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Cara in NZ

Trying again – for your risk-averse DC

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SO – my DD (age 11) did her very first audition in Dec 2014 for our (NZ) JA programme. This is a weekly thing in the capital (Wellington), or DC from other areas visit for a couple of weekends per term. They prefer to take kids from age 10, going into Yr 6. We didn't find out about it until DD was already in Yr 6, so auditioned for Yr 7 which is Level 2. It was a no, which wasn't completely unexpected as she had only had one year of private lessons and had only started competition work 2 months earlier. (We had been with a new start-up studio where she was in the highest grade, so we had no idea that private lessons or competitions existed until our studio merged with a long-established outfit). 

Auditions are in November and of course they say they prefer to get kids at age 10. DD was a year late for this last year, so would now be auditioning to go into Level 3/Yr 8 (which is the age they start 'assessing out'). Her private lesson teacher says let's have a chat but there's no hurry. DD says she's not auditioning again as she did it once and they didn't want her. She has been moved up two grades, from RAD Gr 3 to Int Foundation this year and is thriving (she was a bit old for Gr 3, sitting the exam as she turned 11). 

Question: I know you would all say don't push DC if they don't want it enough. But the fact is that my DD just needs reassurance that she is capable. IE she is sitting IF exam after 8 months, when we were told she would need 18 months as she had skipped Gr 4 & 5. How do I ensure that she is encouraged to her potential, as opposed to being a pushy mum? I can't really say to her teacher 'Tell her to audition as she trusts you more than me', but that is basically what it boils down to! I just don't want her to look back and regret playing it safe. Sigh!

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Could you email her teacher for an opinion? It is probably easier for them to be totally honest that way. If the chances are exceedingly slim it may destroy her confidence further if she gets another no? It could be better to wait? Is there anything else she could audition for? Is the associate class going to make a huge difference if she already has private lessons etc (I'm not implying it won't, just something I'd factor in!).

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I went to talk to my dd's teacher for a private chat about her chances and I am so glad I did. Her teacher is a lovely person who had known my dd since she was five. She loves children and is wonderful with them. However she told me that she was going to talk about my dd with RB eyes. Oh my gosh! Long waisted was where she started and it went downhill from there. She ended up by saying that she didn't even think the RB would take the best dancer in the school. If my dd had heard any of that, it would have destroyed her. I never did tell her exactly what had been said, just that her teacher didn't rate her chances much. "Oh, all right, I'll do drama instead then". I didn't think she really cared that much but we went to see the Moscow City Ballet in March. We absolutely loved it but on our way back to the car park, my ex dd (by now ten years older) said in a small voice "I do wish I been good enough to be a professional dancer". Sometimes ballet breaks my heart.

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Hi Cara,

 

Having had a dd who was a JA, personally I would leave it.

 

Another thread on the forum currently emphasises the severe lack of adequate employment for dancers. So for me this decision doesn't come down to whether she could get in or not because even if she did get in only a tiny proportion of those would get adequate employment. That means it is a hobby and if she doesn't want to do it then don't! It sounds like she's making excellent progress anyway at the moment. ........

 

I know others will disagree!

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I went to talk to my dd's teacher for a private chat about her chances and I am so glad I did. Her teacher is a lovely person who had known my dd since she was five. She loves children and is wonderful with them. However she told me that she was going to talk about my dd with RB eyes. Oh my gosh! Long waisted was where she started and it went downhill from there. She ended up by saying that she didn't even think the RB would take the best dancer in the school. If my dd had heard any of that, it would have destroyed her. I never did tell her exactly what had been said, just that her teacher didn't rate her chances much. "Oh, all right, I'll do drama instead then". I didn't think she really cared that much but we went to see the Moscow City Ballet in March. We absolutely loved it but on our way back to the car park, my ex dd (by now ten years older) said in a small voice "I do wish I been good enough to be a professional dancer". Sometimes ballet breaks my heart.

Aw that's so sad! :( I wish there was a way of telling if you have the right body and how much chance you've got of succeeding even if your body isn't 'perfect' or there were measurements you could go by to know wether you should go down the ballet path like how long your legs should be etc. unfortunately it's not as straight forward as that.

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Could you email her teacher for an opinion? It is probably easier for them to be totally honest that way. If the chances are exceedingly slim it may destroy her confidence further if she gets another no? It could be better to wait? Is there anything else she could audition for? Is the associate class going to make a huge difference if she already has private lessons etc (I'm not implying it won't, just something I'd factor in!).

Thanks everyone. I did email her teacher, and she said it was best to talk in person but there was no rush. So now we are stuck waiting to see if she brings it up or not. Anyway, I've mentioned it and then left it. I'm just aware of DD's cautious personality type – when first presented with the option of doing the IF exam early she said she definitely wouldn't be ready and didn't want to do it. I emailed her teacher accordingly; the teacher said "Oh yes, she'll be ready!" and DD backed off entirely, and is now happily doing the exam prep. So that is what I mean about encouraging her rather than me pushing her (I actually have no desire to push her into a programme she could get assessed out of again in a year or two!).

 

She is lucky to have great ballet proportions (22 inch waist, long and slender, didn't get any of that from me). Good turnout, but not great feet, and needs to build strength, elevation and expressiveness. But the private and competition work have all helped and she's doing so well. Yesterday a teacher who hadn't seen her since April told her her exam work was 'looking lovely'. From a teacher whose idea of praise is usually 'Not TOO bad', this was jaw-dropping!

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Cara, your DD sounds just like mine. Always needs to have her confidence boosted before she will try something new or difficult. She too has a great ballet body and feet and various teachers have said that she has what it takes, but she doesn't want to try for a professional career or vocational school - fair enough, she has made that decision. Perhaps if your DD's teacher chats to her she may decide to apply again for the associate scheme (love the IF scenario - it's all so familiar) - or then again, if she doesn't then all is not lost as she is clearly with a great teacher who understands her and will nurture her however far she wants to take her ballet journey.

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Cara our dd's are the same age and with my dd I do have to 'push' her a little bit but I know that it's for the best and she thanks me for it afterwards :)

 

I think if it were me and my dd I would be emphasising the experience of it all and sometimes things are more fun if you are not desperate about the outcome and don't have that pressure :) (I have tried to make everything this way).

 

There will be lots of people there who have their hopes and dreams pinned upon the outcome and to go through the process with such pressure and anxiety, that for you this is a treat if you weren't going to do it anyway.

 

Presumably people audition each year at NZ JA do they? If so then I would have the encouraging conversation based on building experiences for the following years and explain that it's not about if they want you or not, and its if they want you on that one day compared with everyone else that is the audition process

 

Good luck :)

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Thank you, Legseleven & annaliesey. It's such a relief to hear of others with kids who don't push themselves forward but 'wait to be noticed'! Yes, you CAN audition each year for JAs but they stress that they really prefer to get them at 10/Yr 6. There is an older associate scheme you can audition for at 13/going into Yr 9 so I thought of saying that this is a practice run for that (ie she can do that next year). Two girls in her class are in the JAs and I just want her to see that it is something she could do too. How do we build that self-belief though????

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i don't think I'd put any emphasis at all on the end result as in "you could do it too". I think I would be more along the lines of "let's just see what it's all about, learn and have a fun time" because the minute I talk about outcomes the tone of things changes.

 

My dd is good at pushing herself forward and sometimes I have the opposite problem where she can be a bit OTT but being confident/pushy isn't the same as self belief and self esteem. Underneath her facade she can be full of doubt but shes really started now to shrug things off recently and worry less about outcomes

 

She's seen girls that are super anxious and has started to be more logical and practical rather than emotional. She's got a better attitude recently in that she'll say oh well if i don't do this then I could do that. I think having other things lined up to look forward to helps so is there anything else you could focus on alongside the JA audition?

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My advice would be to be led by your daughter - maybe this year it just doesn't feel right for her. With a good exam result and continued praise she might feel differently next year and want to apply. If she applies against her better judgement and then doesn't get the result she wants she might never want to try again. All you can do as a parent is offer encouragement - good or bad (in your eyes) let her make her own decisions and trust her judgement . When the time is right she will be ready.

Edited by Kat09
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Thank you, thank you all! I now have a plan that I won't mention it again unless her beloved private lesson teacher brings it up. We will be seeing her this Sunday after a 3-week break. (I emailed her during the break and she said let's talk about it, so then I said I'd leave it up to her whether she brings it up with DD.)

 

It's been really helpful to hear your suggestions, and I very much appreciate the response  :rolleyes:

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Just wanted to update this – after six weeks of *not* pushing the audition thing with DD, last night I came up with a new approach. She has doubled her classes this year, and also started contemporary and strengthening work, plus done eight competitions/festivals, and just sat her IF exam. I said to her 'Look at how much more work you have done this year compared to last year. Wouldn't it be good to audition again and show those teachers how much you've improved?'. She had a wee think, and agreed... Next thing I'm taking photos and sending in the application! I don't even mind if it's another no – I just don't want her to spend her life playing it safe and only trying for things she knows she can succeed in!

(Also posted in another thread about trying again, but wanted the contributors to this thread to know too. I'm delighted that she is getting 'braver'!)

Edited by Cara in NZ
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