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People who just don't understand!


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DD is in her second year of full-time upper school training and yesterday DH was out for a walk and bumped into the parent of one of DD's old schoolfriends. They asked how she was getting on etc, and then said:

 

"So when she finishes the 3rd year, what will she do then... go to stage school?"

 

:wacko:

 

DH told me he had no idea quite how to reply to that one!!

 

Has anybody else been faced with this sort of question and total lack of comprehension from family/friends, and what did you say to make them finally 'get' it?

 

 

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I was at a party when I told this lady my daughter left her grammar school at 16 to go to a dance school and wouldn't be doing A'levels (nobody knows what a vocational school is outside the dance world) and the woman patted me on the arm and said sympathetically "not everyone can be academic".  10 years on DD is still dancing and being paid for it!

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Trying to get people to understand that, at least in DD's case, that the determination to pursue her ballet aspirations post 6th year (Scottish schools) is actually significantly more challenging that pursuing an Academic Degree at University.

 

People just don't understand that the Ballet option is far more difficult and stressful - in respect of auditioning for a place on a BA course - than just applying to start a 'normal' degree next September.

 

At the moment DD has sufficient qualifications to gain entry at 4 Universities to study Law with a Foreign Language - but people look at us as though we've taken leave of our senses when we say that IF she can get on a Ballet course that we'd be happy for her to put her Academics on the backburner to see how far she can go with Ballet.

 

I might just start saying that she's going to be a plumber - that's maybe easier for others to comprehend (no offence intended to plumbers obviously! :) )

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I had to laugh when he came home and told me - apparently he stood there, mouth opening and closing like a goldfish :D  :D

 

There's another parent who says things like "Is she still doing her dancing?" (teamed with a sympathetic never mind, she'll grow out of it head tilt - you know the one!!)

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In all honesty, I think you have to perfect the innocuous comment, smile and nod, moving away from the topic as soon as possible. Just for the sake of your own sanity. Some people just will not get it and it's not worth the frustration of trying - I say this as an ex dancer and with a DS - it's not changed really in the almost 50 years I've been on the planet and I've prepared DS for this lack of understanding all his life. One side of our family just has no idea and we just don't really bother.

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Quite a lot of my work colleagues have children who are starting "normal" university courses this year - mostly sought after courses at highly regarded universities. I did have to bite my tongue a couple of times in the run up to A level results day when I was told that I had no idea how lucky I was not to have to worry too much about DD's exam results and to be spared that stress. I must have put on a good show if nobody noticed my near nervous breakdowns during the audition season of they think I've been excused from stress, that's all I can say! As I work in a profession where academic prowess is very highly regarded,I suspect at least a few of my colleagues would regard DD's choice of path as ridiculous and think I should be disappointed/embarrassed that she's not off to Oxbridge or a Russell Group university, but they are too polite to say anything directly and tend to just smile and nod. And I don't really care what anyone thinks - the only people that really matter are our immediate family as they are the only ones directly affected, and we all understand.

I've kind of given up trying to explain where she's gone and what she's doing to be honest. People don't "get it" it's true, but then I probably don't really understand half the things that their children are doing. Each to their own.

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Do any of you get people who think your child wants to be a FAMOUS dancer one day? Me and my mum had this a lot with friends and neighbours when I was growing up. When my mum told the next door neighbour that not only did I have no intention of dreaming about becoming the Royal Ballet's next Prima Ballerina but that it was never going to happen and if I was extremely talented and lucky I might just make the chorus, her response was, "Why would she just want to go through all that just to stand at the back?"

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I agree Pups Mum, we go out of our way to avoid bringing it up in conversation, but sometimes people are really sweet. A lovely kind neighbour stopped me in the supermarket last week, and said how thrilled she was about dd and how proud we must be.   :)

Yes it is nice when that happens. I bumped into DD's old reception teacher who has been retired for about a decade recently. She was genuinely excited when I told her DD had been accepted for full time training. She told me that she always looked out for news of DD in our local paper and was thrilled to know she was following her dream. It was a lovely surprise to get that reaction I must say!(And very different to the reaction of more recent teachers!)

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Do any of you get people who think your child wants to be a FAMOUS dancer one day? Me and my mum had this a lot with friends and neighbours when I was growing up. When my mum told the next door neighbour that not only did I have no intention of dreaming about becoming the Royal Ballet's next Prima Ballerina but that it was never going to happen and if I was extremely talented and lucky I might just make the chorus, her response was, "Why would she just want to go through all that just to stand at the back?"

Absolutely! If only I had a pound for every time I've said "No, she isn't going to be the next Darcey Bussell..."

Edited by Pups_mum
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I have never had the remotest aptitude for dance.  But speaking as somebody in my late 30s, who's been singing for as long as I've been old enough to talk, and have for more than 15 years been in regular part-time gainful freelance employment as a church chorister... I still get asked, even by relatives, if I'm "still doing my singing".

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DD used to get enraged by her friend's mum calling her 'Darcey' all the time!! She still does it, but not on Facebook any more (I had to tell her to stop in the end) :D

 

I expect the parents of boys react in much the same way whenever anyone says "The next Billy Elliot" ;)

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My reply to those that say anything about DS (now non-DS(that's another story as that has only recently happened)) not being academic is to say that he got his BA (Hons) degree at 19 years of age which is two years ahead of his friends. I just wait for them to think about that and then they go 'Oh'.   ;)

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Glad it's not just me. I'm a teacher so people tend to think I'm really disappointed in my daughter 's desire to be a dancer. I don't help when I laugh loudly and point out that means she'll be working in a coffee shop with an occasional dance contract. Add in the fact I pay for her education and you can imagine!

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I was thinking just the other day that I needed to write a short article explaining what full-time ballet training entails and where it leads.  My dd is at vocational school overseas and I had a friend ask me, "so will she teach ballet when she's done with school?"  Really?  Do they really think I've lost my senses, that I would send my young teen to school overseas so she can train to teach ballet as her first option?  My comment is in no way to disparage teaching ballet as a career.  I just don't think I would need to send my daughter away to train for that.  

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When I was at sixth form college, armed with my straight A's and A*'s at GCSE, the staff (with the exception of my A-Level dance teacher) didn't quite understand that I didn't want to be a doctor, vet or lawyer but a dancer or dance teacher. They kept saying things like "but you're such a clever girl!" but I didn't care at that time. I had a few hours of wobble during UCAS applications where I realized I had the ability and predicted grades to potentially apply to study anatomy at Oxford but stuck to my dance applications.

 

However, when my plans changed and my aspirations moved into dance medicine/science more, I was very grateful for my good academic grounding, even if 2 of my 3 A-levels were dance and music! As I've gotten older there is a part of me that wishes I'd listened to them more, applied for Oxford or another Russell Group university and studied something more prestigious like anatomy or medicine but ultimately you make your choices in a moment in time, based on what you're passionate about, and what makes sense at the time, not always based on money or future prospects!

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DS often gets "Oooooo the next Billy Elliot!" he just smiles now. We've had "is he really still doing his dancing shenanigans"?! Then back at school he finds that he's in the bottom group for PE as he doesn't do much exercise...13 hours uof dance a week atm...

I can relate to that one - DD's school report said more than once that she should take up a physical pursuit outside school to maintain her long term fitness! At the time she had an advanced 2 ballet class immediately followed by advanced 1 modern so I suggested her PE teacher might like to come along and see if she could keep up! Sadly she never did.

DD did gain a lot of kudos mind you when she got into a push up/sit up contest at school and put the entire senior boys rugby team to shame. I think a few people realised that dancers are both fit and tough after that.

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Do any of you get people who think your child wants to be a FAMOUS dancer one day? Me and my mum had this a lot with friends and neighbours when I was growing up. When my mum told the next door neighbour that not only did I have no intention of dreaming about becoming the Royal Ballet's next Prima Ballerina but that it was never going to happen and if I was extremely talented and lucky I might just make the chorus, her response was, "Why would she just want to go through all that just to stand at the back?"

Definitely!!! It's so awkward when non-dancing friends & family say things like "So you're going to be a prima ballerina then??"

Uhhhhhhhhhh nope!! :P

Edited by swanprincess
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DD did gain a lot of kudos mind you when she got into a push up/sit up contest at school and put the entire senior boys rugby team to shame. I think a few people realised that dancers are both fit and tough after that.

Oh yes, dd was rather pleased one day at school when they were doing fitness training during PE, and she managed to out-Plank everybody by a considerable margin ;)

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DD is in yr 11 and we have just been told that she is way to young to know that going to vocational school at 16 is the right thing. They think she should stay at school and do 3 A Levels and then do or Oxbridge or go to a Russell group school. They simply didn't understand that you can get a degree in Dance. They even suggest that she would end up injured and asked her what that would mean. She was fab and said 'well I plan to do A level Biology, so if I am injured I could look at doing sport science ' They had no answe to that.

 

It's the narrow mindedness that I find so frustrating.

 

Non dancing DD is planing on doing nursing, because she got straight A*/A at GCSE people don't understand why she isn't doing Medicine.........

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People with no experience of the dance world just won't understand, however well-meaning they are. It's the same with music or drama. Most of us are so focused on taking the commonly prescribed steps through school, then on to university or into a training programme/apprenticeship or a career that anyone who deviates from that path, especially when they have the academic ability to pursue a 'normal' route via university is considered odd.

 

if possible I would try not to let the odd comments get to you. Perhaps if vocational dance training is likened to studying for a medical degree it might be clearer to the non-dancer that dance students have wildly different aspirations, aptitudes and aims for their future careers, just as medical students may aim to become GPs/neurosurgeons/palliative care specialists etc. (I know that my friends who studied medicine were continually driven wild by innocent enquiries as to whether they simply weren't clever enough to aim for a career in neurosurgery and whether that was why they were focused on becoming a GP; it seemed to be a widely held belief that becoming a GP was somehow unglamorous and required less spectacular brains than brain surgery. Similarly someone whose aim is not to become 'the next Darcey' could easily be seen as lacking the ability or ambition to do so because the public perception is that a dancer must be a Darcey to succeed.

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When I was of university course choosing age I was told by quite a number of people that I was wasting my results choosing to study mathematics rather than business (it was the end of the 80s!) 

Came in sort of handy when the internet exploded just as I was finishing up. You can never guess what's going to happen.

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I just wish my girlfriend would stop snapping at me for closing 5th or doing passé relévés in the kitchen while I'm cooking dinner. Or would it be worse if she ignored it completely?

 

Parents, well. Oddly my mum is just blank about it - I sent her a photo to show off my turnout and she asked why I sent her one of the floor - but my dad gets it more. Perhaps it's because he's a musician and gets the point of practice for its own sake, or perhaps he gets the physical side better having been a fairly serious rugby player? He still wants to take the piss, but I can tell he's faking; having got that first dig done he wants to hear all about it.

 

The people who were least weird about it are my colleagues at work. But at least two of them dance and one of those is an ex-ballerina. Also I think they're used to me.

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