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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Moving On & Letting Go

Guest unsoccer-mom

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Thank you everyone for your outpouring of posts and support. We are really okay now, it was the last couple of months that were rocky. Once the final decision is made moving forward isn't so bad at all. I will miss that part of her life very much but I am quite sure another passion will take it's place.. and it has imparted in me a genuine love for ballet and complete respect for the artists that perform it. It has been a mostly joyful journey, lots of time in the car together for classes and auditions and she has made some of her closest friends through ballet, traveled the country, met amazing teachers and professionals- no regrets, her life is only better for all of it.

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First I have to say how thankful I am to have had this thread to read through - not sure how I remembered seeing it, but thank goodness I did, and thanks to anyone who will now read our story and help us "move on" :) Hope it will also provide comfort, sanity, and strength to who next experiences this.


DD dropped her bomb on us a few weeks ago - out of the blue for sure - although after reading through these posts I can see that she is at an "age-appropriate" place - 16 hs junior - to make such decisions, and I am proud of her courage and her level of mature self-reflection in trying to understand who she is, what will make her happy, and how/where she should proceed/go.


Had been a great few weeks - lots of positive comments from dance teachers, great solos assigned for recital, talking with current pros who had gone to college in strong BFA Ballet/Dance programs and indicated dd would have good chances of getting in, making plans to visit such colleges, SI plans etc...Certainly no burnout - still comes home after ballet class brimming with joy and enthusiasm, watching YouTube ballet for entertainment, excited about performances coming up...


So when dd announced that - actually she did not desire to "dance professionally" nor major in ballet/dance at college I felt completely blindsided. Wasn't it only the year before when we had an exact opposite conversation? Then enrolled in online high school and starting taking as many more extra classes as possible...whew...yikes. Like brunhilda I kept my mouth shut, and I did mean it when I said - OK so what do you want to do and how can we support you - but I had/have so many questions.


DD does not readily share her feelings and I still do not have an entirely clear picture of her reasoning - what I do know is what she told me about this decision. It had been on her mind all year. She has only known, only done ballet and is ready and has a desire to try other things - to find out what else she might be good at. She doesn't see ballet as a "job/career" that she would want to do. She has considerable academic interests and talents and wants to be able to explore them, while young, while in college and to have a "real college experience". She said she feels that she would regret missing out on college and pursuing/discovering other things in life more than she imagines she will regret not dancing professionally. She would like to travel and study abroad (although not to dance), get more involved with church and community service, be able to put all her focus into academics instead of only part. As I write, this all sounds so well reasoned and mature and I am incredibly proud of her.


For now she plans to continue her high level of training and dancing thru high school. I think she sees this as a nice way to have closure as she'll graduate from hs and ballet in a way next year. Doesn't want to go back to regular high school and so will complete her online courses as planned. Luckily we chose a program that had rigorous college-prep courses (including many APs) and so we do not think her college applications will be hampered by the "homeschool/online hs".


As of this week she doesn't even want include some dancing in her college search - so is looking at Liberal Arts colleges that don't neccesarily offer dance classes at any high level, but I wonder about totally closing the door on those options - for as we've seen she could change her mind again, especially after her SI (which she still enthusiastically plans on attending and is looking forward to).


I am considering asking her/encouraging her to go ahead and visit a few of the "ballet colleges" while we are also visiting the non-ballet colleges - even if just for a point of comparison and to consider Liberal Arts Colleges where some amount of dance might be an option, "for fun", so that if she finds that she would like to have recreational or ??? dance in her life it will be a possiblity - I feel like options are better than a completely closed door -- but then it really is her path and perhaps the best way for her to redefine herself is to go dance cold turkey so to speak, at least while in college? Not sure - will appreciate anyone's 2 cents :wink:


The other question in my mind is what, if any, element of fear of failure or not thinking she could "make it" played into this decision. Her main ballet teacher also wondered this and I'm not sure there will be an answer anytime soon, but the question kind of nags at me and my husband??


For those of you who know dd, please don't share this "news" yet. A few of her freinds and her main teacher know, but I'd rather she share such news on her own time & in her own way - thanks!


I think as this Spring & summer plays out I'll have more to share - and I will gladly conitnue to be part of the BT4D community as long as I can be of help to anyone :)


Thanks again to all the previous posters - I can't say enough how much reading of your experiences and the many happy outcomes has helped me get some valuable perspective and to not feel like such a fishout of water as we journey with and try our best to parent and support our d(for now)d.

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twiga, I don't have any experience with this situation, but I read your post and just wanted to send a hug your way. Your DD sounds very mature, and you sound like a wonderful, supportive mother. I'm sure she will do well and be happy. I can't imagine, though, how shocking and somewhat sad this must be, even with all of the stress that ballet entails. I am glad that you will continue to be a part of our online community, and I hope you will share news of her successes with us.

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twiga, it is always a bit sad when they walk away, but know that she did it on HER own terms and for all the right reasons. Don't worry so much about there being a 'fear' factor in there. Even if there were, it would be more a matter of her assessing how much 'no' and 'rejections' she'd be up for than anything else. She apparently has weighed that aspect of the dance world and would prefer to go out on top with her enjoyment and memories of joy in dancing intact. Sure beats pushing to the point of the bitterness that might come.


If you have been reading along on the company audition experiences thread, perhaps you have gleaned the tough road the kids have to trudge. Not a pretty sight. It can suck the life and joy out of even the most committed, most hopeful, most talented, and most dedicated dancer. I would not mourn your DD's pragmatic decision to forego that road and instead travel one that most probably will provide her with additional joy, self-fulfillment and adventure. More power to her, I say!!! :wink:


There are simply not a lot of jobs out there--and there never have been. So, look at her decision as not a loss, but a very pragmatic, reasoned, evaluation of how she wants to spend her time and emotional toll.


Best wishes to your DD and to you! :)

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twiga, I am not sure what to say so I will say both congratulations and condolescenes. Congratulation to you and your DD that she is finding out aout the fullness and wholeness of who she is, as this i s what life is about. On the otherhand, condolescenes as it is certainly a life change that is hard to adjust to and has come to an end.


We had a little of a similar circumstance with DD who started in music theatre as a strong dancer, was very succesful in this from 11 until 17, but somehere in there decided to drop the MT part and only dance, then last year (her senior year is HS) came home and said she was never singing again. There was this literal silence in our life. Over the last year we have adjusted and she does sing for fun occasionally, but it was abrupt and in my mind sad. But she is now VERY happy with who she is and where she is going and it is very exciting to see her become herself.

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Oh dancemaven thanks for the wonderful thought of her "going out on top" thats such a great way to think about it :)


and calamitous - yes it is exciting to see her become herself


thanks for the hug pointeprovider :) greatly appreciated and needed!


it seems so strange with an end in sight but not quite herre yet - dd came home from class tonight all lit up with excitment and joy - talking a mile a minute to share with us that they had had a partnering class and how fun it was and some small triumph she had made with a dificult promenade - and so I get a sense of even more joy she is having with this experience and perhaps the "ton of bricks being lifted" thought is coming into play as she has a plan in mind and less pressure now with her dance - it can be sheerly for the love of dance - hmm, not such a bad place to be

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Since your dd is in such high spirits, I would simply go along for the ride. This is "the time" when kids start to see the realities of their situation, and the most important thing is, as dancemaven has already said so beautifully, it's on her terms, and she's happy. I'd encourage her once in awhile, that she may want to leave the door open to just taking classes at some point in the future, because it is exercise she enjoys.


It seems that between ballet and your good parenting, we have another young, articulate, intelligent adult-to-be!!!!!

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love to see you dance

To everyone Thanks for sharing your stories, with my 16 yr old DD I knew that she was thinking about pulling back from her schedule, for the last year she had seemed less enthused about dance and wanting time to explore her other talents. She still continues to dance on a limited schedule and since making the decision has seemed so much happier, less stressed and more cheerful. She is still considering dancing more ( enough to participate in the Nutcracker etc) , but has made the decision that dancing as a career is not for her. I think that she showed a thoughfulness and maturity in making her decision. She had to face alot of people who were telling her she'd be sorry when she told her friends, dance teachers etc about her decision , but I am proud of her that she knew what she needed and was able to make the decision by and for herself. a dance career life is difficult enough on it's own but I would think impossible if one is doing it just because they have the talent but not for the love of it.

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twiga- it as though I was reading my own thoughts about 8 months ago... it was a very difficult time for both my DD and myself and trying to manage the process long distance complicated it even more. I, too, felt blindsided by the changes and decisions she was making as less than a year ago we were auditioning for year round programs. However fast fast forward the months and now in the process of choosing which college to attend. I will say it has gotten much easier for both myself and her. She still has nagging thoughts if she made the right decision I think, especially as she sees and hears of friends and acquaintances from SI's and school moving on into trainee, apprentice positions and dance programs in college. That said, however, she is very happy with her current path of academic interest and does not regret any of her training and sacrifices to train over the years. She still dances but only three days per week and hopes to continue to dance in college. However, visiting colleges with strong dance programs was not even on her radar last fall and that is ok too. I have seen over these past months since she left the intensive training how much she loves dance and it will always be a large part of her life. I must say every once once in awhile I catch myself thinking about the "what ifs" but it passes quickly, especially when I see that she is happy doing what she is doing. Like you DD, mine had a clear thought process about why she wasn't going to pursue this and what she was going to do. Hugs to you, it will get easier with time.

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[A] dance career life is difficult enough on it's own but I would think impossible if one is doing it just because they have the talent but not for the love of it.


Ah, but don't sell those that choose to change directions short. I think it often is an injustice to think those that change direction may not 'love it' or love it enough. If they make a reasoned and pragmatic decision about changing course and make that decision before they've reached the bitterness that comes of feeling thwarted at every turn, then I would say they may actually be able to make that decision because they do 'love it enough'----enough such that they want to preserve the joy it brings them and always have how wonderful it made them feel to hold on to as they go about their next adventures. It will be a good yardstick for them to know that 'yes, there is joy in things I do' and will give them something to reach for in their other endeavors.

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twiga -


It is now 3 long years since dd "dropped the bomb" and we scrambled to get her classes changed after the semester had started (reputable university ballet program). Her unused, but already sewn Grishkos are still in their boxes in her closet. She's asked me to donate them (I won't, not just yet). In May she will receive her BS in Education. She's had a stellar college career, is happy, healthy and, frankly, my hubby and I could not ask for more. My point? You will get through this and so will she . . . with bells on.


Ballet gave far more to my dd than the joy of dance. It taught her poise and remarkable self-discipline. Neither one of us regrets the ride. From your post, it looks like your dd and you won't either.

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To twiga and love to see you dance -


It feels so good when they make this decision themselves, even if they do sometimes spring it on you.

Hugs to you both and thanks for sharing your stories. This thread also was a great comfort to me in the past. The best is yet to come for your dd's! :D:thumbsup:

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twiga --


Try to look at it this way: she has the material for a great college application essay!


I really do think it's hardest on the parents, because they haven't done all the work of thinking it through and letting it go before the bomb drops. The kids have, and they are ready to move on. You will be too. Give it some time.

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From a different perspective of changing directions and dropping a bomb…My DD was adamant she would not pursue dance post HS. She is more Broadway jazz than ballet/modern which is what she thought college dance would be. At most she was thinking of trying out for a dance team. She applied to her colleges for graphic design and was awaiting acceptances which she did receive.


But mid-senior year she looked at me and said “I can’t stop dancing!” so we started scrambling for auditions that January. She auditioned for 3 programs, was accepted to all and is now a trainee in NY. Do I think it will lead her anywhere? I’m more realistic about that than she is. Is she happy? Incredibly!


We attended the alpha performance for this trainee program this past weekend. It was incredible and I was amazed at the change in her over these past 6 months. She is doing exactly what she didn’t think she wanted to and extremely well.


She still struggles with the college decision because that’s where most of her friends are. She even reapplied to one as a backup plan but I know her heart is where she is. Fall decisions will have to be made soon. I sometimes wish she was in college pursuing a degree, financially and academically a safer bet for her future? And then I’m sitting in the audience watching her perform this past weekend and all my sensibility is gone….there’s nothing like it!


This life is definitely a roller coaster ride….for them and us…and I dread the day it’s over. So, hugs to all.

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