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Ballet Talk for Dancers


Guest Medora

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I am very upset. I overheard my parents talking about me this morning. They have never been very supportive of my dancing, its a wonder that they allowed me to audition for the summer intensives. Anyways, I heard them talking, and the reason that they are allowing me to audition for the summer intensives is because they want someone else besides them to tell me how bad I am, to shoot down my hopes! They think I am bad and have no talent, and they talk abouthow my better this other girl is than me, how much better her stage presence is, technique, etc. This girl is one of my best friends, we are very supportive of each other, and we are really about the same in terms of ability. My teachers believe in me and tell me I have a lot of talent, that I have the potential to go very far. I just don't understand. They have only seen me dance about two times, both performances. Both times I didn't do as well as I could have because I was trying so hard to prove to them that I was good. I know the way to solve this problem is to prove them wrong and make my summer programs. But I am scared. I believe in myself, I dance everyday, I seriously believe that I can do it. Why don't they? Why do they never give me encouragement, but only talk about the other girls being so much better when they are not? My mother was a ballet dancer in high school, for goodness sakes!

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Medora, I don't blame you for being upset, and I don't really know why they would do that except maybe because they are trying to discourage you from entering a field which is as difficult as this one to make a living. Many parents are more concerned about your financial future than your artistic future, and not without reason, however, it's not their life, it's yours. However, most parents really do believe their own children are wonderful, and I don't believe that you should waste energy trying to prove anything to them. Do what you must do, dance for yourself, and do the very best you can. We all want to please our parents, and that is totally normal, but there are some people who are just different and not so supportive, and it's hard to know the reasons behind that. Try to just get past it, and realize that you have a lot to do to become what you want to become, and wasting time trying to make them different just takes energy away from your goals.

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Thank you for your kind words. That's what I try to do, just dance for me, for if I was always trying to dance for them I probably wouldn't be dancing anymore. Sometimes the pressure of wanting to please them does get to me, especially when I see my mom in the audience. That's when things fall apart. Thank you, I do feel better to know that I'm not wrong for believing in myself and that I should continue working as hard as I can. :(

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Guest Leigh Witchel

Agh, Medora. That's a dilemma.


Is it at all possible that rather than your parents thinking you can't make it, they're worried about what will happen if you don't? No parent wants their child to be hurt, and if your mom was a ballet dancer in high school, she might know how hard it is to go professional. Also, maybe it was hard for her to quit when she had to make a choice? Neither of these might be the correct story, of course, but maybe there's more to the tale.


If your teachers are supportive, as you had mentioned, maybe you can talk to them about this. Rather than telling them that your parents are unsupportive, consider asking them to set up some sort of conference with your parents, just like your teachers in high school might. Discuss with them whether you ought to be present or not, and ask them if they would discuss your professional potential with your parents. It might be easier for them to be candid with your parents if you are not there, but if so, do ask them to tell you without any sugar-coating how they feel about your progress and potential. In a situation like this, you need to know what they really think.

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This is a very complex mystery. My dad is actually on my side, my mother is the big problem. Its strange because she has told me that she was given an offer to study at SAB when she was fourteen years old. My grandparents couldn't afford to send her, so she quit, just like that. She wouldn't say anything else. I have tried to talk to my grandparents about her, no answers there, only that they said she was very unhappy and frustrated before she quit and that they don't think its a good idea for me to pursue ballet. My mom actually took from one of my teachers that just retired last year. I have talked to my current teacher and she doesn't understand the situation, she told me the teacher who retired is the one I need to talk to. This teacher teaches our class from time to time, so I just have to wait until she comes in. My parents probably don't want to to get hurt if I don't make it, but talking in private about how they think I am bad and the other girls are so much more talented than me just from one performance they saw is ludricous in my opinion. Every time I try to talk to my mom, she says she's tired of my "beating her up" (I only tried to talk to her about her being unsupportive). It's a mystery.

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Wow! You're certainly correct about a complex situation, here!:confused:


There appears to be some deep history going on, and if the difficulties continue, you may want to confide in a guidance counselor at school, or perhaps a member of the clergy, or even a certified family counselor, to help you all work out your difficulties. This is out of our depth, but not insurmountable with help at the local level.

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