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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Career aspirations: when is it time to stop?


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My DD is 16 and a Jr.  This SI audition season was tough.  She got into three programs, waitlisted for three others, and a no thank you from one.  Each no/waitlist was a blow to her, many tears were shed and doubts expressed about if she has what it takes to make it professionally.  Her current aspirations are a university program where she can pursue ballet and possible double major in pre PT.  

Her ultimate dream would be to dance with a company.  

As a parent I don't want to give her false hope we have had teachers tell her she does have what it takes to be a dancer.  Do I continue to encourage her to keep going to pursue these dreams (I don't want her to regret giving up down the road)?  


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Been there, felt that! I don’t think supporting her is giving her false hope. She’s going to be her harshest critic most likely anyway. She got into 3 programs, so on some level something is working. Keep taking things one year, even one semester, at a time. If her teachers see something in her then it may just mean getting in front of the right person at the right time. She didn’t have 7 rejections, after all! I know it’s hard. I’ve questioned things many a time, but DD is figuring it out and her ideas of what a gratifying career in ballet seem to be evolving as she matures. Edited to add that as long as my DD is pursuing her dream with passion but also a level head, I’m more than willing to support her. 

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Thank you dancingjet.   Her tears are more than enough to break this mama's heart.   I don't want her to ever regret not going full out to attain her dreams while at the same time I don't want her to look back and feel she missed out on her teenage years.

Oh to be the perfect parent.....

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On ‎3‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 5:17 PM, MKBmom said:

I don't want her to ever regret not going full out to attain her dreams while at the same time I don't want her to look back and feel she missed out on her teenage years.

This is exactly what a perfect parent wants and does... you're already being the "perfect" parent by weighing these considerations.

This desire is also why it is EXTREMELY important that SHE makes the decisions about what she will pursue, and for how long, and where. 

That means if she's not worried about "missing out" on her teenage years, then don't place that worry (which might be really just your worry -- I'm not sure, only she can answer that) on her. 

Over the years of raising a dancer, I've learned that I did NOT want to become an obstacle to her pursuing her dreams, and not being an obstacle was more difficult than I realized at first.  In order to get out of her way, I had to control my OWN fears and worries about her path, and just let her figure out what path she wanted to take.  I had to NOT protect her from the hard things because that "protection" was only limiting her from experiencing the possibility of the good things. 

That was one of the hardest lessons of my life, but also one of the most valuable.... as well as the most fulfilling.  Because when you see them making those choices and accepting/receiving the consequences (good and bad), and then making the next decision, and the next... well, that's just ... (almost an inexplicable feeling)... an amazing parental journey of your own.  It is the ultimate culmination of what being a parent is all about.... it's letting go of the child and allowing the adult to blossom.  It's painful and also so exhilarating and amazing it can take your breath away. 

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MKBmom - those of us that have been around a long time can give you encouragement in the sense that we have seen our own dd's and other dancers SI journeys through the years .... some amazing dancers didn't get into certain programs while others did etc.  Don't put too much weight on SI's other than to gauge a bit of where she is at.  For example, what caliber/competive SI's did she audition for - wait listed is not the worst !! Step back and try to look at the bigger picture .  She still has a few years so evaluate where she could be in her training in 3 years from now !   It is going to ve up and down, tears and happiness but it's all part of the journey and has been said here many times, every journey is different.

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Amen Eligus!

I couldn’t have said that better myself.  

Throughout my daughter’s dance training years, I often questioned, is this what she wants or she doing what she thinks I want.  It was so hard but I always tried to make it clear that I enjoyed watching her dance but I cared about her happiness more and if she felt quitting would make her happy then I fully supported her decision. She chose to keep dancing. Now she says dancing will always be a part of her life because it is woven into the fiber of her being.

I read an article today about a girl who went to at least 200 auditions of the course of 3 years to finally get a contract. 


It is about being the right dancer in the right place at the right time.  

So unless your daughter is getting all rejections or if she can’t handle them,which only you and she will know, and as long as you can financially support her, then keep on until she is ready to stop.

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I can't tell you all how much I truly appreciate all of the insights that many of you have shared.  While I think that there are other dance parents at my DD's studio that share the same concerns I don't know how many parents are brave enough to admit it to others without the ambiguity of an online forum.  

Thank you all so much!

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