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DD quit dancing


Mammabear
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My DD told me yesterday that she wants to quit dance, she’s 15 years old and is half way through the audition rounds for upper school (she has two offers and one audition left to do).

 

The revelation came after an argument about social media.  I though she might change her mind if she slept on it but today she is still adamant.

 

i have given her numerous opportunities to step back from dance, in fact for the past two years I have tried to reduce her dance hours but she was determined to become a dancer and fought to keep her dance.

 

She dropped the bombshell that there is a boy she really likes and they have been “talking” since January.  If she really doesn’t want to dance I will be disappointed that she let things get this far but will support her regardless but I’m concerned that this is a rash decision made on a whim.

 

I really don’t know how to handle this 😢

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Hi,

Sorry to hear this - sounds like a stressful situation. 

 

Two things jump out at me from your post: The first was the argument about social media. Could it be that social media has somehow influenced her decision? Has there been any online bullying? Or nasty comments on her posts? Something that has knocked her confidence maybe? Secondly, the mention of the boy that she likes and that they've been 'talking' - is this online talking or face to face talking? With this generation a lot of young people 'talk' online and form close attachments to people who they've never met and this can be hugely influential. Has this relationship influenced her decision?

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I’d add to the online issue.... is she feeling ever more negative or inadequate or not talented enough based on all the Instagram dance ‘stars’?? Note these are usually social media savvy over posters NOT pro dancers in companies with proper jobs. These maybe same age, with thousands of followers & be ‘influencers’ even monetising their ‘fame’ with free stuff (very rarely is it proper hard cash...) & they are only worth their following today.... as likely to be replaced tomorrow by the next new ‘star’.

And who are these stars? Ones with parents who take it on to ‘manage’ their kids media image...or teachers...or photographers..competitions.... All trying to get some reflected glory/money....Or rather self obsessed individuals....

And what are the posts? The image they want to portray; how many takes to get that one perfect pirouette of umpteen turns? Not every time was ‘perfect’ or off the charts! In years gone by that flook multiple turn was just self satisfying & proof to oneself you could do it.... great if witnessed in class or by an audience, but it was none the less valuable for not having had 1000’s of likes & worse, the innane comments like your rock’ ‘yaaazzzz’ ‘go gurrlll’ & then the more troublesome ‘how did you get to be so good?’ ‘Why can’t I be you?’ etc etc.... a troubling picture can emerge....

Best advice I was ever given in life was ‘never see someone else’s success as your failure’ (& conversely ‘never see your success as someone else’s failure’

A grounding ethos.... keeps optimism levels up & ensures one remains humble & kind....

I am rambling & did actually say very similar things in another thread.... one in reference to marketing actually from a leading institution that in my opinion is rather skewed in its aim...& rather potentially damaging as it represents an image of ‘perfection’ few can emulate.... without the help of studio photographer shoot, video trickery, digital enhancement & retouching....Actually, that’s just it, with trickery & editing we can all look like that.... but we don’t when there living & breathing in front of an audience. Do we want real reality or Instagram ‘reality’ ???

I suspect it has also created much annoyance amongst peers & parents of that institution also....

I think this time is immensely stressful & overfilled with important stuff (GCSE’s, auditions, recalls, interviews, decisions) 

And social media does seem to mean they make snap decisions & snap comments.... far too much living in the brief snippet of Snapchat of other such video....

If I could UNINVENT social media I so would....hypocritical I know as I sit typing on here 🤣

Edited by Peanut68
Really idiot typo!!
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4 minutes ago, Peanut68 said:

I’d add to the online issue.... is she feeling ever more negative or inadequate or not talented enough based on all the Instagram dance ‘stars’?? Note these are usually social media savvy over posters NOT pro dancers in companies with proper jobs. These maybe same age, with thousands of followers & be ‘influencers’ even monetising their ‘fame’ with free stuff (very rarely is it proper hard cash...) & they are only worth their following today.... as likely to be replaced tomorrow by the next new ‘star’.

And who are these stars? Ones with parents who take it on to ‘manage’ their kids media image...or teachers...or photographers..competitions.... All trying to get some reflected glory/money....Or rather self obsessed individuals....

And what are the posts? The image they want to portray; how many takes to get that one perfect pirouette of umpteen turns? Not every time was ‘perfect’ or off the charts! In years gone by that flook multiple turn was just self satisfying & proof to oneself you could do it.... great if witnessed in class or by an audience, but it was none the less valuable for not having had 1000’s of likes & worse, the innane comments like your rock’ ‘yaaazzzz’ ‘go gurrlll’ & then the more troublesome ‘how did you get to be so good?’ ‘Why can’t I be you?’ etc etc.... a troubling picture can emerge....

Best advice I was ever given in life was ‘never see someone else’s success as your failure’ (& conversely ‘never see your success as someone else’s failure’

A grounding ethos.... keeps optimism levels up & ensures one remains humble & kind....

I am rambling & did actually say very similar things in another thread.... one in reference to marketing actually from a leading institution that in my opinion is rather skewed in its aim...& rather potentially damaging as it represents an image of ‘perfection’ few can emulate.... without the help of studio photographer shoot, video trickery, digital enhancement & retouching....Actually, that’s just it, with trickery & editing we can all look like that.... but we don’t when there living & breathing in front of an audience. Do we want real reality or Instagram ‘reality’ ???

I suspect it has also created much annoyance amongst peers & parents of that institution also....

I think this time is immensely stressful & overfilled with important stuff (GCSE’s, auditions, recalls, interviews, decisions) 

And social media does seem to mean they make snap decisions & snap comments.... far too much living in the brief snippet of Snapchat of other such video....

If I could I invent special media I so would....hypocritical I know as I sit typing on here 🤣

Some aspects here that I agree wholeheartedly with, especially your reference to not viewing someone else’s success as your failure. The world would be a much nicer place if we could learn to celebrate everyone’s successes without feeling that they somehow threaten us. 
However, the criticism of a photo campaign from a vocational school for portraying perfection seems rather silly. If our country’s top institutions use stunning images to represent what can be, and indeed is achieved by the students there, surely that is fair enough. As for digital trickery, the images show students who consistently perform to that standard. We need to remind ourselves of the original comment about celebrating success.

Mamabear, it must be so hard to see your DD having doubts just as the offers are coming in for upper schools. But if she really has changed her mind, it would be more heartbreaking to start down the vocational route if she knew in her heart of hearts that it wasn’t for her. Hopefully she will feel ready to talk it through properly with you soon.

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Mammabear - could your daughter have said what she said in the spur of the moment and now feels that she has to stick by it? If so, is there a way you could help her to change her mind without losing face ....? I sometimes find that staying cool, unemotional and logical works best. Perhaps it might help her to write down a pros and cons list of quitting dancing at this stage. Sometimes, seeing things laid out in black and white brings a bit of clarity, especially if the 'pro quitting' side of the page contains little more than 'to spend time with a boy' ......

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Thanks so much for all your comments, I just needed a little vent.

 

i am planning on giving her a couple of weeks to see how she feels and take it from there.

i think that peer pressure from non dancing friends and boyfriend are playing a major part in her decision.  The social media argument was down to her responding to messages from strangers on snap chat, the argument descended into her wanting to be a normal teenager and announcing that she no longer wants to dance professionally.  I am just so floored as she was over the moon about getting offers from dance school.  She now tells me she lost her love of dance a year ago and hoped it would return.

 

Incredibly she still wants to go to SA’s which is a 5 and half hour round trip train journey every week!


She’s dancing at a festival this week and was adamant that she would compete in all dances, I just want her enjoy this week x

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Perhaps she wants to continue dancing but has just fallen out with the idea of going to Vocational School? You could check that out with her. 
Unfortunately quite a few girls drop dancing in mid to late teens when a young man comes on the scene! It’s a difficult time. 

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Sorry to hear about this Mammabear. It must be quite a shock to the system. I suspect the fact that she still wants to do the festival and to attend SAs is a sign that she doesn't truly want to give up dancing. I would be inclined to give her a bit of time and space to think things through herself, as in my experience, the more you try to persuade a teenager to do something the harder they tend to push back.

As others have said, it may be a spur of the moment thing but she currently doesn't want to back down and lose face, or it may be that she genuinely doesn't want to go to vocational school at this time. That doesn't necessarily mean she doesn't want to dance any more though. Year 11 is a super stressful time and it may be that everything is just getting on top of her a bit.

In your shoes I would probably try to just enjoy this week for what it is and don't mention the future at all. Then if she doesn't bring it up again in a week or two, I would casually ask if she is still of the same mind and if so, what she wants to do instead. That question is quite good at focusing the mind in my experience. Getting another trusted adult to talk to her may also help, though I wouldn't do that right away or she is likely to feel ganged up on.

Whatever happens, I hope your DD makes a decision that she genuinely believes is right for her, not based on other people's opinions.

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So many conflicting things going on for your poor dd (and you)

 

With regard to vocational schools - don't push it, but don't let her turn down any offers yet.  The thought of going away may suddenly be very scary (not unreasonably) and she may need time to adjust to this.  Maybe she won't go - but give her time to make the decision rationally.  If she really doesn't want to go to that last audition I personally wouldn't push it, but that has to be your call.  Maybe stress about this final audition (if it is one that she always really wanted) has pushed her 'over the edge'.

 

With regard to the boyfriend - assuming he is a real boyfriend not someone she only knows through social media - meet him, invite him into your home,  maybe invite him to the festival to watch her dance.  Get him involved in her real life.

 

With regard to social media - when things have calmed down point out to her that whether or not she is dancing - talking to strangers on snapchat is dangerous and an absolute no-no.

 

If she doesn't take up a place at vocational school this year and then subsequently changes her mind, she may still have the option of going in future years, as long as she keeps up her training locally.  Don't feel that it's now or never!

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Another thing occurred to me that I don’t know how academic your dd is but coming up to important school exams GCSE in the next year could be playing a part in her decision as not everybody can handle the academic pressure and the Dance one. 
Do you think she is worried about school work in any way? Sometimes it can take a while to get to the real reason as it’s often easier to talk about other issues other than the one that’s really bothering you! 
Adolescents can be a bit dramatic sometimes ...it’s all or nothing... sort of approach! 

However all is not lost! many students do manage to stay at normal local school and keep their dancing standard high without going to Vocational School. A further decision can be made at 17/18 in this case. 

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I read all of the above with interest. 
Having teenage daughters in dance it is very hard to navigate all of the above. 
Social media is a huge part of their  lives whether we as parents like it or not we cannot protect them from it. Kindness, appreciation of others hard work and talents should always be promoted and blaming socia media or indeed a schools campaign to attract further talent can not  or should not be sited as a reason for a dancer to walk away. 
In my humble opinion we parents seem to be the last to know or sometimes recognise when their child has had enough of dance as the fear of disappointing their parent is all too real. 
I have also noticed that some  ballet parents seem to want this life more for their children than they do themselves which is hard to watch also and thus often they  miss the signs of when enough is enough. 
Body shape changes, the need to dance changes other priorities take over. 
The mental health and happiness of our children should come above all else. 
Be Kind is the only message needed to all. 
Sorry Soap box moment over!

 

 

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Such great advice, everyone. 🌟 To add to some specific points, I agree that under 16s should only have private SM accounts and this includes Snapchat.  Not just for the child’s own online safety but also because future employers can and will check public accounts and something silly posted when young could have a major impact in future.  My dd is 20 and still only has private accounts; her choice entirely and she’s very selective about what she posts.  As your dd is a minor, you can insist that her accounts are set to private or she doesn’t have SM at all; her choice.  

 

Getting back to dance, it’s important to find out whether this is a temporary or permanent desire.  Dance takes up so much time and it’s completely natural for the most dedicated dance student to suddenly long for a “normal” life of sleepovers and shopping trips.  Sometimes, this is temporary and, given a few weeks off dance, the student decides that actually, life without dance is really quite boring.  Does your dd have this option?

 

However, what your dd might really want is to carry on dancing but stop the competitive merry-go-round of auditioning for full-time dance.  That would be completely understandable; it would mean that she could miss the odd class without worry, enjoy dance for the sake of dance, not panic if she has an off-day in the lead up to audition, where dance becomes an optional extra rather than equally as pressurised as GCSEs.

 

Academics and the possibility of doing A Levels then considering whether to reapply for 18+ dance training is another thing to discuss.  Is she academic?  Is Classical Ballet her current plan or contemporary/general dance/musical theatre?  If the latter three, starting full-time at 18 is fine and in some cases, desirable.  

 

Finally, have you already paid for the upcoming audition, including accommodation?  If so, I’d be tempted to advise her to go for it anyway and just think of it as a masterclass with a different teacher.  If she goes and if she gets an offer, she can always turn it down if she still wants to step away from serious training.  It keeps her options open.

 

Best of luck! 

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