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Life after ballet


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Reading this thread is so hard that these students have to go through such turmoil unsupported by their schools. 

 

I have to say our family have always had the back up chats as I worry so much about the chance of a job when they graduate. DS is at Tring and we received emails last week that the kids will have an app for career guidance (not dance related) as it is always drummed into them all that they need back up choices. The university routes that the ones who choose not to go on and continue the vocational route is always celebrated. So many varied careers that the students all seem to go and pursue. Shows that there is more to life than a vocational career.

 

Still such a long road for the DC to walk that all we can do is support as best we can. At least our DC have had the chance and talent to pursue for as long as they did.

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I just wanted to add my views coming from an ex vocational student that went all the way through and graduated, but did not gain/pursue a dance career.

Most students will suffer from an identity crisis, myself included, and it is incredibly difficult to deal with! I found my self esteem regarding self belief and body image was crushed, and counselling proved very beneficial for that.

I’ve also had a couple of years out to re-study (I personally didn’t feel as though vocational school gave me the right qualifications to pursue what I’ve chosen to do) and I’ve also worked in little jobs in shops locally. If you can do this (I gather it’s a bit difficult atm given the shortage of jobs due to Covid) it’s a great thing to do. Not only will it give you a routine, but it’ll put so much into perspective. You may find “normal” friends as I did - far less bitchy than many of the individuals that I mingled with over the course of my seven year vocational journey! Also a great time to do driving tests if you haven’t done so already 😜 

It’s also completely fine not to rush into a plan b. I’m actually quite pleased I took the time to arrive at the decision I did. Having pursued ballet from such a tender age it can be all consuming and I really wasn’t all that clear as to what my other interests really were.

As for vocational schools the support just really wasn’t there. The concept of “plan b” was mentioned occasionally in passing, but no real focus on it. We had one talk with ex dancers/students who pursued a plan b, but confusingly they only brought in individuals who went into another dance related job! 

Most of my year wish that our teachers had been more honest and transparent with all of us. We all knew it was a tough world, but I think the vast majority of us were given false hope. It’s a tricky thing to tell a young person who has so much passion and dedication, and you always want to try and see how far they can take that. However, as dance jobs are increasingly few and far between I really do think it is the “creme de la creme” that make it. 

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Hi everyone just thought to come on here and give an update. Dd tried writing down her strengths, passions etc but keeps coming to me saying I don’t know who I am without ballet. As a parent I provide lots of reassurance it’s just so difficult hearing her say that because obviously she is so much more than the ballet world! There are also more opportunities sprinting up as we edge nearer to grad and she says she almost feels this guilt and worry that she’ll regret it later on if she doesn’t go for these opportunities even though she’s decided she wants to come away from it all. This is definitely a very very tough year! 

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I really feel for your DD @Glissé. Different situation but with some parallels- I've recently had to take early retirement due to ill health, from a role that was a massive part of my entire adult life. I know exactly what she means about not knowing who she is any more as my profession was a huge part of my identity.

Obviously my situation is different, but the best advice I  can give is to keep looking forward and not dwell on things you can't change. I know this sounds a bit drastic but would she consider seeing a counsellor? Talking to someone neutral can be very helpful. They won't tell her what to do but ot might help her find her own answers.

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@Glissé If Dd thinks that pursuing these opportunities will bring her happiness, I’d say go for it. If not, be sure not to let anyone make you feel guilty for the decisions you take. I do think now more than ever it is important to secure a strong idea of plan b. 
I completely relate to how she is feeling, especially considering you enter into ballet at such a young age and it is expected to become what you live and breathe. I would really recommend not rushing into ideas of what other interests Dd may have. Take a little time, have casual conversations about it. 
I had a rough idea that I wanted to pursue university level education when I had enough of ballet, yet I thought my only interests were dance based! I found the free courses on the OU website really useful, and selected a couple to do casually in my free time that sounded interesting. I found eventually I kept going back to the law courses and that’s where I’ve decided to take my further studies! I also considered apprenticeships (I remember finding an interesting one working with a jewellery designer) and briefly considered going down a fitness route. I know there’s a few areas that value dance training down the fitness route, particularly barre fitness. So I’d recommend lots of web browsing, books and keeping an open mind! 
Also I wouldn’t really shy away from seeking help with the transition period. I know many of us have sought counselling. You may find that there’s a lot of “such a shame, think of all that time and money invested”, but please do try to ignore this as much as possible. Ultimately it’s about what will make your Dd happy, and surely that’s what should be the main goal in life 😉

 

 

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Tell her I feel her pain. I’m over fifty and I don’t know who I am without children - nor what my strengths and passions are. This comes up throughout our lives and it’s SO OK not to know. Most people don’t have an answer. They start one job, and then just stick in that line regardless of passion or interest. She is still all that she was before - she’s just becoming *more* than only a dancer. 🔥

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23 minutes ago, Pups_mum said:

I know this sounds a bit drastic but would she consider seeing a counsellor? Talking to someone neutral can be very helpful. They won't tell her what to do but ot might help her find her own answers.

Yes she is actually going to be seeing one and I’m hoping this will provide some relief and some answers.

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4 minutes ago, Glissé said:

Yes she is actually going to be seeing one and I’m hoping this will provide some relief and some answers.

That's good. I found it helpful. Just accepting that it's normal to have these feelings and that you're not actually weird or the only one to feel that way is a good start.

It's paradoxically often easier to talk to a stranger than people that are close, so hopefully it will help your DD.

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11 minutes ago, Pups_mum said:

That's good. I found it helpful. Just accepting that it's normal to have these feelings and that you're not actually weird or the only one to feel that way is a good start.

It's paradoxically often easier to talk to a stranger than people that are close, so hopefully it will help your DD.

 

So true.  My DH found the same when he retired at 50 from a career which had been fast paced and high adrenaline.  He had to find a purpose other than career, Husband and Dad and found it *really* difficult.

 

Dd had counselling after she sustained her serious injury and had to leave vocational school.  There were a LOT of different feelings to work through. She gets mentoring (which is basically counselling) via uni now and it’s absolutely invaluable.  I’d always recommend it - not because our children can’t or don’t want to talk to us, but sometimes they have worries or need to talk about things that they don’t want us to worry about.  Telling someone independent who’s paid to listen really takes the pressure off and removes the feeling of being a “burden” or “I can’t tell Mum that in case it hurts her feelings” and so on. 

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