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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Moving On & Letting Go

Guest unsoccer-mom

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Pratt or RISD, wow very impressive. Best wishes to your daughter in her future art endeavors. I congratulate her for charting her own course and making it happen. You are to be congratulated to for finding understanding and providing the support any young person needs no matter which path they choose for themselves.


RISD, has been but a dream of mine. The only school with a highly technical department in fiber arts (my interest) that I know of. Maybe some day I'll get a chance to come east and do a summer study.

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I too got teary reading your post, and I can understand you need to go through a period of grief for what her earlier dreams were, what you as a family lived with her. But when our children take these paths they have to make the "tough decisions" early in life. To know now that her life is the arts, but not "on stage" shows incredible perception and maturity on her part.


I am curious though if she is still interested in working in the ballet world which has been such a part of her life for so long -- is she thinking about costume or set design? or is she moving on altogether?


I know that you will support her in her new direction, but you also have much to give here too -- please visit often.

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I would say at this point in time she is moving on altogether. I think she needs to reject ballet in order to make the move. She has always been somewhat intense and serious and she now finds that the ballet world is far too concerned with things she considers frivilous. If she does reconnect with dance in the future, it seems it will more likely be modern and not ballet.


As far as Pratt and RISD being impressive, yes, they certainly are. That said, however, the pre-college summer programs from what I have been able to gather are not competitive. It is simply a matter of signing-up and paying the money to attend.

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The RISD summer courses are quite wonderful. My son's in his last year as a student at Brown and has taken many, many courses at RISD through the years, both winter and summer terms. There have been times when I've wondered if he should've just made the switch permanently to RISD.

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I think you should be grateful that she recognized her true feelings now. My daughter is a freshman dance major (BFA) in college, and I sometimes wonder what will happen if she decides in the next year or two, or even after four years (at close to 30,000 a year!), that this isn't for her! I think it is wonderful that she is staying involved in the arts--I love those creative kids!

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  • 1 year later...

After a very emotional two weeks my daughter (14) is seriously considering quitting--she just doesn't seem to have the physical or emotional strength to continue. Complicating matters is the SI she's scheduled to leave for Sunday (she will likely still attend--either prolonging the agony or giving her closure)!


I know there are some parents whose DKs have retired from serious training--how are they fairing and what prompted it? I do think entering highschool is a common time to reassess priorities. I am curious as to what others post training relationship is with ballet and ballet friends--my daughter's closest friends are ballet ones and everything she does is from a ballet perspective.


The best I can do is just support her--her mind does change daily! I don't know whether going to the SI is a good or bad idea.


Thanks for any insight--parenting is a rollercoaster!

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The best I can do is just support her--her mind does change daily! I don't know whether going to the SI is a good or bad idea.

Good luck to you and your DD! :) Times like this are difficult.


I ran your question past my 16-year-old DD (who, in the interest of full disclosure, is NOT in serious pre-pro training, but does dance very regularly). Her reply: "NO! Let her skip the SI if she wants. She'll be miserable there if she is made to go, or agrees to go because she thinks you want her to. Better to let her have the summer off. She'll be in a better position to assess at the end of the summer what she really wants."

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Oh my goodness, she WANTS to go--I'm the one who thinks it would be a bad idea! I'm thinking she just doesn't know what else to do with herself--this will be her 5th summer away (IF she goes).


Thanks for asking your DD--it is helpful to get that perspective.

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On the financial side: I assume her SI is already all paid for? Would you have to cover other activities for her if she stays home? On the emotional side: why does she want to go if she wants to quit? I'm not understanding this. If she wants to keep dancing, but not at the pre-pro level of intensity, maybe the SI would be a good time for her to practice "taking it easy", seeing if she can do ballet just for pleasure, and not mind.... best of luck with it!

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jbtlse, I also have a 14 y/o and at this age they are rather emotional. Was the emotional event related to her friends? You mentioned that her best friends are her ballet friends – maybe going to the SI would allow her an opportunity to view ballet in a different environment. At the end of the SI she can either reconfirm her desire to quit of decide that she wants to continue to dance at the same intensity.

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She's considering quitting because she is spinning her wheels and not making any progress--she's frustrated. I think she sees the SI as a last attempt to pull it together (honestly, I think that is unrealistic and she will end up even more upset and away from a shoulder to cry on). I don't profess to understand what she's thinking--all I know is that she cries all the time and she's not a weeper.


As for her friends, I think they are the reason she is having a hard time just walking away--she doesn't want to lose them. Of course they'll still be friends but not with that daily intensity.


Daily her plan changes: she's going to quit altogether or take less classes or switch schools or get better.


I know what seems like a crisis now will, in reflection, be a crossroad.

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Hi jbtlse,

I'm sorry to hear of your daughter's ballet crisis. I agree with others that this does seem to be the time when many re-evaluate their commitment to ballet. My daughter has had many, many friends who were very promising dancers decide to call it quits this last year (she just completed 9th grade). All have moved on to other aspects of high school life that interested them (cheer, pom, acting, chorus, sports, etc.) and yes, her friendships with some of them have waned as a result. But, there are a couple that have left whom she still is very close friends with and does lots with socially. But, the reality always is that you do tend to form and keep the closest ties with those with whom you spend the most time and a common and intense interest.


When they have first left ballet, it has been upsetting for all concerned and there has often been a 'grieving' period, where the girls pull away from each other, as if the association they have to ballet is just a too uncomfortable for the one who is trying to make a break. Then, slowly, they seem to re-connect with the gals that they would have likely been friends with in other venues, due to good personality matches, etc. This is a slow process and really takes 6 months or longer for the pain of the loss of that ballet connection between them to heal itself and for the girls to find different ways (and the time) to connect with one another again.


As to the SI, I cannot remember where your daughter is going this summer. If she is attending a highly competitive SI (as I know she has in the past), I am not sure if it will be a good experience for her in her current state of mind. But, if she is attending one that is a bit more laid back and that allows for more down time, a wider range of body types and ability levels, etc. then perhaps just going for the fun of it, as a 'final fling' for ballet would be good. If you are going to lose your money at such a late date and she would be home with a huge void that would need to be filled with other activities, maybe it is the smartest choice for this summer. And, you just never know, she might come across a teacher who inspires her, who helps her through her current training crisis and gives her the renewed energy she needs to give it another go!


Best of luck to you and your daughter! :innocent:

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After a very emotional two weeks my daughter (14) is seriously considering quitting--


Ahhh, 14! It sounds like there may have been an event or issue that has triggered her thinking.


I agree with the driver, if she still wants to go to the SI then let her make her determination after that. If she is leaving Sunday, in all reality you have already spent the money. (I would ask her though, if she truly wants to go or just feels like if she doesn't she has wasted your money. )


I would let her know you will support whatever decision she has made after the SI, but I would pose a few probing questions to her that you would like answered when she returns. I've found that SI's do tend to confirm a dancers goals for the next year, whatever they may be (train harder, cut back, do it for fun and not for career, decide to board, etc.) And then when she returns, really sit down with her and see where her head is.


Good luck, decision making at 14 is tough. Hey at 40 something, it's tough too.!



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There are nose-to-the-grindstone folks, and there are move-on-when-it's-stopped-working folks. I'm one of the latter, so take what I say accordingly.


I would take charge here and make the decision for her. At the very least, I'd float a trial balloon along the lines of, "You know dear, I think this would be a good summer to NOT dance intensively and see how you feel at the end. I will call the SI and see if our money can be used to give a full scholarship to another dancer." And/or I would ask, "If you do not go to the SI on Sunday, how else could you spend your summer?" And then encourage/help her to brainstorm about alternatives. (Of course, these should not be phrased as threats, but as loving, caring decisiveness.)


You will learn a lot from how she reacts.

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My 14 yr old dd gets frustrated, too. Hard to know exactly what is going on and the hormones sure don't help matters any. There are growth spurts and resulting awkwardness until the rest of the body catches up, etc. Is there anyone at your dd's school who may be able to help? My dd's had quite a bit of support from her school when she's become frustrated.

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