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balletbean

How to justify vocational training?

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A situation arose today which I’m sure many parents have experienced and I’m just wondering how they have responded/reacted 
 

DD currently in 2nd yr at US (17yrs).  We met a dad today of a girl who is a few years older but was a well known name in the local dance circuit   
 

The dad was lovely but then dropped the old:- 

“My DD was encouraged to audition but as she is very good academically with fantastic grades, she decided to go to uni”. 
 

I don’t feel I should have to justify my DD’s decision to dance,  she too also gained ‘fantastic grades’. 
 

Just wondering how other parents of US DC react to these type of situations. Feeling rather peeved off that dancers are still perceived as non academic even by some those that should know better. 
 

Thank you. 
 

ps. The dad did eventually disclose that his daughter missed dancing so much she is now taking regular lessons alongside her degree course. 

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Perhaps it was not meant in a negative way. As a parent I feel quite nervous going down the dance route and if you have a child that wishes to pursue academics feels a safer bet to me. In that you might earn more money etc have a more secure job. All the dancers I know are incredibly bright

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You dont have to justify or react. Just smile and say "that's great" . Its so easy to get caught up in these types of conversations with someone who you are speaking to only in passing. X

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All the dancers I have met are incredibly bright and committed people.

 

As a non-dancer in a family of non-dancers all I can say is that if someone has a talent and the drive to give it a go then they are enriching their lives by giving it a go.

 

Where I worked an OU degree was considered something special at the time because people who had taken the trouble to do an OU degree were usually doing so along a full-time job and that was considered to show a high degree of commitment.

 

From what I have read on so many posts here DC who give it a go are highly sought after even if they don't end up as a professional dancer because they have shown they have drive, determination, passion, commitment, discipline.

 

However, small by the sea is quite right - you do not have to justify or react.

 

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Just ignore it. As long as you and your DD are happy with your decision it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. And you can't really know what was behind the comment either - there are all kinds of possible motivations, including just feeling the need to say something to pass the time. I wouldn't read too much into it.

I've been asked if I am disappointed that DD did dance as my husband and I are both fairly academic. Yes, it is a bit insulting, but actually I just think it came from  place of ignorance/curiosity rather than malice, and the person who asked is of no consequence to us really. So I just smiled and said "No, I am very proud of her". 

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Perhaps there was literally nothing behind the comment other than “she chose uni over dance” because [by getting good grades] she could. In the same way your DD chose dance over uni, because she could.

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9 hours ago, drdance said:

Perhaps there was literally nothing behind the comment other than “she chose uni over dance” because [by getting good grades] she could. In the same way your DD chose dance over uni, because she could.

 

I agree.  If anything, it sounds to me as though the other parent felt *he* had to justify why his daughter *didn’t* go to upper school - which of course he doesn’t. 

 

I wouldn’t worry about it.

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Thank you for all your comments. 
i celebrate my DD’s achievements but realise there are many that still class a uni degree whatever that maybe is worth more. I beg to differ that someone graduating uni with a degree like a BA(Hons) in viticulture is more likely to be employed in that line of business more than a graduate from vocational school securing employment. 😉

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Perhaps with a niche degree subject like that it's more likely than for somebody with a more generic degree? Not sure!

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1 hour ago, balletbean said:

Thank you for all your comments. 
i celebrate my DD’s achievements but realise there are many that still class a uni degree whatever that maybe is worth more. I beg to differ that someone graduating uni with a degree like a BA(Hons) in viticulture is more likely to be employed in that line of business more than a graduate from vocational school securing employment. 😉

 

Well, let’s face it, unless you get into 3rd year at RBS Upper School, there’s no guarantee of paid employment in a ballet company.  We all know and accept that and we let our children take their chances despite that.  So as Ruth says, actually someone with a niche academic degree still may have a better chance of paid employment after graduation.  There are, and have been for decades, more dancers graduating than there are paid jobs as dancers.  There probably aren’t new viticulture courses opening up every year as there are dance courses and schools.  

 

The point is, it isn’t a competition and you can’t compare apples and oranges.   And really, what does it matter what anyone else thinks?  As long as you and your daughter are happy with where she is, and have a Plan B for after graduation should the job market be dire (whether that’s a teaching course, an MA in Choreography, whatever) then surely that’s the main thing.  🙂

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Wholeheartedly agree with everyone who has said that you don't need to justify anything to anyone.  It really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. For what it's worth, my 'non academic' daughter is carving out a successful career as a ballet teacher after dancing professionally for a number of years. She has founded her own school which is flourishing, is in demand as a freelancer and has developed skills in accountancy, marketing and media. She achieved her childhood dream of becoming a 'proper dancer', travelled the world doing what she loved and is now building a successful business. Not bad for someone who was advised by the careers advisor at the local comp to lower her sights and concentrate on getting a 'proper' job because dance was only ever going to be a pipe dream!

 

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 I was talking to a friend today whose child has recently started an Oxbridge science degree. There are still other parents making negative comments - apparently there are better colleges. 🙄

There will ALWAYS be people who chose to put the choices of others down. Often it is because of their own insecurities. Chances are, whatever a young person opts to do there will be someone, somewhere who will be critical.

As a parent it can be very frustrating to hear your child or their choices "put down" but it really is best to let it go over your head. If I think someone is genuinely interested in the rationale behind my DD's choices I am very happy to chat, but I refuse to waste time and energy on justifying them to anyone who just wants to tell me how much better their child is - be that a non dancer or another dancer. (Because let's not kid ourselves that other dance parents don't also do this!) I find a smile and "How lovely. I am really pleased to hear X is doing so well" followed swiftly by a change of topic usually does the trick.

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So true. I noticed long ago that whenever two Oxbridge graduates meet the first question they always ask is which college did you go to.  There is a pecking order in everything. And as for employability well I read  Applied Chemistry for my first degree and the number of us that actually got jobs in the industry was tiny . I was very lucky but most of my fellow students ended up doing something else. In the end the best advice I can give is to do what you are passionate about and never mind what other people think. Most young people today are going to have two or three careers over the course of their working life. And there is no longer any such thing as a secure job. Just be glad that your dd is doing what she loves.

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Off track completely but as a Cambridge grad myself I would say that generally the reason we ask people which College they went to is out of genuine interest and to see if we might have friends/acquaintances in common. (At least for my generation, can't of course speak for younger graduates).

Definitely agree with the advice to do what you feel what you feel passionate about - @balletbean hope your daughter is loving her time at vocational school!

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13 hours ago, MAK said:

Off track completely but as a Cambridge grad myself I would say that generally the reason we ask people which College they went to is out of genuine interest and to see if we might have friends/acquaintances in common. (At least for my generation, can't of course speak for younger graduates).

 

I do wonder whether a lot of us assume people have an ulterior, negative motive when asking questions like this.... sometimes the question really isn't negative at all (as MAK says).

 

I think in this day and age, our own insecurities and comparisons about our own lives (ie am I doing a good enough job? Are my children as successful as X/Y/Z? Is so-and-so's life better than mine?) can lead us to assume that everyone else is being critical in comments which may well be completely innocent. My philosophy, which is not easy to follow btw, is to be aware of my own personal 'bias' when considering other peoples' comments, and to also consider their own personal 'bias' (or lack of). It's very easy to think that someone is saying one thing, when actually they are saying something completely different. By considering the bigger picture such as how we're feeling on the day,  or how they might be feeling on the day can help.

 

No-one needs to justify any of their life choices, or their family's life choices, to anyone else - but it's also just as likely that no-one is asking you to.....

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I am sure you are absolutely right @drdance and @MAK though in my friend's case the other parents actually said "Oh, X College. That's a shame. My son is at Y College, they are far more selective" so I don't think there was any misinterpreting the intention there!

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35 minutes ago, Pups_mum said:

I am sure you are absolutely right @drdance and @MAK though in my friend's case the other parents actually said "Oh, X College. That's a shame. My son is at Y College, they are far more selective" so I don't think there was any misinterpreting the intention there!

 

UGH!!!! Well, as you said, it's usually down to their own insecurities and their feeling the need to justify their childs' achievements/existence.... There is so much more to life than being selected for a school or a college....for any reason!

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1 hour ago, Pups_mum said:

I am sure you are absolutely right @drdance and @MAK though in my friend's case the other parents actually said "Oh, X College. That's a shame. My son is at Y College, they are far more selective" so I don't think there was any misinterpreting the intention there!

 

Ugh.  So ridiculous, anyway - assuming the student graduates with a degree, doesn’t it just have “Oxon” or “Cantab” after the qualification, rather than specifying College?  I know there’s College loyalty at both Unis but among students that’s always seemed more good-natured than anything else.

 

Mind you, I’ve come across plenty of Dance Mums in my time who have tried to either “big up” where their child was an associate or be quite pitying/disdainful if your child was “only” at X school’s associates.  I just nodded and smiled a lot.   Such snobbery is not limited to Universities/Colleges!  ☺️

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3 hours ago, Pups_mum said:

I am sure you are absolutely right @drdance and @MAK though in my friend's case the other parents actually said "Oh, X College. That's a shame. My son is at Y College, they are far more selective" so I don't think there was any misinterpreting the intention there!

 

It makes you cringe doesn't it! 

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3 hours ago, Anna C said:

 

Ugh.  So ridiculous, anyway - assuming the student graduates with a degree, doesn’t it just have “Oxon” or “Cantab” after the qualification, rather than specifying College?  I know there’s College loyalty at both Unis but among students that’s always seemed more good-natured than anything else.

 

Mind you, I’ve come across plenty of Dance Mums in my time who have tried to either “big up” where their child was an associate or be quite pitying/disdainful if your child was “only” at X school’s associates.  I just nodded and smiled a lot.   Such snobbery is not limited to Universities/Colleges!  ☺️

Very true Anna. It's the same with contracts. I've come into contact with a few who've said, 'oh, a cruise ship'. Like you , I just smiled. Thankfully I've always been quite thick skinned, more so the older I get and am not easily offended.

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The way I always looked at it was...you can do academics later in life - you can only train as a dancer when you are young.  

 

If it is what your child passionately wants to do, if they are gifted enough and lucky enough to get a place at vocational school let them grab it with both hands and enjoy it for as long as it lasts.  

 

Most of the professionally trained dancers I know are very employable in other fields as well because of their strong work ethic.

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Glowlight  -   Absolutely! Couldn’t agree more! If you have a passion for something and good enough to get in somewhere then go for it. I would rather dd do something that she loves and is happy doing than be in a dead end job and being unhappy doing it. 

Edited by Dancing unicorn
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20 hours ago, Mumofballetmaddaughter said:

I've come into contact with a few who've said, 'oh, a cruise ship'. 

A friend of dd's has been working for a cruise line for about 3 years now. She's travelled all over the world, had an absolutely fantastic time, performs in West-End level productions and is paid well. And she doesn't have to worry about accommodation. Nothing wrong with a cruise ship.

 

 

 

 

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People who say "Oh a cruise shiip" are totally out of touch.  It is really tough to get in, the standard is very high.  As with any job, conditions may vary, but the best have amazing theatres and productions.

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Comparison is the thief of joy - as the saying goes. It’s human nature, though, so let’s hope most try to keep their less wholesome thoughts in their heads. My “fantastically academic” DD managed to dodge all the bullets and become a ballet dancer. Did I imagine this future for her when she was young? No way. Yes, I supported her as a child and young teen, but as she got more into ballet and the older she got, the riskier it becomes as other pathways seem to close off. Relatives and friends made pointed comments. Friends went off to university and I compared, and I worried - about job prospects and injury and everything. But she made a choice to try, and it happened for her. Why did she want to try? Because she loved it more than anything else. Is that the comment of a very young person? It may be, it may not be. But the decision to try has to be made at a young age. It may not have worked out and then she would have to have made another choice. None of us is on the same pathway as anyone else, and diversions and junctions and dead ends are to be expected somewhere. At some point, her ballet career will be over, that’s for certain - it may be soon, or it may be years in the future - and she’ll have to make another choice.

 

A few days ago, I chatted with a stranger on a (much delayed) train. He had been a ballet dancer in his youth, and all he wanted to do at 16 was dance. He had trained and worked as a dancer for several years before stopping in his late 20s and going into a career completely unrelated to dance or the arts. Now about to retire,  he had no regrets about either becoming a dancer  - or giving it up to do something different.

Edited by rowan
Tried to change ginormous font but failed
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4 hours ago, Pas de Quatre said:

People who say "Oh a cruise shiip" are totally out of touch.  It is really tough to get in, the standard is very high.  As with any job, conditions may vary, but the best have amazing theatres and productions.

They are totally out of touch and have absolutely no idea just how tough it is to get any kind of contract. Easily 200+ turn up at the open auditions and can be put through their paces for 2/3 days, being cut all the time until about 20-30 are left, and still no guarantee of an offer. And the standard of the dancers is incredibly high. Cruise contracts can be incredibly well paid, no living expenses, no food expenses, lots of ship privileges for dancers and the opportunity to travel the world.

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1 hour ago, Moneypenny said:

They are totally out of touch and have absolutely no idea just how tough it is to get any kind of contract. Easily 200+ turn up at the open auditions and can be put through their paces for 2/3 days, being cut all the time until about 20-30 are left, and still no guarantee of an offer. And the standard of the dancers is incredibly high. Cruise contracts can be incredibly well paid, no living expenses, no food expenses, lots of ship privileges for dancers and the opportunity to travel the world.

 

Absolutely.  Dancers on Cruise ships have to work extremely hard, no doubt about it, having other duties like parades and Muster Drill as well as shows and rehearsals.  What a lovely thing to do while you’re young though - seeing the world while being able to save money.  I think it’s a great option.  

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On the other hand I do think it's a little easier when your DC is NOT fantastically academic - DS is severely dyscalculic and a bit dyslexic so wasn't giving up a glittering academic career so much as enthusiastically waving it goodbye with a huge sigh of relief - it must be much harder if you have both on offer and have to choose...

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I'm reminded of an internet quote that I recently saw:

"If you fuel your journey on the opinion of others, you won't get very far"

 

And there you have it in a nutshell. Your daughter is living her own life and her own truth. Neither you, nor her have to justify anything to anyone.

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