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Inferiority Complex!


Clara
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My dd is a keen dancer and having danced myself I am aware that she is quite nice. However, I feel like I’m starting to develop an inferiority complex on her behalf! The more I read on here, the more aware I become of the fact that so many other children of her age seem to be leaps and bounds ahead of her. I have read numerous threads about primary school age children on inter-foundation level ballet, 11/12 year olds en pointe and lots of very talented children of a similar age who are various ballet scholars and associates. My dd is 10 and only on grade 3. (This being the same level as most children of a similar age at the dance school she attends.) She is quite adamant that she wants to pursue a career in dance but isn’t sure which route as yet. I let her audition for NYB for the first time this year and she has a recall at the end of April which she is very excited about and I’m extremely proud of her for making the final set of auditions, but I can’t help but feel like I’m throwing her into the lion’s den with children who will be so much more experienced and advanced than her. I want to give her opportunities and I want her to believe in herself…..but how much should I prepare her for the fact that she is a little fish in a big pond?! I partly want to let her experience lots of auditions to see how she gets on but I don’t want to give her false hope either. I know you will probably say I’m over thinking it….. but it’s hard not to get despondent when you see what other incredible things children are achieving by comparison! It makes me really confused and unsure what route is best for her! :wacko: 

 



 

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It sounds like your DD is right on track. Most DCs and /or their parents have an inferiority complex - it's part of the perfectionist qualities and commitment required to make it in ballet - there are always better dancers.Advanced grades at a young age do not guarantee better dancers or future success.Each dancer needs to forge their own path at the rate that is right for them and their families and enjoy the journey as very few of them are going to make it .

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Thank you celb. I have been honest with her and told her it's a difficult profession to make it in, so she sensibly said that maybe she could teach dance in schools if she doesn't make it as a dancer! But in the same breath, I guess I have to let her experience new things including audition successes and disappointments before she finds her niche and knows what she is realistically capable of achieving!

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Hi,

My DD did her grade 3 last Dec at age 11 (shes oldest in her class, others being 10 or 11). 

Although I try not to compare, I think its natural that you do, as you want the best for your child(ren).  DD also has friends on higher grades at other dance schools, and some that do scholars/associates. 

I know that DD is a good dancer, and have been told that she has potential.  I can see that she is making progress and always gets good exam scores, but most importantly she is happy and enjoying what she is doing.

Going slower through the grades may ensure that she develops better technique and the strength required to do the harder steps later on.

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Comparing the grades and various levels has nothing to do with "quality."

 

Everyone has an individual quality - persona - aura - whatever you want to call it.  This is not quantitative - and difficult to assess - but we know it when we see it.

 

Don't think about the numbers - the grades.  Think about the enjoyment your child derives from what she is doing and have her focus on that, too.  Too much of this numbers business, I think, subtracts from simply enjoying the journey - the sense of learrning and even the sense of progress. 

 

Getting a top grade is no guarantee of anything.  Someone else who has never done graded work may very well be just as technically accomplished. 

 

In the end, it is not technique which is going to capture the eye. 

 

Whatever road your child travels upon - make sure there is a Plan B - that she aware of the reality of the situation - and then you've done your best to prepare her/him.  Our children our going to meet obstacles some of which can be overcome ad some just come with the territoryand while our hearts may cry for them - that's life.  In the end we just have to stand back and watch the choices they make.   

 

Don't feel inferior - that solves nothing and will transmit to her and she doesn't need that.  Be excited for her - be "there" for her even when all you can offer is a hug.  A hug is a big thing.  How many people in our lives hug us with sincere love? 

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Hi my dd is 11 and grade 2 in ballet but got a place as a Junior Associate last year with the Royal Ballet School which was a huge surprise to us. She is quite a way behind most of her other JA's in her year 6 class but she certainly gives it her all and loves every minute of it! I do worry that she doesn't do enough ballet or that she isn't a high enough standard but I think it doesn't really matter if they are enjoying what they do and making an improvement. There will always be someone whose dd went on pointe before anyone else and those that have done higher grades but it is getting a good grounding and correct technique that is important rather than racing through the grades. The other life skills my dd is learning are more important such as learning a skill, being disciplined to practice, accepting life's knock backs and learning that you aren't necessarily the best at something. The last thing I would want is for her to churn out the grades too quickly and her technique suffer and then the enjoyment of dancing be lost. If its true that Darcey Bussell started dancing at 13 then if its meant be that they have a career in dance they will! Does she take any other styles of dancing at the moment?

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That's definitely very reassuring to hear Balletgirlsplease, and your dd has obviously still done exceptionally well! DD has had ballet classes from a young age but also started modern and tap about a year and a half ago. She struggles a little more with the tap (but still enjoys it) and loves modern. Thankfully unlike me when I was younger (I always told my Mum I'd failed every audition and exam.....despite doing well!) My dd is confident and thrives on performing. Even her first proper audition for NYB she came out of happy and smiling as though she'd just been on stage! I know inevitably she will face disappointments along the way, but she's so full of hope and enthusiasm I just don't want to see that confidence knocked as I admire that in her so much as it's something I never really had!

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Canadian trolling here....

My daughter started at a professional school at age 11 and was not in advance levels by any means. Other girls who auditioned could do tricks by the buckets and they were not accepted into her program.

Her school does not look for what they have been taught but what they CAN be taught and they are looking for their potential to be a professional dancer. The ability to be trained and to acheive flawless technique is more important then 'levels'.

I would assume this to be true for professional schools everywhere.

Musicality, physique and passion. I think that's the ticket to going the distance.

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Thank you audsjcanuck, what you have said is completely true and makes perfect sense......it's just sometimes a little unnerving when I see and read of such as advanced young dancers (For me, thankfully not dd, she just takes it all in her stride!)

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BGP, Darcey started ballet as a little girl; she got into White Lodge at 13 when she realised that was what she wanted to do. Before that she was at the Arts Ed school in Chiswick.

 

Grades i.e. the actual exams are not important. What is important however is the content of what your child is doing. Part of being good at ballet is progressing with technique and the grade you are working at is often an indicator of this. I would be concerned about the training that your ballet teacher is providing if your dd is 11 and only grade 2. It doesn't matter at JAs but it will matter at MAs. The MAs in my dd's class who went to general performing arts schools where ballet wasn't particularly focused on, soon started to fall behind and many of them ended up changing schools to more serious local ballet schools.

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Clara. I really understand what you are saying. From the mum of a dd who has had lots of disappointments in auditions, I think my advice would be to just let her enjoy it. The time to stop and think is when she is no longer enjoying it or coping with the disappointments. I think it's important to tell our children that it's a tough profession but why should that put them off following a dream? I do sometimes wonder if, knowing what I know now, I would have discouraged my daughter from attending auditions. She has had so much heartache for so little gain. But she, with the wisdom of youth, puts me right on the matter. "look at the places I have been! Look at the experiences I have had. Rejection has made me stronger!" it is a humbly experience for our talented children to realise there are always others as good and better than they are when they leave their small pond and I do believe that is an important life lesson. I have been very humbled reading the very many wonderful stories of success on this forum. Is my own dd as "good" ? No. "does she still bring tears to my eyes when I watch her dance?" Yes, absolutely, every time

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Ja Sm, you're quite right. I know from my own experiences that although  I was one of the best at my own home town dance school when I was younger, I was then only average within the county scholarship scheme (which I still successfully auditioned for), then again; at National level, although fortunate enough to secure a place with NYB on several occasions I was acutely aware that I was at the lower end of the ability pool in that particular situation. I still loved every experience I had and it probably kept my feet securely on the ground knowing that there were always better dancers to admire and aspire to. My daughter is in a similar situation and has always been quite successful locally but I have no idea how she'll compare on a greater scale. I have only recently started considering various avenues for her which involves auditions, so it's quite a new experience, but like I mentioned previously she already has an advantage over me because where I was and still am very self-critical she has far more self-confidence which at the moment I can only see as a good thing because in an exam, show or audition situation she seems to treat them all as a performance which is I guess is at it should be!

Well done to your dd for her determined attitude and perseverance. I think sometimes it's harder on us parents as they're much more resilient when they're younger  and if they love what they do they will continue to bounce back despite the knocks and pitfalls!

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Can only echo everyone else. Grades etc are meaningless for a dance future and career. Every childs body develops at a different rate so pushing too far too fast can have serious negative effects.

Most children have at some time been the big fish esp if they go to vocational school later in life and not at 11. Susccess at festivals seldom translates into a good indication of future success but can be great for giving confidence and performance.

 

Let her enjoy her dance. If it becomes clear she does want to try a career and teachers etc see it as a possibility then my advice is to increase hours of dance as she matures. If you are not even thinking of vocational until 16 this is vital. Keep up as many styles as she enjoys. No-one really knows how a body will develop and sometimes sadly that can be the deciding factor.

 

Doing non syllabus classes is good too. Keep an eye on the grade level but don't become obssessed about it. ( I say this as someone who probably did).10 and grade 3 sounds about right to me for most schools. Being en pointe early is not good and a good dance teacher will look at each individual child.

 

Good luck to you and your daughter and just enjoy. Good luck too with the NYB audition.

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As a teacher I have plenty of 11 year olds at grade 3 level (in terms of working for an exam) and my own ds at aged 10 had only just passed grade 2 when he got into JAS. (Subsequently went into full time training at 11 and is now professional).  And my ds is not the exception- the only "big" school I've never had a pupil at is Elmhurst . (No ones actually auditioned there though!)

 

I am very wary when I hear of youngster already in "higher" grades whilst barely out of primary school as very often it means that they have only been taught the required work in a syllabus to pass an exam at a particular level thus restricting their vocabulary and all round ability to dance.  Likewise I'd be concerned if the reason why a child was still working at a "lower" grade was just because the teacher wants everything to be just so and is only working on steps in that particular grade 

 

Luckily most of the syllabus teachers,( like myself)  that I know and work with are very aware that dance training requires so much more than just churning children throuh exams- the reason why some of our students are, on paper at least. at "lower" grades is because of a variety of reasons, the transition of old to new syllabus exams, the fact that we do big shows and also the fact that we do not start syllabus work on the next stage straight away.

 

Clara it sounds as if you have a very sensible dd and its really good that you've recognised your own very natural parental concerns- yout dd is very lucky to have a parent who will be realistic about the whole dancing journey and of course as an ex dancer yoursel you will know whether the teaching she is getting is a high standard that she is enjoying- far more important than the number of the grade she is at.

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Hi Clara my daughter entered vocational school on lower grades than some her of peers and no festival experience. It has not made any difference at all as they want them trained in their own way/style. I would say that the associate training was really useful preparation though and would recommend your daughter tries for that if she is serious about ballet.x

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Thank you hfbrew. Your post has definitely reassured me and given me peace of mind that dd is progressing at a normal rate. I too don't agree with children being pushed too far too soon but nevertheless when I see or hear of it I can't help but then wonder if dd is behind where she needs to be! At the moment she loves her dancing, is constantly practicing with no need to prompt and receives lovely exam results as well as absolutely thriving on the performance element of dance, so whilst she is enjoying it and wants to do more I think I will just continue to encourage her and seek out new opportunities and auditions. If she does well and is successful then brilliant, and if not she is still achieving and doing well within the classes she has at the moment. (She currently attends ballet, modern, tap and musical theatre lessons).

Well done to you and your ds, a massive achievement for both of you! You must be extremely proud!

Thank you all for the advice, I already feel more relaxed!

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We love our "performing arts" school and wouldn't change for the world! My dd doesn't want to do ballet for a career, maybe dance of some form or musical theatre. At the moment she wants to be a doctor. We will enjoy her dancing opportunities and life skills it teaches her as long as she is enjoying herself and it doesn't take over!

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As a teacher I have plenty of 11 year olds at grade 3 level (in terms of working for an exam) and my own ds at aged 10 had only just passed grade 2 when he got into JAS. (Subsequently went into full time training at 11 and is now professional). And my ds is not the exception- the only "big" school I've never had a pupil at is Elmhurst . (No ones actually auditioned there though!)

 

I am very wary when I hear of youngster already in "higher" grades whilst barely out of primary school as very often it means that they have only been taught the required work in a syllabus to pass an exam at a particular level thus restricting their vocabulary and all round ability to dance. Likewise I'd be concerned if the reason why a child was still working at a "lower" grade was just because the teacher wants everything to be just so and is only working on steps in that particular grade

 

Luckily most of the syllabus teachers,( like myself) that I know and work with are very aware that dance training requires so much more than just churning children throuh exams- the reason why some of our students are, on paper at least. at "lower" grades is because of a variety of reasons, the transition of old to new syllabus exams, the fact that we do big shows and also the fact that we do not start syllabus work on the next stage straight away.

 

Clara it sounds as if you have a very sensible dd and its really good that you've recognised your own very natural parental concerns- yout dd is very lucky to have a parent who will be realistic about the whole dancing journey and of course as an ex dancer yoursel you will know whether the teaching she is getting is a high standard that she is enjoying- far more important than the number of the grade she is at.

That's good to hear! My Dd's syllabus has recently changed and her class weren't ready to do her grade 2 when they were going to so they are doing it later this year. Her school also does festivals and an annual show so they get a different type of experience than exams. I had a discussion with my daughters dance teacher about her progression in ballet when she got into JA's and she has since let her join in with a grade 3 ballet class (at no charge) and really focused on her ballet in her private lesson. So her exam level isn't a true reflection of her technical ability. And her teacher who is a really good teacher in my opinion, cares about my daughter as a whole person sorting out some worries she was having about friendship groups and having her in on a Sunday for extra lessons at no charge on her day off! She also has my other daughter on a Saturday (as a 'helper') so she doesn't miss her classes which start whilst we are at my other daughters JA's. I'm not sure any other dance school would have been so supportive of us as a family and my Dd as a dancer!!!

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BGP, that's great to hear, it mirroors our experience almost exactly! There are some great, supportive teachers out there!

Thanks so much got letting me know that!! It's lovely isn't it!! I could whip my daughter out of the school and send her to a purely ballet school but I'd never get wht we get now, she'd be devastated and it would put a real downer on her dancing. And what for?? She has never mentioned being a dancer as a career so we are keeping our feet firmly on the ground. It is really easy to see how you do get an inferiority complex!!!

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Clara.  My daughter is 12 and only on grade 4 ballet, but she also does tap, musical theatre, modern and contemporary, and is at a imilar level in all.  Although ballet is her first love she is happy with all types of dancing and I wouldn't change that.  She also is on grade 5 singing and grade 4 drama.

 

You can't compare children in anything as they all have different levels and interests.  Just be happy that your child is happy and doing what she wants to do.

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