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Life after ballet


cotes du rhone !
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As other members post audition results on other threads and begin their vocational ballet journey, tonight we are celebrating that, after an MDS and Dada, Dd has been granted funding for her University BSc course 🎉 She has chosen her accommodation and clubs already. There’s a lot of fun times and team sports to catch up on !! Must stop calling her Dd 🤣 
There is plenty of life after ballet 💪🤣

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14 minutes ago, cotes du rhone ! said:

As other members post audition results on other threads and begin their vocational ballet journey, tonight we are celebrating that, after an MDS and Dada, Dd has been granted funding for her University BSc course 🎉 She has chosen her accommodation and clubs already. There’s a lot of fun times and team sports to catch up on !! Must stop calling her Dd 🤣 
There is plenty of life after ballet 💪🤣

Excellent news congratulations! Dd still a bit lost as to what she’s going to do after grad it’s so hard at the moment especially with the pandemic.

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2 minutes ago, Glissé said:

Excellent news congratulations! Dd still a bit lost as to what she’s going to do after grad it’s so hard at the moment especially with the pandemic.

I would get her fingers into a lot of pies so she has choices. She can still try for contracts whilst she is looking at alternatives. And quite a lot of university courses let you defer for a year.

My heart goes out to the graduates from last year and this 😢 We found Dds school to be very unhelpful with exploring alternative careers. Apart from one ballet teacher 😌 They just kept telling her she would get a contract. All she wanted was someone to listen and help her explore her options and not make her feel like changing paths was a failure 😞 

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7 minutes ago, cotes du rhone ! said:

I would get her fingers into a lot of pies so she has choices. She can still try for contracts whilst she is looking at alternatives. And quite a lot of university courses let you defer for a year.

My heart goes out to the graduates from last year and this 😢 We found Dds school to be very unhelpful with exploring alternative careers. Apart from one ballet teacher 😌 They just kept telling her she would get a contract. All she wanted was someone to listen and help her explore her options and not make her feel like changing paths was a failure 😞 

Dd’s school also extremely unsupportive at looking at other careers. She reckons that she definitely wants to come away from dance similarly she has no one to ask for advice as they’re so focused on company contracts. I’m sure we’ll work something out in the coming months 

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6 minutes ago, Glissé said:

Dd’s school also extremely unsupportive at looking at other careers. She reckons that she definitely wants to come away from dance similarly she has no one to ask for advice as they’re so focused on company contracts. I’m sure we’ll work something out in the coming months 

That’s so sad 😞 

We searched for weeks for a university course that Dd would like. She wrote down what her passions, interests, strengths were and what kind of work she would like to do in the future. We toyed with physiotherapy for ages but she didn’t want to work with ‘sick’ people. My husband, oldest son and I are nurses, that’s enough to put anyone offer a healthcare/hospital career 🤣 Then at midnight one night I woke my husband and said “I’ve found it !” It ticked all of her boxes. She was ecstatic 🤩 And that’s what she is off to do. Deep down you’re Dd will have a passion that has been squashed by ballet. You just need to find it 😃 

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I will have to get dd to do the same writing down passions etc. she’s been stuck in a negative rut lately her school isn’t helping I think she needs to find who she is outside of dance. It’s so hard when ballet has been the biggest part of her life for all these years. Like you said she just needs to find that passion ❣️

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Have you done an aptitude and interest test like the Morresby one? (I’ve probably spelt that wrong). It should work out your strengths and weaknesses and suggest millions of things you never thought of. 

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12 minutes ago, Glissé said:

I will have to get dd to do the same writing down passions etc. she’s been stuck in a negative rut lately her school isn’t helping I think she needs to find who she is outside of dance. It’s so hard when ballet has been the biggest part of her life for all these years. Like you said she just needs to find that passion ❣️

You have hit the nail on the head. Dd talks about only ever identifying as a dancer and feeling that without that she is nothing. These children are so much more. They have skills and abilities beyond their years and just need to believe in themselves 💪 The very best of luck and a very happy Easter holiday of exploring all those amazing opportunities that await her xx

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3 minutes ago, cotes du rhone ! said:

You have hit the nail on the head. Dd talks about only ever identifying as a dancer and feeling that without that she is nothing. These children are so much more. They have skills and abilities beyond their years and just need to believe in themselves 💪 The very best of luck and a very happy Easter holiday of exploring all those amazing opportunities that await her xx

Exactly the same with my dd think she’s going through a bit of an identity crisis at the moment! I agree they have learnt so many transferable skills over the years just need to find that passion so they can use them! Thank you , very best of luck to your dd too have a lovely Easter xx

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39 minutes ago, Flower said:

Have you done an aptitude and interest test like the Morresby one? (I’ve probably spelt that wrong). It should work out your strengths and weaknesses and suggest millions of things you never thought of. 

Just did a trial question of a Morrisby test and failed miserably 😂 Fab suggestion so worth exploring 😃

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42 minutes ago, cotes du rhone ! said:

Just did a trial question of a Morrisby test and failed miserably 😂 Fab suggestion so worth exploring 😃

How can you fail? 😂

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4 hours ago, Glissé said:

Exactly the same with my dd think she’s going through a bit of an identity crisis at the moment! I agree they have learnt so many transferable skills over the years just need to find that passion so they can use them! Thank you , very best of luck to your dd too have a lovely Easter xx

My daughter had exactly the same identity crisis. It took a while but you have to keep pointing in a forward direction. Regroup and list their skills and qualities  - try loads of different things. Be brave and look forward are the words we kept saying. They are so young and the world is ahead of them - loads of options if you open your mind to them. Ballet isn’t everything and for a very few it’s a career that satisfies and it’s fleeting. My daughter has found a new path at uni and now can see a career she feels will be fulfilling and she can succeed at. That’s all you want as a parent. Remain positive and keep going. !!! 

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Giving up your dream of a career in dance is a major life change for a young person, and shouldn't be rushed.  Especially if it is something that isn't purely their choice. 

 

Maybe rather than rushing in to what do chose next, a little down time to give them space and clarity is what they need.

 

A few months at home, working in local shops/cafes if they are lucky.  Doing  normal teenage things.  Discovering who they are as a person. 

 

I'm sure it will come.

 

I'm not surprised that schools give little support on this.  To be honest they probably have very little expertise in other areas.  But encouragement doesn't cost anything :)

 

Good luck - they will find their paths when the time is right.

 

 

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49 minutes ago, glowlight said:

Giving up your dream of a career in dance is a major life change for a young person, and shouldn't be rushed.  Especially if it is something that isn't purely their choice. 

 

Maybe rather than rushing in to what do chose next, a little down time to give them space and clarity is what they need.

 

A few months at home, working in local shops/cafes if they are lucky.  Doing  normal teenage things.  Discovering who they are as a person. 

 

I'm sure it will come.

 

I'm not surprised that schools give little support on this.  To be honest they probably have very little expertise in other areas.  But encouragement doesn't cost anything :)

 

Good luck - they will find their paths when the time is right.

 

 

 

I agree, glowlight - there’s often a large element of grieving for a lost dream, which shouldn’t be brushed aside.  Counselling can be beneficial, or even just acknowledging it and letting the child/young person process their feelings of sadness and loss.  

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46 minutes ago, glowlight said:

Giving up your dream of a career in dance is a major life change for a young person, and shouldn't be rushed.  Especially if it is something that isn't purely their choice. 

 

Maybe rather than rushing in to what do chose next, a little down time to give them space and clarity is what they need.

 

A few months at home, working in local shops/cafes if they are lucky.  Doing  normal teenage things.  Discovering who they are as a person. 

 

I'm sure it will come.

 

I'm not surprised that schools give little support on this.  To be honest they probably have very little expertise in other areas.  But encouragement doesn't cost anything :)

 

Good luck - they will find their paths when the time is right.

 

 

Covid gave my Dd time away from full time ballet for the first time in 8 years. Ballet was her first thought/worry of the day and her last. Every action/meal etc was executed in the pursuit of ballet. Is there any wonder these children have an identity crisis when they believe that being a dancer is all that they are. When you eventually step away and look at it from outside the bubble you realise how crazy it all was and what you have sacrificed for a dream. 
The teachers we found are not only not experienced in guiding the dc onto other paths when they so choose, they are not very good at guiding them with a ballet career either 😒 

In the 8 years of training and all the parent/student/teacher meetings we attended there was only one occasion that we felt there was honesty about Dd and the reality of a ballet career. I mentioned it yesterday and Dd had exactly the same moment in her memory too 😊 Dd knew deep down that she just wasn’t good enough, that she wasn’t the cream of the crop, not special enough as she put it and she needed someone to confirm this. This teacher was the only one that supported Dd in choosing another path. 
I totally agree that they will all find their path when the time is right. All we can do as parents is be there to pick up the pieces 🤗 and the bill 😂 

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1 hour ago, glowlight said:

Giving up your dream of a career in dance is a major life change for a young person, and shouldn't be rushed.  Especially if it is something that isn't purely their choice. 

 

Maybe rather than rushing in to what do chose next, a little down time to give them space and clarity is what they need.

 

A few months at home, working in local shops/cafes if they are lucky.  Doing  normal teenage things.  Discovering who they are as a person. 

 

I'm sure it will come.

 

I'm not surprised that schools give little support on this.  To be honest they probably have very little expertise in other areas.  But encouragement doesn't cost anything :)

 

Good luck - they will find their paths when the time is right.

 

 

This is absolutely spot on. My dd left the ballet world  depressed, anxious and quite frankly broken. I was as lost as she was - I’m a problem solver by nature and there was nothing I could do 😭

Bit by bit she found her way , a 2nd stint at ballet - mistake!! Working in a local hotel which helped a bit as she was given positive encouragement . The breakthrough came when she went away for a ski season , again working in a hotel , this led to a job with the same group on her return. Still not out of the woods in terms of happiness ; this came in the form of a 2nd ski season where her mojo returned and she “found” the person who wasn’t the broken dancer.

while away she completed an online diploma in digital marketing. On her return she secured an apprenticeship in the same and , I’m so proud to say, has just secured a position with an international boat company doing the same.

please let her take as much time as she needs, there may well be a couple (or more of false starts, there maybe depression and anxiety and anger - these have to be worked through , god willing your daughter will emerge stronger and more beautiful than you can imagine right now . I wish her and you all the best. If you want to message me and chat , I’m here .

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Ive loved reading everyone’s replies, thank you. I was thinking the same giving dd a break after grad and not rushing into anything. I’m sure there will be lots of grieving as mentioned eg anxiety depression anger etc. It will be interesting actually because dd has been through all of them emotions caused by ballet so stepping back I’m thinking will allow her to heal. I guess time will tell and we are going to embrace this hell of a journey! 

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Just to add, from the perspective of someone teaching at a university, there is nothing wrong with encouraging your DC to slow down a bit. Gap years are great! And might be quite important for those moving from the intensity of a vocational dance training into other areas.

 

I've been teaching for over 30 years, and what I increasingly see is hothoused anxious driven young people. Current secondary school education is an over-examined treadmill of benchmarks, tests, assessments - SATS start at age 5 nowadays, don't they?

 

We try to get our students to slow down a bit, to stretch out a bit, and to breathe and take a look around them. We've toyed with making our entire first year a Pass/Fail assessment (first year marks in our degree don't "count" to the final degree grade) just to take some pressure off the constant 'grade grubbing' that they've faced since the start of their school lives.

 

It's about prioritising education over schooling, if you see what I mean ... Lives are long (we hope!) and although for young people it all seems urgent and desperate, we can help these talented people by encouraging them to slow down and take the time to work out what they really want.

 

Edited to add: it's apparently a well-known phenomenon that many young people go through something like a second adolescence in their late teens/early 20s (sort of 7 year cycles). So there is a further bout of self-questioning, emotional ups and downs and so on. Sometimes young people are diagnosed with depression at this age - I  often wonder if that's not just a consequence of the young person under pressure, and going through this final stage of growth into physical/biological adulthood - the brain takes until early 20s to mature, for example.

 

So some sort of thrashing about looking for life's meaning and purpose seems to be a common experience of the late teens/early 20s, for many young people, not just dancers. 

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Kate I couldn’t agree more about taking time: both that it is necessary and that it is very possible. (We are colleagues in the broader sense and maybe in the same institution I think from one of your earlier posts though in very different disciplines). I’ve seen this up close with my son who stepped out of university after his first year, took a year out, and went back a transformed character: so focused, so happy. Same course but a totally different student.

Do agree about the rush to achieve the (perceived and artificial) success of grade grubbing, instead of understanding and maturing. And so important: enjoying. I think it indicative  of these wrong approaches to education that online learning has been deemed an appropriate substitute for the university experience which it so very much isn’t, however high quality it often has been. Content coverage completed, marks achieved, everything else lacking. 
So yes, gap years are great and young people excited and curious about the adventure of life is what we should be encouraging. Young dancers are equipped with so many skills for their new adventures, but learning to slow down is a good one to add to their impressive repertoire.

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Can’t comment about ballet schools but I think schools in general need to up their game with careers guidance. As early as 16 you’re plotting your future course with a level choices and there is very little help

and advice needed. I’ve discovered so many careers since I did my degree that sound amazing but I’d have to do the whole lot again, sure I’m not the only one who feels like this!

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I couldn't agree more with the whole concept of stepping off the carousel at the age of 18 (or whatever) and taking time out.  Doesn't need to be a gap year as such, but just having time to think about what you really want to do with the rest (or even just the next bit) of your life before you rush headlong into something else.  I always recommend (except possibly for those who want to become doctors - it takes long enough as it is) not going straight to university or equivalent from school - I really think you benefit more with a couple of years' (or even more) experience of life, and I know that lecturers like having mature students to teach because they have so much more to contribute.

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2 hours ago, Peony said:

Can’t comment about ballet schools but I think schools in general need to up their game with careers guidance. As early as 16 you’re plotting your future course with a level choices and there is very little help

and advice needed. I’ve discovered so many careers since I did my degree that sound amazing but I’d have to do the whole lot again, sure I’m not the only one who feels like this!

 

DD has just chosen A levels and as part of it,  had to see a careers advisor at school. ( but not a teacher from school,  a 'specialist' from a career advice centre.) 

She said that after A levels she wanted to go to college to study performing arts, and  he said she needed a plan B .... she asked what he would suggest ( looking at her A level choices) and he shrugged and said it was up to her ! She mentioned her thoughts about what else she might do/where she could go to follow those thoughts and he said again 'it was up to her'! So no advice what so ever! Probably because she wasn't wanting to go and be a dr/lawyer/teacher! 

 

Her school teachers have been more use!

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I was told by the careers teacher all

those  years ago to think carefully because my chosen degree was ‘quite hard to get into because Asian families considered it a good choice for their daughters’ 🤯 it doesn’t seem to have improved since then! 

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5 hours ago, Peony said:

Can’t comment about ballet schools but I think schools in general need to up their game with careers guidance. As early as 16 you’re plotting your future course with a level choices and there is very little help

and advice needed. I’ve discovered so many careers since I did my degree that sound amazing but I’d have to do the whole lot again, sure I’m not the only one who feels like this!

I agree - and it hasn't changed much since my so-called career advice when I was at school all those decades ago!

 

The thing is... that school career advisers are usually teaching staff. And most of them have left school, gone to university, qualified and gone back to school again to teach. There aren't all that many whose eyes have been opened to the wider world outside, and maybe they just don't know what's out there.

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I seem to recall that I did some sort of careers selection test when I was at school: the profession I'm now in wasn't even one of the options mentioned!  (I also did a computer programming aptitude test at uni and got an "A": this was only because the test was totally incapable of assessing a candidate's interest in the subject :) !)

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Did anyone try the careers tool that the government put on line last year? 

 

I came out as 'Brewer' or 'Author'.  Neither of these is anywhere close to what I do now.  

 

As some as you know I aspire to the second, and Brewing sounds fun, but I'm not sure that it was really very accurate!

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1 hour ago, glowlight said:

Did anyone try the careers tool that the government put on line last year? 

 

I came out as 'Brewer' or 'Author'.  Neither of these is anywhere close to what I do now.  

 

As some as you know I aspire to the second, and Brewing sounds fun, but I'm not sure that it was really very accurate!

 

That test was hilarious.  One of mine was “Professional Athlete”, which those of you who have met me in real life would fall over laughing at! 😆

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My dd graduates this year and unlike some has an idea of what she wants to do if she cannot get a dance job, she has a passion for history and it came down to the wire whether it was dance or history and chose dance as it’s more age/ time constrictive. I’m sure she would happily now do a history degree but has no a levels and has already used her degree funding. She will be qualified as a RAD teacher this summer so that is something .  She wants to do contemporary rather than ballet but don’t think that path is any easier 

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It is now several years since DD graduated.  She started a trainee/apprenticeship abroad but had a knee injury and came home.  Pysiotherapy didn't resolve it and she had to have an operation, this was via NIDMS.  It took quite a long time between scans, seeing Consultants and having the operation booked.  During this time she got involved with a good amateur drama theatre.  The operation was a success and she could have got back into dance training, but she said she felt she had "moved on". 

 

Learning "on the job" in small theatres, she is now a self-employed Theatre technician and although times were tough last summer, she has been almost constantly legally employed since last September on outdoor refurbishments, and venue hires for professionals to film videos etc.   She is very happy with her life and says she has no regrets at all about her years of dance training, even though she went through some tough times at Vocational school.  She feels would not have ended where she is now if she had taken a different fork in the road at any time.

 

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