

Anyway, it was a Sunday, her roommates had not yet moved in, and she was facing her first class in a prestigious SI without a leo AT ALL (forget about the color).  We stood looking at each other in a bit of panic mode until we realized that the SI was in a big city and that they HAD to have an open dance store somewhere.  They did, despite the fact that it was a Sunday.  We ran a few city blocks to the store, and purchased ONE leotard for her to wash and wear the next few days until I could get back and mail the others.  

The next summer, when she was leaving for her "dream school" SI, she packed one leo and 2 pairs of pointe shoes and tights in the carry on bag she took on the plane.  😂 

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Oh my goodness Eligus, that is a story!! I can feel the sheer panic!

So here we are, average sized bedroom in a boarding house type situation. Three full sized suitcases. 

Last night after we arrived I was looking around and it dawned on me...there is no closet. She hadn't noticed yet. We are headed to Target to get a few things to help with organization. I suspect I will be bringing a full suitcase back home with me 🤪

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