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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Career aspirations: when is it time to stop?


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  • 1 month later...
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My dd was also in a similar situation. She missed a year of residency because of os trigonum - a trial of conservative therapy and surgery. She has been back in residency for 3 weeks. The ankle is holding up, but she is not ready to dance like she did before, as she gradually needs to get back into it so as not to inflame the ankle and to rebuild strength.


She is making a comeback from a difficult year physically and emotionally. I think the spirit needs as much healing as the body when the body has been injured. Reganing confidence in one's ability to dance is an important element of this.

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  • 7 years later...

It is observation week at DS studio and as a parent it has been a rough week to watch. DS is 13 and started in creative movement classes at 4. Dance is how my son defines himself. He's kind of an "odd duck" at school but at the studio he comes to life. He has a strong work ethic. He describes time at the bar the way some people describe meditation. He loves that for an hour and a half each day he can focus on how to move and shut the rest of mental chatter off. He uses almost poetic language when he talks about jumps and that split second he feels like he could soar forever. He has good friends, dedicated teachers, and is in an environment supportive of young male dancers. All positive right? But.... he has no talent. He is not flexible. He struggles a half step behind on combinations. Even as his mother, I find it a little painful to watch.

In order to find a robust boys program he attends a pre-pro school attached to a professional company. The recreational track does not offer access to male only training. He is there 6 days a week so more training isn't the answer. I don't want to discourage his passion but tuition is substantial and the hours spent at the studio really impact the rest of the family. This thread has given me no answers but has made me feel a little less alone.

I am bumping this thread in case anyone else who needs it can find some comfort as well.

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My dd is 13 and my family is going through the exact same thing. She has more dedication and drive then most and is bound and determined to enter into the dance world in some aspect when she is older. But I always see her at the bottom of her level no matter how hard and focused she is. We just talked about being less serious and focusing on high school. But she just refuses to give up.

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For the mother of a 13 year old son....can you hang in there a bit longer? Physically, 13 is just so young for a boy...he is going to change dramatically over the next 5 years both in form and flexibility. It is completely possible that the boy you see today will develop into something you could never anticipated!


Balletsky, I totally understand :flowers: I would look into more varied arts programs...ones where she can develop other skills along with ballet. It is possible that the drive that she has for the dance world can be harnessed in a creative way! We recently switched studios away from the big pre-pro and she now has time for all her advanced classes and ironically is dancing way more! With better instructors!

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There also comes a time when a daily class just isn't going to do it. especially with flexibility and balance - those are things that will need to be worked on at home for there to be a chance of improvement. You might want to talk to him about that - or better yet, have his teacher talk to him about it and give him some stretches, theraband exercises to work on.

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chel, you can also ask for a consultation at the local Sports Medicine department. They might have somebody specializing in dance-related issues, they will give you and your son great advices and might prescribe PT to work on his tight muscles.

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Dear Chel, I would like to echo buzzandmoo in saying that boys develop much later and at 13 years old many have barely reached puberty and most will continue to develop well into their early twenties. You seem like a parent with realistic expectations, but I would like to share my experience. I have a son who was a dancer, he started at age 10 y/o and dance until graduation from high school. It was clear midway that he would never be a professional, however he enjoyed the friendships, the hard work, the classes and the performances, and I don't think he has ever regretted the time he spent at the studio. he is now studying engineering at a prestigious University. Never forget the intangible benefits gained from dancing at a pre-professional level. I will mention a few, such as the mental fortitude it take to memorize complex combinations, the dedication and perseverance overtime to improve technique and strength, realizing the long term gains take time, and dealing with the disappointments and using it to work harder instead of giving up. His hard work, diligence and perseverance have served him well and are character traits that will be welcomed by many a professor and employer, to say nothing of the fact that it made my academic minded child, well rounded. My husband, who played football at a Big 10 University, once lamented about all the time spent dancing, (and driving to and from) commenting, "why are we doing all this, he is never going to be a professional dancer". I reminded him that he went on to be a Surgeon, NOT a professional football player, but it was a big part of his life and helped mold him into the person he is today.

This response is a bit philosophical, but remember there are many things to be gained from dance. Best of luck.

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Thank you all for your advice. We are absolutely hanging in there. DS loves every minute at the dance studio and I don't want to take away an activity that gives him so much pleasure. He is taking a stretching class and the teacher helped him develop a home routine for the days his academy work is lighter. He is very small for his age and the doctor believes he will be one who does not hit his final growth spurt until college so we do have time. I know that dance is a slow cook process. It is just a little discouraging when the emphasis must be on SLOW.


A sports medicine evaluation is a good idea. I will have to look into it.


As always, I appreciate all the support I receive on this board. It is nice to know that I have partners on this journey.

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I posted my questions in the wrong thread. I'll organize my thoughts and questions and post later if I still feel the need for feedback.

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Danza-are you asking these questions as a means to find out when to stop career aspirations or just in general? If to stop seeking a career then I'll leave the post here. But if you are asking in general, it might make for a different thread.

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I think it should be moved to a different thread. Sometimes it's difficult to stay on topic. I think I'll delete it and put my questions and thoughts elsewhere if I still feel the need.

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Ok, well I really could have moved it for you and started a new thread had you not removed them. They were good questions for discussion. But just not really about stopping career aspirations.

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  • 2 months later...

There are so many areas in which this kind of problem comes into play. A love of the activity will outweigh many obstacles. Your son may not be a future principle in ABT but he could become a fantastic teacher with a passion that an ABT principle envies. He could flame the fire of ballet in his hometown and make it the biggest pipeline to major ballet companies in the world. This may sound corny but it is the passion that forwards the art form, not the talent. Balanchine may have been an exceptional ballet dancer but it was not his dancing that changed ballet, it was his passion and artistic ability. The training he gets could help him be a great teacher, if not a great dancer.


On the other side, boys develop late. The sports my son has done are littered with the early developers who are now at home while the late developers are playing in the higher levels. Unfortunately, coaches will rarely risk a loss in order to develop a kid with more long term potential and a lot of kids drop out before reaching their potential The same is true in ballet because though teachers think they can pick the good ones early, I haven't seen that to be true. How many smart, talented, possibly awkward kids have quit because the teacher favored the well behaved cute little girl or boy who could stand in line? Reading "The Talent Code" could give you a better understanding of this. Good luck!

Edited by Bigfoot12
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  • 1 year later...

No, THANK YOU, Jane, for writing such lovely things. I was VERY touched by your mature insight at such an age! I too agree that 'hard work is never wasted.'

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