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prancer

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Because it is a good topic for discussion, I will open a thread for keeping perspective as a dance parent. Go!
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prancer

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I have a few thoughts about maintaining perspective as a dance parent:

Don’t spend more time or energy on Dance than your child does. Follow their lead.

If you are resenting Dance, then something is probably wrong - figure out what it is. Are you spending too much? Having family conflicts because of Dance? Feel like you aren’t getting what you pay for? Etc. Evaluate what the problem is and make an adjustment.

Remember Dance is not a race to see who can do the most the fastest.

Keep perspective as the parent of young children, that many of those kids will lose interest in Dance.

And, I’m trying to figure out how to say this nicely, remember that for all but one person, there is someone better than your dancer out there. And that genuine best dancer will be your dancer’s competition for a job someday. Basically don’t get overinvested about successes at young ages, or in lower divisions, or at less prestigious comps, all of these things are nice, but they don’t determine the worth of your child, nor predict a dance career.

Finally let Dance be a fun activity to share with your child - enjoy the drives to and from Dance, and the comp weekends, and the pointe shoe fittings, etc. These will be lifelong memories for your child - make them good memories. If you as the parent are pushing too hard, criticizing, or having power struggles about Dance, take a step back.

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jamquint1

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Reply with quote  #3 
Echoing what irishdear posted, I have two dancers, ages 7 and 8. My 8 yo just started dancing; my 7 yo dancing since age 3 (or what could be perceived as "dancing" at age 3 haha)  My daughter is at the studio a fair amount- 7-9 hours a week. She genuinely likes being there. She does fairly well at competitions, but I have no idea if she has natural ability or if her doing well at her age/level is solely based on hard work, because she is a very hard worker. I'm curious if as she gets older, if she does not have much natural talent, she will lose interest due to that or maybe continue to dance for enjoyment. Her studio asks that they practice their solos on non-studio days. My job is to remind her, because 7, but if she whines or puts up a fuss, I don't make her. It's her dance, not mine. 
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prancer

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I’m looking forward to what other posters say, but I think if your dancer is happy with her time spent dancing and it is a manageable for your family, then you are buying hours of enjoyment.

As far as what to make of talent in a young dancer: I’ve seen great young dancers never advance, not so great young dancers become beautiful, good dancers stay good, and bad dancers stay bad, and I’ve seen one passionate prodigy continue on a clear path to a professional career barring injury or illness.

I can say none of these dancers went on to great without excellent training, I can’t say much about early success as a predictor of future success for most dancers.
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dancelivelovelaugh

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I feel there are so many life lessons that have been learned in this dance journey.  Overall, there have been so many positives, especially when there have been negatives.  It's like life and that quote you see often, "you can't change other people, but you can change your reactions to them."

It is profoundly true, especially when jealousies arise.  Jealousy is something I did not grow up with because we were very poor and my family raised me to believe that this is the greatest country in the world, and that I can achieve anything, if I put my mind to it, so never be envious of other's wealth or what is perceived better in their lives, because I have opportunities that I can create something similar for myself, if that is what I dream of. And throughout the years, I have found my own success, along with the happiness of family, which is the greatest wealth you can truly achieve. I have felt much pain in my younger life, with tragedies that were beyond my control, so I feel the intensity of emotions that come from the depth of pain, to fully appreciate the wonderful happiest of life, so I cherish any given moment that allows for joy.

Perhaps, that's one of the things I enjoy about dancers, not being one myself.  I love how they help me feel all of those emotions as their bodies are the canvas where their movements draw me into feeling the beauty of all the emotions.

The greatest balance as a dance parent is to be a parent and allow your dancer to create her/ his own artistry, may it be recreationally, competitively, or professionally.  Allow them to take ownership of their own canvass.  Allow them to do it leisurely or intensely, but give them the choice to find their own path.

Life is too short to always contemplate what the future may bring.  Cherish those steps she or he takes, because each one does matter, but never forget what it feels like to skip along with them in pure abandon and to feel what it's like to fully embrace life.



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sglemon

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It's my DD career, her journey, not mine.  I was a competitive gymnastics mom to 2 girls and have come full circle.  Children need to do their activity because they want to, not because I want them too.  I am completely hands off, other than playing taxi, writing checks, doing my required volunteering and showing up to performances.  She is so far beyond any knowledge I have about ballet, I could not add anything positive.
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Lpr3

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I try to remind myself that it's okay to say no -- no to my daughter who would take every class they offered if I let her and be there 7 days a week, no to the dance studio who wants her to add another competition line, no to the extra private just because someone else is doing it, no to the extra competition because I don't feel like being tied up for another weekend, no just because something is too expensive.  I'm not depriving her of a life long dream.  She's a great dancer with a lot of passion, but she's young and she has her whole life to be completely tied up in dance.  She can practice as much as she wants at home.  No need to overdo it now.  
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jujusmom

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At the end of the day, only you and your family can answer this question.  What works and is right for one family will not work or be right for another.  In all our years of dance, I have seen moms take it to levels I didn't know existed and sometimes it worked.  I am a mom who went a little over the top at the beginning of this dance thing (my dancer did not start competing until 6th grade and even then it has been a mostly slow and steady kind of thing), but I quickly learned that didn't work for me, my dancer or my family.  Now I'm the mom who steers the financial ship and lets my dancer dictate her future.  This is her dream, not mine.  Once I came to this realization the stress, worry and drama melted away for me and I'm a much happier mama.

One thing I have learned is that there is no one indicator of future or long-term success.  One dancer's definition of success is different from another's definition which makes trying to predict the future even murkier.  Enjoy the ride... whether it is as a hobby, their future dream or simply because it will give you memories that you will only share with your dancer.  Enjoy it without the drama, stress about things you can't control or whether your dancer has long-term potential... because you will blink and it will be over.  
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heidi459

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I'm all about perspective... use the term often.  And when my dd was younger that meant not getting caught up in it all... because I understood that in the big picture it didn't matter.  But as she got older & decided that she wanted to pursue a professional performance career? I understood that, in the bigger picture, she could not reach her full potential without my guidance.  So these last several yrs... yeah, I've been a huge part of this journey.  We're pretty much a team at this point & I don't regret a single minute.  It may be "her" journey but she's still just a kid w/limited life experience. I could never have just sat back & allowed her to find her own way.... just crossed my fingers that she'd be lucky enough to get it right.  That's not being a helicopter mom imo.  That's just being a mom 😉
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huckitvt

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Reply with quote  #10 
Thank you for all of your posts!  I realized a few weeks ago that I've become a crazy person in this dance world.  I've gotten so wrapped up not just in private lessons, solos, stretching at home etc. etc. but following competition results even when we're not competing.  I got to a point where I realized that I'm putting more effort in than my DD.  I took a huge step back, after arguing with her after class one night last week (prepointe- I think she should be working at home every day on her feet and she's not that into it).  We talked about it the next day and I apologized and said she's going to drive this thing.  I will be supportive and glue on rhinestones and encourage her to do things I think she will be happy she did if she decides to dance after high school (like stretch at home) but I'm not going to force it.  She told me she wants to try track and I found a rec program that starts in April (and it's only FORTY DOLLARS!!!) she'll have to miss some, of course, because of dance year end concert and nationals but it's something she wants to try.  And she dropped her Saturday classes (which are super important to me) stretch and turns and leaps.
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rubydancemom

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Reply with quote  #11 
This year marks our turning point. We have spent time really analyzing what is worth it and what is not. I have found that dance, while it has been great for DD's confidence, has also sucked up time she would like to spend pursuing other interests and with friends. She does not want to give up any training, but she also wants more free time on weekends and to be able to join the clubs at school that interest her and her friends. For us, that means comp has got to go. She has been at the studio every evening (except Fridays) and every Saturday and some Sundays since holiday break. That makes it hard to have a social life outside the studio.

We also have a team that goes to pretty small comps where we have a better chance of placing. That isn't what is important to DD. She would rather go to a convention, dance all weekend and see amazing dancers that inspire her. I would prefer to have control of when those weekends are, rather than having to go to away on a weekend that isn't good for us, but works best for everyone else. So, while this will be a shock to her team, this is DD's last year competing with them. I think she'll be much happier with the new balance, she will see her friends more, and we can schedule her at conventions that work with our schedule. 
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by prancer
Because it is a good topic for discussion, I will open a thread for keeping perspective as a dance parent. Go!


And I promise I won't delete it!
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dancelivelovelaugh

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Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459
I'm all about perspective... use the term often.  And when my dd was younger that meant not getting caught up in it all... because I understood that in the big picture it didn't matter.  But as she got older & decided that she wanted to pursue a professional performance career? I understood that, in the bigger picture, she could not reach her full potential without my guidance.  So these last several yrs... yeah, I've been a huge part of this journey.  We're pretty much a team at this point & I don't regret a single minute.  It may be "her" journey but she's still just a kid w/limited life experience. I could never have just sat back & allowed her to find her own way.... just crossed my fingers that she'd be lucky enough to get it right.  That's not being a helicopter mom imo.  That's just being a mom 😉


Heidi, based on all the posts you have posted where I have read them, I always feel you guide your DD as a mom, not a dance mom.   And I am not being negative towards dance moms by any means. If you ever get a chance, I would like you to pm me about your DD not going the college route.  My DD is a HS freshman, youngest in her grade, and trying to think about which route she should go.  
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Dancingdd

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Reply with quote  #14 
I have learned to have perspective. She will most likely not be a professional dancer but loves dancing. So it’s ok if a class is skipped once in a few months I see moms at my studio getting all caught up in it and paying and driving to summer Intensives at 11 years old. And talking about their young daughters becoming pro ballerinas. Yes it could happen but it’s important to know what that entails. You can’t just love to dance. You have to look at your aspiring pro with it pains meeyes and maybe be brave and ask their teachers what they think. When I see the kids at YAGP the good ones I mean, and I see our kids, well let’s just say you need more than a love of dance to be amazing at it.
So I have learned to encourage my child’s love of dance by letting her take as many hours as she can handle (we dropped 2 classes in sept because it was too much and it was apparent to her right away and the decision was hers). I send her to dance camp. I make sure she has the proper shoes etc. and I take it as seriously as she does which is more serious than others and also way less serious than others. It pains me to see kids with parents completely uninterested. I mean if you’re paying thousands of dollars a year at least show a little interest. And then there is the one or two mothers that push their child and are constantly on top of them and all the joy is sucked out of these kids.
Anyway having perspective is so important and for me it has come late but now I have regained my sanity.
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Motherhem

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lpr3
I try to remind myself that it's okay to say no -- no to my daughter who would take every class they offered if I let her and be there 7 days a week, no to the dance studio who wants her to add another competition line, no to the extra private just because someone else is doing it, no to the extra competition because I don't feel like being tied up for another weekend, no just because something is too expensive.  I'm not depriving her of a life long dream.  She's a great dancer with a lot of passion, but she's young and she has her whole life to be completely tied up in dance.  She can practice as much as she wants at home.  No need to overdo it now.  


I love this Lpr3!
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dmjrm4

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Reply with quote  #16 
Great topic.  Our dance journey has been very slow until recently.  I was a laid back mom of a rec dancer from the time DD was 2 through 11.  She moved from rec to competition dance at her mediocre studio for 12 and 13 years old.  She then moved to an uber strong, on speed, competition studio for the last two years and is moving ahead like she is on fire.  I'm still running behind trying to catch up [crazy]   I can't believe how much my perspective has changed, I say and do things now that I would have never dreamed of a few years ago (i.e.  My DD will never wear those two piece outfits, My DD will not dance 25 hours per week, Our family will not all be slaves to DD's dance schedule, We are not the type of family that goes to 7 dance conventions per year, My DD is not a good enough dancer to compete at The Dance Awards-we're not at that level, Our family will not spend $20K on our DD's dance per year, on and on and on).  I see the joy and and commitment my kid has toward this activity and I keep adjusting and growing to match her stride.  As long as we can afford it, then I am in for the ride, because as others have said, it will be over in the blink of an eye, and I am her number one supporter. She inspires me every single day in how she pursues excellence in dance and she teaches me about passion (like I have never known about any activity).  Lots of perspective changes for me over the last two years, but no regrets.  I have three and half years left until she graduates high school, so I'm buckled in for the ride.
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nodrama15

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Reply with quote  #17 
We will be taking a step back next year.  We switched studios this year, and while the instruction is much better and I know comp results will be better, my dd just isn't as in to it.  I think she liked being the big fish in a small pond. I am not seeing the drive I think she should have for all of the time and money we are spending.  She is 11, and very social.  She wants to have more down time and time with friends.  She will still dance comp....but we are likely going to the minimum requirements. 
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Mitzy

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Reply with quote  #18 
My daughter is a professional dancer. She supports herself without a second job. Well, most of the time. Keeping perspective? I don't know. The path is very intense and can be very emotionally charged. I'm just being honest when I say I'm still working on it. I knew without any doubt that she was very talented from the time she was about 8, but there have still been many ups and downs. She only attended 2 schools - comp studio and then prestigious ballet school. When I look back, the things I worried about when she was little seem minor. On the other hand, many of the girls who excelled as little ones are the same ones dancing professionally now. I think that if your child has the drive and talent, a few missteps will not derail him or her. My d has now achieved the goal of being paid to do what she loves, but she still has other goals to work towards, inside and outside of the dance world.
Dance has taken a lot of time and energy (and money$) from the family, but we don't regret it. It has also been very rewarding and fun! I have always maintained my own interests outside of dance and parenting, and my daughter has also maintained interests outside of dance. Most importantly, we spend time together on things that have nothing to do with dance. I know that can be difficult when so much time and money already allocated to dancing, but it's very worthwhile, in fact, essential.
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dmjrm4

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitzy
My daughter is a professional dancer. She supports herself without a second job. Well, most of the time. Keeping perspective? I don't know. The path is very intense and can be very emotionally charged. I'm just being honest when I say I'm still working on it. I knew without any doubt that she was very talented from the time she was about 8, but there have still been many ups and downs. She only attended 2 schools - comp studio and then prestigious ballet school. When I look back, the things I worried about when she was little seem minor. On the other hand, many of the girls who excelled as little ones are the same ones dancing professionally now. I think that if your child has the drive and talent, a few missteps will not derail him or her. My d has now achieved the goal of being paid to do what she loves, but she still has other goals to work towards, inside and outside of the dance world.
Dance has taken a lot of time and energy (and money$) from the family, but we don't regret it. It has also been very rewarding and fun! I have always maintained my own interests outside of dance and parenting, and my daughter has also maintained interests outside of dance. Most importantly, we spend time together on things that have nothing to do with dance. I know that can be difficult when so much time and money already allocated to dancing, but it's very worthwhile, in fact, essential.


So great to hear your perspective, thanks for sharing with us!
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Inspiredby3

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nodrama15
We will be taking a step back next year.  We switched studios this year, and while the instruction is much better and I know comp results will be better, my dd just isn't as in to it.  I think she liked being the big fish in a small pond. I am not seeing the drive I think she should have for all of the time and money we are spending.  She is 11, and very social.  She wants to have more down time and time with friends.  She will still dance comp....but we are likely going to the minimum requirements. 


My younger daughter who is 10 seems very similar to yours. Dance team has been much about the social aspect and having fun with friends but I don’t see a huge passion for Dance. She likes it and has fun but is not very focused about practicing or improving. We have had a negative experience with Dance last year with bullying and new studio this year with a drill sergeant owner, and that has sucked out the fun out if it for her and now she doesn’t really want to dance. She went to a Dance convention last weekend that we signed up for months before and for the first time in a long time she had fun dancing. She really enjoyed hip hop and now want to do that. I’m realizing that we should have gone the music route with her as she always responded strongly to music and has a really good ear. She just followed in her older sisters footsteps, but don’t think it’s really her thing. And that’s totally ok. She loves the violin she’s learning at school and now started teaching herself the ukulele and has always had a nice voice. I’ll start her with voice and instrument lessons.
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NCKDAD

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Reply with quote  #21 
Ok... either this isn't the first thread like this or a lot was deleted from the first time I browsed through. 

My balance as a dance parent is going to be totally different than any one else's, etc... in fact my balance as a dance mom for one child (yes, name says dad but it is mom typing now- we share the account) is entirely different than my balance for the others. 

Both are talented... only one truly loves dance. It is probably the one who has had to work harder for everything, but from her first dance class something special has been there and noticed by every teacher she has ever had. So with her, I wouldn't say I push more but I point out little things more and we have different discussions and plans. 

For me the balance lies in being around and in tune with what is going on but also having distance. I have seen enough change at the studio to know that while I have fun with the other parents, etc, they are not my friends. If we were to stop dancing tomorrow, I suspect 90% of them I wouldn't really talk to ever again. So we have our lives and our friends outside of dance and although we don't see them as much as if we weren't spending so much time at dance it is enough. I have more than one child with more than one activity so dance isn't our world but this time of year it for sure takes precedence. 

I don't listen to anyone else. If I need to know what is going on I go straight to the SO. We have been there long enough to have those conversations straightforward and fast. SHe knows I would help her in a heart beat and I know the same, but I am not going to kiss her ass.

TO find my balance as a dance mom I had to learn about dance. And I still have to keep learning. I had to make sense of it all before I could find where it fit with me, etc. I help because I like to. I can rhinestone like a boss and we have built props I didn't even know we would be capable of building. 

This being said, my kids have mostly steered the ship, but we have guided and will continue to guide. It is something we all sort of drive together.  It is like the little kid race cars at Disney... she can steer it, but we are the rail underneath guiding it so it doesn't ever go too far off course lol 
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