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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Career aspirations: when is it time to stop?


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  • BW


  • Victoria Leigh


  • vagansmom


mermaid's mom, along with stargirl, your girl rocks too!

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Guest natthecat

Thanks for posting this topic Treefrog. So many good, interesting responses from a variety of perspectives! The response from the former swimmer turned track team star was the best. So much of what our kids are learning through dance is transferable to all kinds of other pursuits. I played competitive tennis growing up and really wanted to be a Chris Evert (remember her?). Well played in college but a Chris Evert and Evonne Goolagong was not in the cards, to say the least :D , but I had alot of fun trying. Again thanks for posting a topic that hits home for many of us.

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Guest hmangian

I have loved reading this thread because it is something I consider a lot. Finally, it seems that each person must choose their own path, especially teenagers. Intensity and passion will help a child or adult thrive and grow. It is my belief that each child will "figure out" their path - whatever it may be. None of their experiences are wasted and all will contribute to their final choices in life. I agree with Victoria, that around 16yrs old is the age that kids start to contemplate the future with more reason. They seem to have enough life experience at that time to start to put everything in perspective.


That is one reason that when I read post from parents who have children training far from home make me fee sad. If the child decides that dance is not for them, everyone, parent and child cannot go back and relive the millions of "family" moments. So much has been sacrificed. On the other hand, when a child is really ready to go and pressing forward, there is no holding them at 16. By 16, they are a little better equiped to fly on their own - short flights anyway. Plus they have had all of their family moments with siblings and parents at home :)


I know that probably the most popular theory, but it is mine. Again, this is a very thoughtful thread and I have enjoyed reading it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Instead of doing what I should have been doing, I was searching back in Ballet Talk time and found this thread though it is a very short one and felt that it related a bit to the whole dilemma within this thread. (the thread starter is a young dance student)


As parents we all care deeply about our children and we want them to succeed in life. Both driver of a dancer and Cabriole remind us of the key components. Driver pointed out that no matter what the outcome, dancing does prepare one for the real world where it's imperative not to compare yourselves to others... And, I think Cabriole put it much better than I could ever hope to when she wrote:

True success comes from enjoying the process and not making the goal the complete focus. People who are only goal-oriented often find, upon attaining the goal that there is a sense of emptiness...
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  • 4 weeks later...

I am not sure if I should post here as I am only 13 so feel free to delete this........


I would just like to give a view of somebody actually in the childs position :)

I only resumed ballet from basic earlier training in September 2002, but am totally in love with ballet. When I left ballet when I was younger I regretted it hugely.


Ballet is something that I cant really describe to me, all I can say is that it really does mean the world to me. It worried my mother that I would take a fall when I spoke to her about intensifying my training so that I could see if I had it in me to be a professianal.


This is what I told her: I know that becoming a professianal is unspeakably hard, but this is what I have to try, or I will spend my life regretting not trying. I love it enough to give up other things so that I can make the timetable work. And I love it enough to recover if I don't make it. Sure, I will be upset, but my love of ballet is stronger than that, and I know it will be forever. The hardwork won't have gone to waste because I will dance all my life, and I enjoy progressing.


I guess what I'm getting at is that there some things that you just have to do, and are willing to run a little risk for. I would hate not to do ballet just because I woulldnt make it professianally.


Hope this helps :)

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What a wonderful post, Jane! I'm not empowered to make decisions about whether it stays or goes, but I hope it stays.


You have expressed such a wonderful attitude. You have the DESIRE to work hard for something, and the HOPE that you are good enough to succeed. Those qualities tell me that you have already succeeded in way that some people never do. Please congratulate your parents for raising such a wonderful kid.


The concern I expressed at the beginning of this thread was about a much less mature attitude: the one that says, 'I WILL succeed if only I try hard enough." You are reflective enough to have doubts, although I don't think you will let them cow you.


I see that you are from England. Which attitude do you think is more common among your friends? I am wondering if the brashness expressed above is more characteristic of young Americans than youngsters in other countries.

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Dear Jane,


Thank you so much for your beautifully written, heartfelt post. I think you've said it all and, especially for me, as a mother of a young woman who shares the same feelings and the same number of years as you - it only serves to underscore the importance of following your heart.


Many thanks for a real breath of fresh air!! :)

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thankyou for writing such lovely things!

I think that that feeling 'I can do anything if I try' spans throughout the world. Maybe it is because ballet is so romantic, its hard not to get swept away and stop being realistic. Also I think some people believe this because parents want to encourage them to try hard at things and pursue talents. But I dont think any hard work can really be wasted.

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I went through the same decision process as Jane, at twice her age; these things are timeless. I figured if I tried and didn't "make it", then I could go on with life. But if I did not try, then I would have to live with severe regrets.

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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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  • 2 months later...

I was reading the thread on the adult board about why adults dance, and whether or not students should continue training if they don't become professionals. I was reminded of a conversation that I had with my daughter a month or two ago, when I asked her whether or not, if it happened that she didn't make it as a professional - which is her goal - would she continue to dance as a hobby? To my great surprise, she said no - that she is used to the level of intensity of her training now, she couldn't go back to a smaller studio or less intense training, and would just give it up. Now, I was not a dancer as a child (although I did take ballet as an adult), but I was very involved in track. I wasn't elite by any means, but I was fast enough that I had interest from colleges out of high school. I trained year round, pretty intensely, for years. After college, I stopped competing, but kept running for fun. I run to keep fit, and run in road races, mainly for the t-shirts :innocent: . I can't imagine not running at all. Therefore, I was pretty shocked at my daughter saying that she would just quit dancing. Is this unusual in the dance world? Or do you think that your dancing children would keep training, just at a lower, less intense level? I can't imagine just quitting something that I'd been doing for so long, and that I loved...

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Victoria Leigh

I have found that some will quit totally.....for a while. But they almost all come back to it eventually :innocent: It is way too much a part of their lives. But, sometimes they need to get away from it for that to be evident.

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Most of the kids I know from the pre-professional school who don't go on to dance professionally end up doing what Victoria said. But initially MOST of them give it up completely...for exactly the reasons your daughter gave. They can't imagine not dancing so intensely. But as time passes and they're away from that intensity, they seem better able to emotionally handle dancing less frequently and so they reenter the studio. In one way or another nearly all of them stay involved in some area of the arts.

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