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Moving On & Letting Go

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shineon

Redstorm,

 

It has been almost exactly one year since my dd made the same difficult decision. When she was sixteen she was offered an apprenticeship, and was very excited to pursue the career she had trained for for eight years. Without going into detail, she came to the conclusion that all the sacrifice she had to make were not as satisfying as she had hoped. She is going to be a senior in High School this year, and has been very happy with her decision. In the last year she has enjoyed many new adventures, such as playing powder puff football, who would have thought :wacko:. Currently, she is making planes for college and does not have any regrets. While I have missed enjoying her performances, it has been such a relief to slow things down and experience a normal family life. I am sure you and your daughter will enjoy the new adventures ahead!

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vagansmom

Best of luck to both sets of moms/daughters. :wacko: I know that you will find rich, rewarding lives outside of the ballet world you've inhabited for so long. Keep in touch. It's good to hear from those who've branched out into other paths. :sweating:

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Redstorm

I am completely overwhelmed with the support, love and well wishes from all of you :) but not surprised. I knew I had met some great friends on this board and it is nice to know those friendships will not go away even though my daughter is no longer a part of the ballet world.

Thanks to all of you and don't worry....you aren't rid of me yet. :)

 

I wanted to add: just when you think your life is going to be somewhat normal, dd hits me with a list of audition sites scheduled for January/February for college theater programs. And...she needs headshots! :wacko: Some things never change! :)

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3girls1boy

Redstorm -- Best of luck to your daughter with the upcoming auditions and all of the other exciting things awaiting her! You have provided wonderful advice to me and many others and for that I will always be thankful. It looks as though I am headed down the same path you now find yourself on, as my DD broke down in tears at the dining room table last night with much the same story as your own daughter. It is very sad to me to hear her say she no longer enjoys what has been her passion for so long. The pressure became too much and took the joy from her. She wants her ISP performance tomorrow to be her last at the school.

 

Of course, my husband keeps reminding me that she just might change her mind once she's had a few weeks off. I guess we'll see, but in the meantime, we're making plans for a 'normal' high school experience. She said she wants to join the drama club! I guess these kids just love to perform. :yes:

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Muck Luck

Redstorm-It sounds to me that our girls are the norm rather than the exception. I have thought about this trend and appears to be the healthy, developmentally appropriate trend for older teens to shed their childhood ways

-ballet being one. While it does pain me to think I'll never see my daughter float across the stage again, I now know that there is another door opening around the corner. I agree that it is important that we let others know that our daughters can transition successfully to other interests at this age so parents get a balanced picture of what might be instore for them down the road.Best of luck to all parents transitioning!

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Momof3darlings
I agree that it is important that we let others know that our daughters can transition successfully to other interests at this age so parents get a balanced picture of what might be instore for them down the road.Best of luck to all parents transitioning!

 

Thank you for this statement! This is so important to the boards themselves. It is one of the major "gives" of the "give/take" process that many people don't fully participate in, instead they just disappear or read but don't post. We as moderators and administrators on these boards really do consider that the ballet journey is a process with many, many detours and direction changes. We value those at all stages in the journey including those who have transitioned to other things. BUT we also know what those last few years of decisions are like and how now you might have done things differently had you known, or even just done everything exactly the same but are still armed with new knowledge.

 

We need parents like all of you whose dancers are choosing to transition into other things to still be viable members. While I know it may not be the desire for some of you to be here daily anymore , please be sure to continue to check in often and POST and do not feel that you have nothing to offer. On the contrary, you have quite alot to offer possibly even more than you did early on. Your perspective is actually one of the most important ones to offer. Otherwise, all we offer is the Pie in the sky approach to ballet which doesn't suit the majority of the people in the journey. There is a 2% theory for a reason. When we come to the boards as parents of younger dancers, we think the 2% is only about facility and ability. In reality, there is FAR more to that equation and you are the parents who can help shed that light, cushion the blow and offer a perspective of why it is important to look beyond "making it" to family finances, family stability and developing a well rounded dancer who is ready for anything at age 18 a because for the majority of parents/dancers, "anything" will show up. It isn't just about not making it, or not being a fit. You can be a fit, you can have the tools to make it and many things can get in the way. Knowing now what you do, you can enlighten and educate. Not because you have to but because you want to give back to the people and the board that helped you along the way or just shared your journey with you.

 

Having 1 still in the journey and 1 who transitioned early into other forms of dance as an emphasis, I just wanted to remind you that your perspective is needed for more reasons than one!

 

Thanks so much for sharing your transition stories on this thread and on others relating to the experience you've had. Parents need to base decisions on full knowledge of the journey not just the pie in the sky!

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pal

At 16 my daughter also felt that she could no longer deal with the many sacrifices (physical and emotional) that her pursuit of classical ballet demanded. She had a 1/2 day academic school schedule since 8th grade to accomodate her training and had just returned home from a residential program. We had just seen her year end performance and she was truly dancing brilliantly. But it was a sad day - although she was able to perform well, once the performance was over there was no joy and sense of accomplishment anymore. She was completely depleted physically and more devastatedly - emotionally. It was difficult for us to see her like this, but we took a step back and let her find her way.

 

Fast forward to the present, after moving back home, taking a few months off from dance, returning to high school as a full-time "normal"* (*her words) student, she returned to dance a little at a time. She realized that she wanted to continue her education beyond high school and that she really hadn't given up her dream to perform. Classical ballet is still her first love but after pushing herself out of her comfort zone and trying new forms of dance (jazz, modern, tap, musical theatre) she realized that there were so many other ways to express herself. She is moving on to college as a BFA dance major at Point Park where she can really explore all performance avenues and at the same time keep up her academics (only 2 academics/semester but at least enough to keep that portion of her brain functioning in the honors program).

 

She is beyond happy now, thrilled that she had at least 2 years to experience high school. She enjoyed her final year and a half back at her "home" ballet school, her joy and passion for dance returned. She has said that she would never change anything about the "path" she took in the world of ballet. She has met some wonderful people, received amazing training and in the end is a stronger and wiser person than she would have been otherwise.

 

I wish my daughter and all of these dancers nothing but the best for their futures, whichever path they take. Whether one continues to dance or not, their involvement in dance has shaped them into the people they are today - strong and motivated to achieve and pursue excellence in whatever they do.

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dufay

To add to the others- my D lived away from home during soph/jr years before making the decision that a ballet career was untenable for her. I don't regret my decision (altho I missed her terribly), and she initially was going to quit cold turkey. However, her sr year she continued to cyberschool (absolutely no interest in going back to public HS, and she has done extremely well academically), take a class at a local university, and take ballet classes locally. Much to my disappointment, as she is moving on to university next year, she expresses no interest in the college dance groups (they don't do ballet), or taking classes locally. Her attitude is that unless she can be as technically good as she once was, it is too frustrating. I think many of these kids have a big dose of perfectionism- with ballet it's either all (perfect) or nothing.

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msd

Add dd to this list...sort of. After some soul-searching and MUCH adolescent angst, she saw a fork in the road, and decided to take a different path. Like some others on the board, she met musical theatre...and found a new passion. She's not ready to fully give up ballet. However, she knows that moving from the 6-day-a-week schedule at the prepro to a 3 or 4-day-a-week schedule at a school with good training at almost 15 is probably closing the door on her former pro ballet dancer dreams/plans.

 

HOWEVER...she is now in the whirlwind of new and exciting training -- and her ballet training has definitely helped her in this move! She'll still be dancing ballet, and performing with the student company at the new school, but she will also get to return to tap, to musical theatre dance styles, to serious study of acting and voice lessons. She successfully auditioned into a dedicated musical theatre training program and was placed in their top level for musical theatre dance and ballet. She credits her ballet training for giving her the nerve to do this audition. (The time constraint hasn't really lessened at all...just MORE material to learn!) She actually has more performing opportunities with her new ballet school (more community-based stuff, rather than "kid parts" w/the pro company). She'll be able to keep strong enough to keep dancing on pointe...but will most likely never dance straight ballet professionally. Dreams change.

 

She misses her friends from her old school terribly (it just wasn't practical for her to drop to a lower number of classes there). This was not an easy decision for her...but I was so very proud of her that she spent a lot of time thinking, talking to her teachers and school director, etc. I think this was one of the hardest decisions she's made in her young life -- to say to the former three-year-old self, who had declared "I am going to be a ballerina!" that it's time to change takes guts.

 

So now I guess I have a recreational ballet dancer/actress/singer/dancer in the house. It's all good...different, but good.

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Momof3darlings

Thank you so much for sharing msd! I wish your dancer the best and please continue to update us on her Musical Theatre journeys and how she does continue to use her ballet training. Yours is an important story to share.

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calamitous

msd

I have wondered how he auditions turned out. Excellent news. I am sure she will enjoy her knew steps. My DD is also shifting focus, although she went something of the opposite direction from Redstorms and msd. She started in MT with dance as supplement and drifted from MT. After a wonderful summer in NYC with Ailey, at 16 she has determined that a performers life is not what she wants. She is not interested in the continuous uncertainty that dance and/or MT futures hold. But her plan is to use her experiences in both and connections, particularly in theatre, to follow an art administration path. For college this keeps her in BA programs or with a minor in dance (or theatre) and then administration and business courses. SO she still has access to classes and sometimes performances but they are not her soel focus.

 

It has been amazing for me to see how thoughtfully she has made this decision and really drawn on her own experiences and conversations with current pros and hopefulls. It is intereseting to see how well she has come to know herself to be able to make a decision. SHe will keep dancing for her last 2 years HS (she is at a PA), but is working with some of the her teachers to find a summer internship in arts administration.

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pat

Our dd stopped dancing completely last spring after her last performance. We could see it coming and supported her completely. She is now in college, dancing again, a little, focusing on academics, and enjoying herself immensly! I think, no I know, our job as parents is to let them know that we love them for everything that they are, and not just because they dance. Kids can sometimes get mixed up and think that what they do or are good at defines who they are. I think this might be especially true in ballet as it does seem to attract kids who are a little on the perfectionst side. Lots of hugs, support, and listening on our part was what was needed as our dd made up her own mind.

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its the mom

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for their honesty here. It is truly an inspiration.

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Redstorm

Hello again! Wow, I didn't think I would be writing here again. Just goes to show you, no one knows a teenagers mind. :shrug: DD, as I mentioned, joined the drama club at her school. They had their final performance last night. She loved it, had a great time and made lots of new friends. But...the isssues that brought her home still rear their ugly head now and then. She is progressing, understanding the reasons and just informed me that ballet/dancing was never the "reason".

In fact, she misses dance...a lot. She doesn't want to go to college to major in theater, hasn't decided exactly what she wants to major in. Maybe English, maybe become a teacher. She has discovered her love of writing through a wonderful teacher.

She is learning that she doesn't have to make up her mind about anything. She is staying local for college...commute distance and is happy to know that the decision has been made.

She also dropped a bomb on me....she is going back to dance. :o She is going to start by taking some classes at Lines and then talks about maybe going back to her original teachers. She said knowing that this is her decision and she can walk away makes it easier. She misses the stage, the classes and the just dancing. It took everything in me not to cry. I just sat and listened. I suspected she wasn't done since she has not removed anything from her room. She has kept her leotards, tights, warmups and pointe shoes and refused to let me get rid of them. She hasn't stretched much and knows it will be a while before she is "back in shape". She hasn't danced since April.....almost 6 months. Although, when I asked her about going on pointe she got this sly smile and said it has only been 2 weeks. Evidently she puts on her pointe shoes at night and practices balancing.

I don't know how I feel about all this. I am happy, surprised, astounded and a bit worried.

But the excitement of possibly seeing her back on the stage almost outweighs the rest.

So, my theater daughter is back, at least temporarily, to being a dancing daughter.

I do know that she will be going into this with less pressure and knows she can walk away and the world won't end.

The fact is, she is going back because she loves to dance and that is the most important thing of all.

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myrtha

It must have been a very trying time for her to leave and now she is slowly moving into a more peaceful space and can go back to something she loves...I will be anxious to how she fares...I bet she will dance with more joy and abandon than ever. :o

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