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ScottishDancerMum

How to keep up interest in dance when it starts to falter?

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Daughter is 9 and is thinking she doesn't like ballet anymore. She likes her jazz and Tap classes but thinks ballet is boring, despite being good at it. Is there any way we can help keep her motivated and build interest? (I'm not expecting her to try for a career in dance, but as I don't have a love of physical activity, I'd love to see her mKe better use of her body than I have). 

 

Any ideas? 

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I should let her do as she likes. My youngest dd gave up ballet when she first started school as she was tired at the end of the school day. She was back within a few months. How many ballet classes is your dd going? If she can drop it down to just one a week, she is still keeping up.

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My dd, like Fiz's daughter , gave up when she first started school, she continued with her street dance classes during this time. After a while she wanted to go back, but I waited a while as I didn't want her dipping in and out and changing her mind again. She now loves ballet and finds it helps with her flexibility in her street dance too.

I personally think that it isn't worth encouraging your dd to continue something she isn't enjoying particularly as she said she doesn't like it anymore.  I think that if you make them continue something they don't enjoy, they hate it even more. Perhaps not doing it for a while will give her the chance to see if she really wants to give it up. 

 

 

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Completely agree with Fiz and baby steps. My DD is nearly 15 and winding down, intending to stop dancing at the end of this year. The most upsetting things I have read on this forum have been from parents saying  they'd found out that their DDs kept going with ballet long after they really wanted to because they felt obliged to after the investment their parents had made in their training. They have to want to dance for themselves, not for us, and if she really wants to do ballet, she will return to it. At her age, it's not a big deal if she takes a break to reassess. Much better now than when she's older!

 

(Only caveat is if you think another dance school might suit her better. Ballet does get a bit more 'serious' around age nine in terms of expectations and focus, but a good teacher should still make it enjoyable!)

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I think some personalities can find ballet ‘boring’. It seems to appeal to those who like the attention to detail, precision and repetition and not to those who prefer their classes to move at a faster pace. I would let her do what she enjoys at this age. You might find she misses it and wants to go back after a break. 

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I think for me it would depend on how much of it is ballet specific and how much of it is tiring of dance in general. I think that if she is still loving jazz and tap, and wants to dance in general, I'd probably insist on keeping up one 45 min ballet class as the technique is so important and helps with all dance styles. 

 

At my childrens' dance school, doing one ballet class is pretty much essential if you're doing anything else by about age 9 (younger kids might get away with just doing tap or jazz but by 8/9 you'd be expected to be doing ballet too). 

 

I think this is a pretty common age to start thinking ballet is 'boring' as it can - sometimes - be slow and repetitive. I've certainly heard a few similar complaints from DD's friends, but they seem to just accept it's part of doing dance and often start to enjoy it a lot more as the years go on.

 

Having said all that, if she's unhappy then she's unhappy and its meant to be a fun hobby after all... 

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I think the  comments  made so far are  pretty much on the money. 
 

It looks like the OPs  DD  is having a dip in interest , perhaps  because of the way syllabuses are written  (  what  ballet  grade is she doing  2?3? -   whereas the 'cool'  and actually ' feel like a proper ballerina'  stuff is  a grade or two and a couple or three of years away in g4 / g5 and IF  - which means there;s potentially a  dip in interest for all but the most  dedicated as the  'play'  aspects of  the early  years aimed stuff  has gone , but   pirouetteing  and/or going  en pointe in a 'real' tutu 'like a proper ballerina'  is  several years away ) without  yet having the full understanding  of  the benefits of ballet for other styles  ...  

I do agree with the poster who said how many ballet classes is she  doing, also speak to her teachers  and get their take  and a try to formulate an agreed position 

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9 years old seems to be the age when a lot of children begin to question the extracurricular activities that they do. There is often quite a fashion for giving things up (whether its swimming, music or whatever) which tends to spread among friendship groups. The tricky bit lies in discerning - or helping your child to discern - why they have fallen out of love with a particular activity, especially if it is one that they previously enjoyed and excelled at. Sometimes its peer pressure (the other kids at school think that an activity isn't cool and will mock), sometimes its because there has been a change in the way the activity is taught (new teacher, friend stopped doing it, other dc moved up to a higher grade, dc moved up to a higher grade and subsequently ignored by rest of new class). I would definitely arrange to have a chat with her ballet teacher to see if they have any observations and plans for moving to next grade etc.  I have heard a few people say that since the introduction of new RAD grades progress is slower and some dc do get bored and fed up with being at the same grade for a longer period. Try to get your dd to say more about when and why she started finding it boring. The solution might be anything from taking a break, to working out a plan to fast track her to the next grade. Good luck!

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Around 9 DD was totally uninspired by ballet, and only continued with class as it was before another she still loved! (and her friends did it!) Her teacher wanted her to join the RAD class and she refused. 6 mths later, ballet was 'Ok' and 6 mths again later she loved it, and 6 mths later again decided to try RAD. She suddenly 'got' ballet, and now, at 13, attends as many ballet classes as she can fit in! Her first love is still tap and assorted forms of modern dance, but she can see how ballet influences all other dance forms. 

 

However, I was prepared for DD to give up dancing if that was what she really wanted to do.

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Mnemo, I remember lots of nine year olds declaring suddenly that ballet “wasn’t cool” and dropping it at my dds age. The youngest didn’t care about their opinion and the eldest knew she had to keep on with ballet to do musical theatre. I don’t know who voiced such a silly opinion but several girls who could have gone much further with ballet just gave up. Several of them had multiple after school activities and mostly their parents or childminders were happy not to have to get them to class.

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Dd considered giving up ballet at 9. We agreed that she would continue for the rest of term and then give notice if she still felt the same. She enjoyed competing in a festival during that period and decided she wanted to carry on. She is now hoping to complete RAD solo seal, so it was a good decision! 

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As someone who also almost quit at the age of 9 I agree with the others: give it a little time, maybe reduce the hours or give her a final date ( to try till the end of the year or something like that). And talk with the teacher of your daughter...maybe something changed or she has isn´t satisfied with her own progress.

 

When I was nine I just wanted to try a little bit in other things and focused more on my jazz classes. After 8 months I missed ballet so much that I went back to my regular hours and reduced the jazz class again to once in a week - two years later I went to vocational school! And if she really doesn´t want to do it anymore after a few months then it is like it is. I saw too many children in my classes who had no fun at dancing ballet and this is such a pity because they lose something and will turn away from ballet completely at a lter age when they can decide completely on their own...

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Have you taken her to see some ballet performances?  Ballet is a performing art and we sometimes forget to connect the exercises we train in class with the beauty we see on stage!  Ballet doesn't sit well with the modern idea of instant gratification. It takes time and investment, but what I firmly believe is that one class of 45 minutes a week is not going to do the magic trick of making her keen. Ideally she should do twice a week one hour classes. This will enable her to advance more quickly and feel that she is achieving something. 45 minutes is barely enough time to warm up in and certainly not enough to learn new steps and develop stronger technique so that she feels she is accomplishing something.  If she really wants to quit so be it, but really she could be finding it boring because she feels that she's forever repeating the same thing ad infinitum!

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I think going to see some ballets is an excellent idea, because even at age 9 she will start to see how what she's learning relates to what she sees on stage. I remember my DD being very excited at a similar age because she spotted steps that she could actually do within the choreography of something we'd gone to see. Suddenly something that was just an exercise she did in class had real context and became far more interesting.

I definitely don't agree with making children continue with a hobby they are clearly no longer getting anything out of, but I don't think it'd good to let them chop and change either as its good for them to learn that everything has its ups and downs and sometimes you have to work through the downs to really enjoy the ups. I would set a deadline that if she is still adamant that she still wants to stop by she can do,but it won't be a spur of the moment thing.

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My DD, now just 11 gave up ballet at a similar age. She too said it was boring and she couldn’t get good at it. (She’s very impatient!) All I asked of her was that she replaced it with something else, as she had no other hobbies. She took up contemporary instead and it suits her personality much more. Her twin brother carried on with ballet, and still says it’s his favourite dance form, so I end up in two different places on one night!! 😂😂

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Wow, you have a chance to come out of this with your personal fortune in tact!

 

Most children who start off in baby ballet at 3 etc seem to move into jazz or the like over time.  That is my experience.

 

At 9 my dd wanted to quit ballet.  The head of her dance school said ok it is up to you but a dancer of any genre should have a ballet foundation.  At that point she had only done assessments - not ballet exams.  They asked her to do an exam that year.  Only 4 months away.  This meant that she doubled her ballet time and did the extra class with a much smaller group of girls - the serious ones.  Miraculously she caught the bug and became one of the serious ballet girls!

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My dd was 8 when she went through a phase of saying ballet was boring. It turned out that there was a bit of a divide in the class of kids who wanted to do ballet, work harder, practise at home and progress and the kids who weren’t particularly interested. The teacher also gave a lot of attention to new starters to ballet and it turned out it was pretty boring for some of them who were disproportionately ignored and stood doing nothing all the time whilst she concentrated on working 121 with a child. That was what she meant by “boring” at the time. Around that time she did her first EYB which couldn’t have come at a better time as it was exactly what she needed as a pick-me-up. We also went and watched some performances and she fell in love with swan lake. 

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14 hours ago, DD Driver said:

They asked her to do an exam that year.  Only 4 months away.  This meant that she doubled her ballet time and did the extra class with a much smaller group of girls - the serious ones.  Miraculously she caught the bug and became one of the serious ballet girls!

This is what I was talking about - adding on hours in ballet rather than reducing gives the child a chance to advance quite significantly technique wise. Then once she begins to feel that she is mastering the work, she will develop a greater sense of achievement and that in turn encourages more enthusiasm! 

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13 hours ago, annaliesey said:

Around that time she did her first EYB which couldn’t have come at a better time as it was exactly what she needed as a pick-me-up. We also went and watched some performances and she fell in love with swan lake. 

EYB really helped my daughter to rediscover her love of dance too - she loves performing. Pricey, but worth it!

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Thank you everyone.  I am just treading lightly as she's really talented but I don't want to be some harridan stage mother who pushes her kid into unhappiness and depression.

So she has a competition next week, and I've told her that we will hold any further comps until next spring.  She is taking jazz, tap and musical theatre, and refuses to let any of those classes go.  She normally does a private ballet lesson and two regular ballet classes (one is at her level and the other is a lower grade but she goes to help with strength and stamina.  So I think she should let the lower grade class go for now as it's boring.

She also has her Associates classes one Sunday a month.  She seems to like going, and they are involved in the Nutcracker this year so I'm hoping that gives her a bit of inspiration.

Before she auditions next year for Associates, we'll have to have a serious discussion about how much dance she wants to do.  I just paid her fees for the year - a huge feat for me - so yes, I do feel pressured to make sure she dances this year.  But I don't want her unhappy.

 

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9 hours ago, ScottishDancerMum said:

...two regular ballet classes (one is at her level and the other is a lower grade but she goes to help with strength and stamina. 

Have you asked her what it is about her ballet classes that she finds boring at the moment? Would there be the option for her to do the grade above hers instead of the one below? She might just need a new challenge.

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38 minutes ago, taxi4ballet said:

Have you asked her what it is about her ballet classes that she finds boring at the moment? Would there be the option for her to do the grade above hers instead of the one below? She might just need a new challenge.

There isn't any other class within her school. She's in a class with younger kids, plus the one with older kids is the only class. She's 9, and the other kids are 10 to 12. She's doing grade 3 and 4 UKA syllabus concurrently and will examine in 2 months time. 

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Might be time to think about a different dance school... It's a tricky one but she might have outgrown what they can offer her. I think being part of a dance school where there are good numbers of teenage girls and boys doing upper and vocational grades is really inspiring for the younger ones and shows what they are working towards... 

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20 hours ago, ScottishDancerMum said:

Thank you everyone.  I am just treading lightly as she's really talented but I don't want to be some harridan stage mother who pushes her kid into unhappiness and depression.

So she has a competition next week, and I've told her that we will hold any further comps until next spring.  She is taking jazz, tap and musical theatre, and refuses to let any of those classes go.  She normally does a private ballet lesson and two regular ballet classes (one is at her level and the other is a lower grade but she goes to help with strength and stamina.  So I think she should let the lower grade class go for now as it's boring.

She also has her Associates classes one Sunday a month.  She seems to like going, and they are involved in the Nutcracker this year so I'm hoping that gives her a bit of inspiration.

Before she auditions next year for Associates, we'll have to have a serious discussion about how much dance she wants to do.  I just paid her fees for the year - a huge feat for me - so yes, I do feel pressured to make sure she dances this year.  But I don't want her unhappy.

 

 

 

I think the way you want to go is a good one! Until spring is some time where she can think about it and I understand completely that you don´t want her to let go if you already paid the money. It is a good thing to teach the children that they can´t back out and change their minds every month like a lot of people do. With the program she already has I would also leave the lower grade away if she decides to quit ballett and maybe the private one. With only one ballet class once a week maybe she finds her way back in a few months. If not, the balletclass will still help her with the other dancing styles - maybe she is just more the musical theatre girl, who knows.

 

Maybe she could - instead of the lower grade - do some Pilates class or more acrobatic Yoga for strength.

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I agree with you, Waverley. My dds were at a school that did biennial shows. The grades were amalgamated for show dances and they saw the oldest dancers who were en pointe and looked impossibly beautiful and elegant. It showed them what progress up the grades would bring to them.

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I think that you are 100% right to insist that she completes the associate programme that you've paid for. I believe firmly that ballet (and indeed many other hobbies) provide numerous benefits and learning opportunities for our children, that are actually probably more important than the dancing in the long term. Associates places are expensive and hard to come by and it's entirely reasonable to expect your little girl to respect the effort you've gone to to pay for it, and the fact that she has an opportunity that not everyone gets. Maybe I'm a bit harsh, but I don't think 9 is too young to grasp those concepts. If she doesn't want to reapply next year, that's different, but having committed to the place I think you are right to stick with it. Obviously I wouldn't make a child who was being bullied or similar stay in any programme, but if it's just a case of "going off" an activity then I think it's a fair expectation that they complete the course.

That said, I do think that the previous posters have a point about considering a change of school as it may be that she's getting a bit bored as not being stretched enough. My youngest was losing interest in one of his sports a bit but a change of club and new challenges has completely reinvigorated him, even though he's gone from being one of the best in the first club to one of the weakest at the new one.

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Having read your latest post, I would strongly suggest that you need to find a new school for the next stage of ballet.

 

We have been lucky because we - accidentally - ended up at a school which goes from pre-Primary all the way up to advanced vocational grades. The school has a policy that pupils always do classes at their own grade and with the one above, so 'the next thing' is always visible. Ironically, as DD (15) runs out of exams to take across the 3 disciplines - just 2 more Advanced exams left - I am wondering whether she too will remain motivated for the full 3 years she has until she leaves.

 

i would also suggest that you might want to look for a school that does 'groups / performing groups / troupes', whatever they call it, just at this point. They don't have to perform often - DD's dance school competes 3x per year - but the sense of dance as 'a team game', a 'shared enterprise' as well as genuinely a performing art can do wonders at that age. Of course, if she decides to dance seriously at a future point, competitions can be distracting, but DD's happiest dance memories will always be of 'Groups Days' at local festivals, whisking in and out of costumes, sharing the stage with others and wanting to be perfect 'for the team'. DD, for example, worked tirelessly at double pirouttes, because a specific group ballet required them, and if she couldn't do them, then they all had to do singles and it didn't look so good.

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Totally agree with Pups_mum... our rule has always been that if the fees have been paid with the agreement of the child, then they see the term out (with the aforementioned caveats re bullying etc). All my 4 have had to endure one or other class of something they stopped really enjoying because they had asked for the classes and I had paid. I think it did teach them to think a bit harder before asking to join a class on a whim..

 

As for the overall question about keeping her interest I guess its worth a conversation to try and unpick what exactly she doesn't like about it. But ultimately you may have to accept that it just isn't what she wants, no matter how talented she may be. My younger son has been evaluated as being possibly more  physically talented than eldest who is dancing at the Bolshoi (by the teacher who initially inspired DS1 to become the dancer he is now - the wonderful Judy Breen, whose judgement I trust absolutely) but after 2 years of ballet he gave up because he just didn't want to do it. My youngest daughter has (according to DS1) a ballet physique and feet to die for but after a term of ballet aged 7 pronounced that ballet is too 'sweaty' and has never again put a ballet shoe on. Thems the breaks I guess...

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Hi All

 

We have had a number of students come on our courses and private classes with me lacking in confidence and unsure if they wish to give up dance etc. Some from top vocational schools However when we sit down and chat about ballet, or dance then there tends to be a 'thing' that has changed their mind, an event!. Nearly teaching for 20 years and ex professional, I have tried to latch onto what they first loved in dance and try to take them back to that time, and make them realise that they can improve, that can love 'Dance' again.

 

I hate to hear people turning their back on dance. We are humbled to say that we have had a good hand full like this join us at Woodside Dance Retreat, and they have found their love again with us, and it tends to steam from their confidence and not feeling good enough. Confidence is everything!

 

This is just my experience. Keep dancing everyone!

 

Nic x

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