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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Moving On & Letting Go

Guest unsoccer-mom

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Guest unsoccer-mom

Last year I posted about my daughter taking the summer off from ballet. She had what appeared to a very difficult year due to injury. We now know that there was more going on. She seemed to come back from her summer off with a renewed sense of purpose. She did well and had a successful and happy Nutcracker season. However, when she came back from Christmas break, she had one audition and announced that her interest in ballet was over. Her heart was no longer in it. Because her ballet classes are part of her high school program (she attends a private arts school), just simply dropping ballet was not an option.


She spent the past month preparing a portfolio for presentation to the visual arts department. This week she heard that she has been accepted and the dance program will let her make the move. Today is probably her last ballet class.


Next week, she starts a whole new life with a focus more in tune with the direction she has grown in since starting high school.


Mom, Dad, and little brother are left standing there wondering how did we get so caught up in something she loved for so long only to be told “forget it”. It is all a part of the process of raising children and letting go. It is much more difficult than I expected.


Reading many of you post about the difficulties with hiring these days, I know she is better off making the switch now. I know this will give her more time to concentrate on her academics and explore the world beyond her previously very narrow focus of ballet.


So I guess this is kind of a goodbye, as I expect there will be not much I can contribute to future conversations. Thanks to all for your insights.

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UnSoccer Mom,

Your post really caused a lump in my throat! Sitting here thinking about it, I realized that any of us could find ourselves in your shoes at some point in the future. Your comments about the rest of the family wondering how they could have become so caught up in ballet, were also very thought provoking and touching.


You are so right that this is what parenting is all about - letting them find themselves, regardless of how painful it is for us! However, the level of commitment that ballet requires from the entire family unit makes leaving it such a tumultuous event for everyone.


I greatly admire your daughter for coming up with an alternative plan, that is more in line with her current interests and for executing her plan in such a timely and successful manner. It sounds to me like she can be successful in any endeavor she chooses for her life.


I wish her the very best of luck and much happiness. To you and the rest of your family: I send a little piece of my heart. Please continue to drop in on us here, now and then. Your insights and perspective can be very helpful to others who may find themselves travelling down the same road!:cool:

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Guest balletmama

Unsoccer-mom, thank you for your very touching post. Being a ballet parent is incredibly demanding, and if you're blessed, you find that you enjoy it, which makes it so difficult to let go...


As balletbooster says, please don't go away altogether; others on these boards are sure to be following in your footsteps and will benefit from your presence.


It is so fortunate for your daughter that she is in an an environment where she can find nurture for another passion and talent. Many creative and resilient people like your daughter seem to work in different arts in different periods of their lives; the love of beauty and the dedication aren't lost, but transformed, and the "cross-training" is enriching.


You and yours are very much on my mind...I wish you all the best.

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un-soccermom, I saw myself in your post. I also have a daughter that decided not to move on with her dance training after 13 years of classes, Nutcrackers, SI's, and dreams of a career that wasn't meant to be. I supported her decision whole-heartedly, but I know how you feel when you say you wonder how you can just let go after being so involved for so many years! I am still a lover of dance, and I still support the company and academy that she attended by volunteering occasionally. I still visit the "moms and dads" message boards. Even though she isn't currently dancing, I feel that I have "been there" and still have something to offer others that are where I was just a short time ago. I know how you feel - feel free to PM me if you want to talk to someone that understands!

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I had tears in my eyes reading your posts.

It does make one wonder what the years will bring to each of us.

Bless you both, but bless your dancer who was very mature to handle it with grace.

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Guest BalletFlaMom

First of all...I too have tears; however, my daughter attends an arts achool as well, at the Middle School level, but many of her friends are in the Arts High School here. I KNOW how difficult it is to change your "major" at this level. My daughter had a friend who tried for 2 years and was FINALLY accepted the second year.


As has been said above, PLEASE stop by and check in with us (I LOVE to see a PLEEA post on the boards, you are SURE to be getting good advice) - you WILL be missed! :)

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Unsoccer-Mom, thank you for posting. I can imagine how hard it must feel. I've spoken with other parents who've said that after their dancing children moved on to other lives, they (the parents) went through a bit of a grieving period. In fact, I just met someone this week who said that it took her twelve years after her daughter left the dancing school before she could attend a ballet there again.


I was especially moved by this sentence because it's so true of so many of our families, isn't it?


Mom, Dad, and little brother are left standing there wondering how did we get so caught up in something she loved for so long only to be told “forget it”.


I'm happy for your daughter though, glad that she's taking her energy and discipline to explore another fine art. You must be proud of her.


Please don't consider this a reason to not post here anymore. Your wisdom through this experience will give us a perspective that can only enhance this board.

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Unsoccer-mom, I echo everyone's wonderful remarks. I admire your daughter for her ability to be true to herself, and for her initiative - you have much to be proud of!


Please keep your toe in here and let us know if your daughter's new art form ends up incorporating her years of ballet...I'd think it would be bound to in some, as yet unforseen, way.


Thank you so much for sharing your feelings and thoughts with us all and don't go too far away!

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Guest novamom

UnSoccer Mom

My heart really goes out to you. Your daughter sounds like a bright, very tallented young lady. You know that her ability to make this kind of decision can only have been made with the love and support of her wonderful family. I am sure she will be successful and happy in whatever she does.

Please do continue to visit us all here at BA. Any one of us could be faced with the situation you find yourself in. I hope we all would be able to handle it as you have done, with grace and love. If some of us should not do as well as you have, it would be nice to know you might be peeking in to give us your support.

I have always enjoyed reading your posts and I wish you and your family the best of all good things.:D :D

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To use a phrase I despise: "Yeah, what they said."


Everyone else has pretty much said everything that's on my mind. Over in the "Networking" thread, someone commented on how this board has become her social group, even when we're not discussing ballet. Please do drop in when you feel like it.


And, just for the record, I remember you as one of the first people to respond to one of my early posts. I was recounting a less-than-good experience at an SI, but didn't know if board etiquette allowed me to name the place. You chimed in with, "Sounds like ________." And you were spot-on. I knew then you were a person to listen to! (And no, I'm not going to beat that dead horse. It's history. Don't anyone ask.)

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I echo what was said above and would like to add kudos to your daughter. she has shown great wisdom at her young age to get out a field that can be brutal before she has gotten too damaged. that kind of honesty to herself and ability to "see it like it is" will serve her greatly in the future, as it did me.

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Guest unsoccer-mom

Thank you all for your kind comments. They have truly helped.


To Vagansmom: I understand how that other parent felt about not being able to go see a ballet.

To BalletFlaMom: Yes, it is difficult to switch majors. She tried last year during her bout with tendinitis and was not allowed to switch. This year it was all her doing. She made all the contacts and we held back from getting involved.


An interesting note: serious visual art students also attend summer programs. They cost around $4,000 to $4,5000 for four weeks with supplies projected at about $700. We going to hold off this summer, but start saving for summer 2004 at either Pratt or RISD.


I will check back in from time to time.

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I am new to posting (BW tells me she is glad I have come out of the shadows!) but I remember someone on the board posting: Our children often realize long before we do that it is time to move on to a new focus. (was it Ms Leigh?)


Think back -- how many of us were able to identify the direction of our future at age 10 -- 13 -- 16 -- or even 18? How many in our "generation" went on to college "undecided?"


PleeA: your daughter sounds like she has her head screwed on right, and will continue to be confident in her choices as she sprints into adult-hood.


How great! Is there anything more that we as parents could wish and hope for? All the best to you and your family, and (as I echo those before me) don't stop visiting and posting. :rolleyes:

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Guest natthecat

Similar to treefrog--I agree with everyone above. Your daughter sounds so together--I am sure her dance experience will help her tremendously in the visual arts field. Regardless of what our daughters or sons do when they become adults and move on to careers and families, dance has provided a valuable foundation, whether they become professional dancers or not. Dance has given our daughter so much (and I am sure all of your kids as well)--great kids to hang out with, disipline, an appreciation for classical music, opportunities to perform and tons of fun. Even if she were to quit tomorrow--and we would definitely be sad, do not get me wrong--it will all have been worth it. Good luck unsoccer-mom I am sure it will work out great for your daughter.

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Unsoccer Mom,


Geez, I don't even know you, but I thought I'd put in my two cents...


First of all, I own a graphics business - my own company I started about 17 years ago. I was in high school (not an arts school) and was DYING to get more art classes. I was not allowed to take ballet past the age of 5 (which killed me) and was a good thing due to my physical makeup. My best friend studied at one of the famous NYC ballet academies, I thought she would be a famous ballerina, but injuries sidelined her. I went to college after begging my parents to let me drop math in favor of art classes in high school, as well as increasing my cello lessons and summer intensives in orchestra at Michigan State University for 2 summers. When I got to college, I was determined to be an art major (which I was) but so enjoyed the variety of classes, I soon doubled my major to include Theatre, and added a music minor as well. I went to Indiana University.


My dad, bless him, wondered what on earth I would do to support myself after college, and had been involved with General Electric's new enterprise of computer graphics in 1973, my freshman year. He was in a different division when I graduated but encouraged me to apply for a job as a computer artist - I wanted to move to Los Angeles and get a job as a commercial artist or as a costume designer or any other arts related business.


I got the job, was one of the first computer artists in the first wave of them in the U.S. (1977) and what was just to be a job to help me find a job became a profession.


Fast forward 25 years... I have my own graphics business, and I am at last taking ballet - for myself at age 47. I'm learning pointe.


Why am I telling you this story? If you love ballet, maybe you can keep active in it yourself. Your daughter clearly is finding her path which she loves, her arts grounding and everything else she is learning will serve her in ways you will never know, and we can never predict the future. All I know is that she instinctively knows a path to explore, and the love and support of her parents has been and clearly continues to be what she needs - it is obvious you give it to her. I wish you all the best, I enjoyed your post, and know that your involvement in something you love can be transferred to yourself if you desire! Your daughter has a great mom! :cool:

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