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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Moving On & Letting Go

Guest unsoccer-mom

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Well, it's been awhile since I've been here and I see it's been a while since anyone has posted on this topic. I wasn't sure where to post and since it's been a long time there's much to read. Forgive me if this is in the wrong place.


My DD is now 20. She had been living over 8hours away (out of state) from home since her Jr year of HS. She homeschooled since 8th grade so she could dance more. She started to dance in pain shortly after she moved away and the pain got worse. She continued to go to class and try and dance and then when she couldn't take the pain any longer she would sit out class and observe. She saw many specialists and went through many different types of treatment to try and get better. During this time her friends and some of the teachers began to shut her out and began to treat her as a "slacker". You know how that is, they don't actually speak out but by their actions it's quite clear what they think.


She gave up, moved home finally got a diagnosis from the Neurologist. Two herniated discs in different areas of her spine, degenerative disc disease and the deteriorating spine of a 40yr old dancer at the end of a long hard career. Only she was 18. She wore a back brace and took pain meds daily. She is now able to go for much longer without the need for meds.


My reason for telling you this story is that she always planned on college but it was in the future after dancing. She ended up enrolled in a local community college since we didn't know during the Summer if she'd be able to do anything but rest and heal. She loved school and became a much respected student. She made Dean's or President's list every semester. She works 3pt jobs and does volunteer work. She's been accepted for transfer to every school she applied to. She found a career she can do without hurting her back and is looking forward to starting.


She has been able to return to an easy ballet class and can do some movement as long as she keeps that movement to no more than 45 degree angle and no jumps. I still miss seeing her dance, but it's nothing compaired to what she gave up. I'm telling you this because it's ok. Life goes on after ballet. It made her the person she is today, it's all part of who she is. We get so wrapped up in auditions and the decisions of where to go in the summer but remember, it's just a part of who they become as adults. Try to keep it in perspective.


Thank you for letting me ramble on. I still check in here since I still own a ballet store and it helps me to keep up to date with what is going on. A big hello to Ms Leigh since she taught my DD 2 summers in WSB. I hope everyone has a wonderful Spring and Summer, don't forget to breathe.

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  • Momof3darlings


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  • 2marzipans


Wow, that made me a little teary eyed!

Thank you so much for sharing that - this is one post that all of us should file away because that is a very possible scenario for many of our dk's. As they move through life discovering their paths and possibly even new passions we have to remember (as we are left sipping from our Ballettalk mugs and checking upcoming audition schedules out of habit) that nothing is wasted and everything has a purpose. The best wish for all our kids is happiness and fulfillment in their lives.


Hope you'll keep us updated.

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Thank you JRB, I appreciate your sharing your DD's story! I have wondered often because I remember when you were beginning to look into owning a dancewear store. Our DK's continue to amaze us with their resilient nature and their ability to shift directions as needed in a manner that helps them through.

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Yes, I too am drawn to tears. So happy that it has all worked out for your daughter. We just never know and the most important thing is that our children are safe, content, and committed to their life's work - whatever it turns out to be.

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Powerful, powerful and generous post.


Thank-You for sharing it.


Best Wishes to you and your courageous dd.




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Thank you for sharing your wise perspective. I can only imagine the pain and resulting frustration your daughter felt trying to dance, but it was so good to hear how well things are going now. Best wishes to you both!

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JRB, I enjoyed talking with you and I am glad to hear that your daughter has found a path that she is happy to pursue. Best of luck to her and you. I am sure that her ballet experience is paying off in dividends.

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JRB thank you for this most inspiring and brave posting. Many of us are now precisely going through audition periods. The hand wringing: will she get accepted, will she get rejected... and we get so stressed for our daughters. You have put it all into perspective, so clearly. A sobering moment for me as a mother. Again, thank you. Many blessings to you and your daughter.

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  • 3 weeks later...

It is two years later from my last post.


DD courageously overcame the ankle problem, only to have a new problem develop in her shins. Despite her best efforts, she is unable to dance fully on pointe for the past year due to the pain. She knows in her heart that she will not ever be able to dance ballet the way she could before her surgery, and has accepted this reality. We, as parents, have accepted it too. It is what it is. Life is like this. Sometimes, things do not work out as planned due to circumstances beyond our control, and we don't understand why at the time. We will all grieve her loss for a time, then gradually let go of the old dreams to make room for the new. Maybe she will be able to help others in a special way because of this experience. Who knows?


The rainbow after the storm in DD's life is that she is blessed to have been offered a scholarship at a very fine liberal arts college on the East Coast. She is very excited about the new possibilities college will offer her!


Two quotes come to mind:


"Plan the flight and fly the plan. But don't fall in love with the plan. Be open to a changing world and let go of the plan when necessary so you can make a new plan. Then, as the world and the plan both go through their book of changes, you will always be ready to do the next right thing."


From: "Inside the Right Stuff" in the book, 'Deep Survival' by Laurence Gonzales.

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I love the Gonzales quote! :) Very applicable to the ballet journey! Thank you. And all the best to your daughter as she begins the 'next right thing!' :thumbsup:

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  • 3 weeks later...

This is a very moving story. Thank you for sharing it. My DD went through a series of injuries and muscular problems for 5 years, but nothing as debilitating as your DD. I am glad that she has found another path that is satisfying.

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  • 11 months later...

It is with both relief and sadness that I will share that my daughter has decided to change her college major next fall and stop dancing. I could feel the change coming, but she was the one who knew when the time would be right. We will be attending her last performance in a few weeks. I know it will be hard for all of us for awhile, but we're looking forward to what will be next for her. She is undecided at this point, so she will be sampling courses to see where she might find her next passion.


Last year, I was hoping that this would be the spring that I could post on the "New Apprentice" thread, but when we see her feeling happy about this next step, it doesn't matter. The dance journey is an amazing one, and one that you have to make peace with when the intensity ends. Thank you to everyone on this site for your advice and help over the years. The best of luck to all the parents and dancers who are still hoping and dreaming (and those living the dream) - it does turn out o.k. in the end! :)

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Big hug to you, 2marzipans! I have enjoyed your posts and learned so much from you over the years. I wish you and your DD much success and happiness on this new path, and I am confident that we will hear great things.

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