Jump to content

Giving up ballet


allnewtome
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi, just after some words of wisdom. My daughter has suddenly decided to give up ballet. She is 13 and over the last few years has been dancing 4-5 times a week, 2/3 hours a night, so this is a big decision. She has just passed her intermediate exam and has been a JA and MA. The decision has come from no where and it has knocked me for six. Obviously I will

support her in her decision but right now I am concerned she is being too rash. Any advice gratefully received! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just one thought.... has she recently changed main school (eg. Joined middle school?) I know trying to fit into a new peer group can make a young person announce they suddenly want to make big life changes.....if dance is a true happy part of their life then expect a just as quick announcement that they wish to continue....or not of course.

Best of luck managing whatever decisions do occur & remember all experience is part of shaping the future person we all become & dance training seems to set DC up to be strong, determined, disciplined & successful in so many areas of life. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would ask her if she really wants to stop or just dial it down a bit. My ballet mad toddler was too tired to go to ballet after she started full time school but a couple of months later I found her crying because she missed it so much. Kids!

 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is it because her friends are going out? I know Dd’s friends stopped inviting her to parties/shopping trips due to ballet. She fell out with a couple of them for a little while as they were annoyed she would not go out as it ‘was just ballet’. This has now settled as she is 15 and they know she will not miss it. 13 is fairly common for school friends to meet up and go shopping/cinema or parties.

It could also be she has fallen out with a few in the class or perhaps she wants to try something else. Does she want to stay in MAs and just reduce normal classes?

Dd2 would give up every now and then but would miss it and return.

Hopefully, she can tell you why.

I appreciate it is frustrating when you and her have invested so much time but perhaps a little break will rekindle her passion for it.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with Fiz,  definitely one of those sit down moments. Maybe initially avoid the ballet subject and start with her peers at school. Settling in etc. Pick up the vibe then incl ballet and suggest compromises. ie meeting up with friends or invite them around whilst encouraging the continuation in dancing. Just tweaking it slightly. That is a lot of Dancing to totally give up and go “cold turkey”. Obviously do ask whether the decision has come from change of teachers/syllabus etc at the studio. Has there been a recent exam which produced a lower than expected result? Or is it pressure from the teachers at school not her peers regarding homework expectations. 

 

So many angles to come at it. Not necessarily all in one conversation. Whilst discussing it just a gentle reminder that as you’ve paid for the term your DD will have to continue attending until Christmas 😉. That normally covers the immediate reason whilst sorting out the actual issues. If that makes sense. Surprising how a simple thing about cost and commitment already agreed to can help someway. Even if we as parents stretch the situation slightly 😉 oh and if there’s a show coming up also helps. 

 

Obviously none of us would insist our children continue something they dislike but by the sound of things that doesn’t appear to be the issue. 

Good Luck. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

She may have suddenly announced her decision, but I wonder how long she has been thinking about it. 

 

Starting on the advanced grades really ramps things up. It starts to get physically, technically and emotionally demanding and the level of determination, dedication and commitment has to increase also.  Maybe she's just decided that although she loves ballet, she doesn't love it enough.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It might be useful to know how she uses her dance classes from an emotional point of view. 

Is it a form of self expression? Physical exertion? Social? Does it fulfil  a perfectionist  streak? Or presumably a mixture of them all?

Understanding why it made her tick for so long might help to replace it with other activities or keep going a little longer.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You should feel proud that she has been able to tell you.  My  DD used to ask from time to time "can I give up if I want to, not that I do, but if I did?" I would always assure her that it would be her decision. What prompted it was that several girls she knew in Mids, and then others later in Central Pre Seniors, really wanted to stop but didn't dare say so.  

 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A couple of my dd’s “friends” used to try and talk her out of going to classes and deliberately organise parties on days that they knew she couldn’t attend and then tell her that if she really cared about them, she’d cut class. It eventually dawned on my dd that they weren’t really her friends. It might be peer pressure at school which is affecting your dd. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is she in year 9?? Only ask as the schools start with the GCSE pressure around then. If she goes to a mainly academic school, could she be worrying about fitting it all in?? My DS has had a few breaks for various reasons, and I’ve always tried to foster his love of spectating as well as taking part. Keeping the interest alive can inspire them to return. I remember one particular occasion that I took him, and his sister to the big smoke for the weekend, he so desperately wanted to be back on the stage once he’d seen it from the other side. Sending (((hugs))) all round...xxx

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We've had a bit of this, but DD decided that she'd dance and be with her dance friends than her 'friends' who didn't 'get' her.  

 

Also when DD started year 9, she also started GCSEs and the homework ramped up. It was a tight learning curve. 

 

Allnewtome I hope with time to think and perhaps seeing out the term ( with maybe reduced classes ) your DD will be happier. Thinking of you all x

Edited by Pixiewoo
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with everyone else. Keep the lines of communication open and things will almost certainly turn out ok one way or another.

One thing to consider is whether your DD really means that she doesn't want to dance any more, or is it that she doesn't want to be a dancer? She may of course not yet have even realised that those are different things, but it is worth exploring that question. 

Both in real life and online I have observed on numerous occasions that when a child has talent there are lots of assumptions made from an early age. It doesn't just happen in dance - every sport or activity seems to have a "pathway" and once you are on it it seems to be assumed that you will want to continue to the next stage whether you have said so or not. It is like being on a conveyor belt. The application forms for the next phase are given out automatically or you may even find out you have been selected for something that you didn't even apply for. Everyone else around you has the same aspirations (or so it seems) and you are continually told how fortunate you are to have been picked for the associates/ team/training programme you are on. It is very hard even for an adult to cope with that amount of pressure and to step off the conveyor belt if they discover it isn't what they want after all. So much has been invested - time, effort, money - and you've got an opportunity that many desire and few receive. I have heard many parents say that it is hard to stop so for a teenager it must be even worse. It is testament to your DD's character and her relationship with you that she has spoken out.

But maybe it is the "pathway" she has had enough of, not dancing? Would she feel differently if there were no assessments, auditions, exams etc for a while at least?  If the pressure (either external or self imposed) is removed and she has the opportunity to dance purely for pleasure and for herself she may rediscover the joy of dance.

Maybe consider stopping the associates and cutting back on the hours at her regular dance school but maintaining one or two classes a week - the argument that its paid for or you need to give notice is a good one. That gives her time for other activities, social events and rest but doesn't shut the door on dance entirely.

When a child is introduced to an activity at an early age and turns out to be talented they don't always get the chance to figure out whether they are doing it because they love it, or because they are good at it. I would encourage her to think a bit about that and also to try to unpick exactly what it is that she wants to get away from. It could be pressure, exhaustion, travel, a particular teacher, other students etc etc rather than ballet itself. She might just need some help to discover how to deal with the elements that are making her unhappy rather than giving up altogether.

I hope you can get to the bottom of things and find a solution that makes her happy.

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some really good advice here and I hope you get to the bottom of it as it does sound like there may be something else prompting this decision. Only thing I wanted to add is that if she decides to give up it doesn't mean that is the end. After a while, she may well miss it and go back. The door will always be open.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I quit for about eight months when I was 14 I think. I just wanted to be a normal teenager ( If any teenager is normal, LOL). I wanted to have my hair a bit spikey and wear outlandish earrings. Ballet, with it's hair in a bun and only allowed sleeper earrings and never allowed nail polish in class unless it is pale pink was so conservative and restrictive to me for a while. I wanted to hang around Manchester city centre with friends from school, getting a bit dressed up and browsing the record shops and eyeing up boys. Instead on most Saturdays and some evenings I spent in a dance studio. I felt I was missing out on being a teenager. I went back to Ballet as I missed it so much, but for a while I needed to feel just like every other teenager and I felt like Ballet to an extent, prevented me.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to add, I think that's why so many teenagers give up, after loving it for years when they were younger. It's not seen as a cool or trendy thing to do. If your friends snigger a little bit when you mention Ballet classes it will make you doubt whether it is an OK thing for someone to be doing, when they just want to fit in and be the same as everyone else around them.

Edited by Lisa O`Brien
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you again everyone for your words and thoughts. We are still working through it. I really don’t know what is going on as she doesn’t want to talk about anything. But she will in time. But for now she wants nothing to do with ballet! She is going cold turkey! It feels very strange. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You mentioned that she has recently passed her Intermediate exam. Has she gone into an Advanced Foundation or Adv 1 class now? If so, it is a massive step up from Inter and quite a shock to the system, especially if you have just had 6 weeks off and have joined an extablished class with students who have been dancing at that level for a while.

 

It might have really knocked her confidence and self-esteem, and made her wonder whether she is any good after all. Just a thought.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, LinMM said:

Has she recently been through any important physical changes key for girls? 

I was also going to ask if there could be a physical change issue? Particularly when training at intensive levels (you mention being a MA) then there is a huge amount of feeling one must conform to the skinny, flat chested stereotype....puberty can be so varied & body shape & one’s own acceptance of or even perception of can take time to settle. Especially in the - let’s face it -sometimes harshly judgemental & at times down right cruel world of ballet...

I have heard of comments amongst - funnily enough - year 9 girls such as ‘at least I’ve got the right shape for Ballet because I don’t have boobs’ pointedly making the girl with a 32B (shock horror) chest feel like Jordan & who knows what internal feelings of body loathing & self doubt these nasty jibes can cause? I don’t for a minute think this is the norm & it seems that you have an open communicative (👍🏻👏🏻) relationship so you would perhaps have a heads up on this if it could at all be an issue. But there are so many of these areas of comparison used in dance...leg  length/ sloping shoulders.... you name it, someone somewhere is making these comparisons & potentially causing others to have insecurities which in turn & lead to decisions....

best of luck x

Edited by Peanut68
Typos
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 16/09/2019 at 20:44, Fiz said:

A couple of my dd’s “friends” used to try and talk her out of going to classes and deliberately organise parties on days that they knew she couldn’t attend and then tell her that if she really cared about them, she’d cut class. It eventually dawned on my dd that they weren’t really her friends. It might be peer pressure at school which is affecting your dd. 

Aww that’s sad xx 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We’ve had this a bit on and off. Dd is now 15 and at 13 was saying she didn’t know if she wanted a dance career and we just said absolutely fine and helped her think about other careers. 

 

She stuck with it just doing “one last exam” lol but kept trying to guilt trip us as parents saying she was doing it mostly for us (as if!) 

 

anyway then she got injured and simply could not dance for 8 weeks and she became a right royal pain to have around ... moping, bad tempered, snappy etc. 

 

She realised that actually she needed to dance because she loved it so much but in a way needed to have the injury to really test how she felt. She’d danced since age 2 and once on the roller coaster couldn’t easily get off. 

 

All along we had said we honestly didn’t mind. We just didn’t want to be messed about paying for things and giving up time that she wasn’t seemingly enjoying. 

 

In hindsight she says it was a combination of 1. Body image 2. Not feeling good enough or ever being good enough 3. Wanting time for a boyfriend 4. Adv 1 was much harder than Int and she felt inadequate 5. She wanted to dance for fun without pressure 

 

she also had a bit of baggage about academics and feeling that she should be devoting way more attention to school work 

 

we keep reassuring her now that it’s ok to give up or cut down. Sometimes we forget how useful a rest can be

 

good luck and I hope she can be happy with her choices 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Just a little update. My daughter decided to try going back to class, her decision, she came to me and said she thought she had maybe been a little rash in her decision and that maybe she should give it another go.  She says she still

doesn't know why she wanted to stop? Anyway she has done quite a bit this week and so far has had a great week? Who knows what goes on in their heads 🤷🏼‍♀️. Thank you for all the support. I have had some lovely private messages that really helped - thank you x

  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...