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BallerinaPaisley06

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My daughter has just turned 10.  This fall, she started in a new studio after our previous studio who had a mass exodus and 5 teachers left.  I live in a town of about 65,000 people with three main dance studios.  So, she’s been there since September and getting really good training, especially ballet.  She is really enjoying her classes (ballet, jazz, lyrical and contemporary), and while everyone seemed welcoming at first, now some cattiness and gossiping seems to be starting.  

My daughter, I’m told, is a very good dancer and currently in a level above her peers, where most kids are 11, 12 and 13 and have been together at the studio from the very beginning.  She’s usually always front and center (she’s quite small for a 10 year old and I think looks younger than most so that’s partially why she’s in the front) some featured roles and some partnering.  Not sure if it’s jealousy or what, but some of the girls are talking about her, whispering about here and one actually huffed when she was partnered with her in technique class and now my daughter is not loving dance or wanting to go as much.  She had been talking about going down a level so she can be with her friends next year (three of her best friends from dance have also moved studios).  This is not like my daughter at all.

I’m really trying to be supportive, and have promised not to speak to the SO or AD unless my daughter agrees.  I’m hoping things will get better for her after the Christmas break and once competitions start, that maybe they’ll gel as a group.  Things were so great in the beginning and now, not looking so hot.  I told her to go in to class with her head held high and just dance.

Anyone have any experience and some words of wisdom?  Thanks.

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prancer

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Reply with quote  #2 
I wish there weren't mean girls, but it's hard to avoid them in the middle school years. Some issues might stem from placement jealousy or preexisting long term friendships, but also the difference between barely 10 and 13 is noteworthy. At the last studio, dd was in a class with girls ranging from 10-14 (with similar skills) and the youngest girls often felt somewhat rejected by the group. Some of that was meanness, but lots of it was that the girls didn't have much in common outside of dance. It's nice to train at the proper level, but feeling accepted is nice too. Can your dd still hang around with her same age friends for social fun and dance with those with similar skill? The difference should even out a bit when she gets a little older if it's worth hanging around for.
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diglass

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Reply with quote  #3 
So sorry your daughter is having to deal with this. Your child is in a tough position. It is hard when the new/younger student is getting a lot of attention from the teachers. If she is quite talented this may be something she has to deal with often and for years to come. Yes, telling her to be responsible for her actions, attitude and dancing her best is great advice. Teaching her how to handle herself in these situations is the best you can do. This may be a wonderful time to start an open, ongoing dialog with her so she becomes comfortable talking to you about these issues. She will need your support as she finds her way. There is nothing wrong with her standing up for herself if they are being mean to her directly. Otherwise she may be able to build a mutual support for each other by giving the other girls compliments in class or asking them to demostrate a skill she wants to improve. basicly giving them some positive attention.
My daughter was the youngest (smallest) in the class from about 6 to 12, often dancing with high school girls. At about age 10/11 she began feeling distanced from her friends. Then when we broke off to a private instuctor she became the oldest (most advanced) in the class as the program grew. She and the youngest had always known each other but never danced together. These two (12 and 9)ended up creating a sort of healthy competition that grew into support for each others strengths.They often complimented each other in class/ or after class. They ended up very close after several years. With a lot of confidence, humility and poise they are the 2 still dancing their hearts out on a pro path.
As for the comment of moving to the class her friends are in...I would flip that and say "Maybe they will be moved up to her class next year." But there is no guarantee that the friendship will be the same in dance class. Once they see that your daughter is talented and getting lots of attention they may very well have the same reaction as the other girls. It seems to be what happens in some cases. Hoping things improve for your daughter.


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fishoutofwater

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BallerinaPaisley06

My daughter has just turned 10.  This fall, she started in a new studio after our previous studio who had a mass exodus and 5 teachers left.  I live in a town of about 65,000 people with three main dance studios.  So, she’s been there since September and getting really good training, especially ballet.  She is really enjoying her classes (ballet, jazz, lyrical and contemporary), and while everyone seemed welcoming at first, now some cattiness and gossiping seems to be starting.   



WHOA!  Just based on this paragraph, I have to wonder if we live in the same town and if your DD is now at the studio where we are!

We've been at our studio for 8 years now, but last year dealt with some tween/teen cattiness and it was a rough year.  I let DD try to handle it on her own for most of the year, but when I walked in the studio to pick her up one evening and could see her in the class balling her eyes out, I lost it!  They knew it was going on, hadn't done a whole lot about it, but we immediately had a convo with the teachers and SO and since then, we've kept and open diagloge all the way around and things have improved.  DD learned a hard lesson in standing up for herself and having thick skin last year.  

My DD loves to dance, takes a ton of classes and is not THE best dancer at the studio by miles.  But, she's a hard worker, has passion and over the last few years has grown leaps and bounds in her dancing skills and her placement has shown that.  Issues arose with girls who have kind of been handed everything and now that DD (and several other girls) are growing into their own and chomping at their heels, they don't like it.  I just tell DD to dance to HER best ability and to just out dance them.  They are all so concerned with everyone else, they forget what they are doing!

Good luck to you!
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JojosDanceMom

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Reply with quote  #5 
I think a lot of the issues are very much age related.  That 12/13/14 age group is the most catty age group for girls to get through.  With your dd only being 10 she's not at that place yet, and that's a good thing... hopefully she won't get there.  But 10 year olds aren't typically emotionally equipped to deal with the cattiness of 12 - 14 year olds.  Not that it's ok to say "oh, that just what 12 year old girls do", behavior like that should be recognized and addressed by the teachers, but that will only help for times when the teacher is watching.  The sad thing is, if she was just a cute little girl taking their class she would be fine... she'd probably become their little class mascot.  But as a strong dancer who poses a threat to their coveted spots... then the claws come out.

I think the best thing is to talk to your daughter and decide on what she wants to do together.  Present her with all the options.  Explain that staying in this level with these girls is going to be the best thing for her dance training.  Based on the dynamics of progression through levels at your school, could the girls closer to her age potentially move up to her level?  Or do the classes typically progress together?  If it's a possibility for the other girls to move up to her level then explain that to her... that this year it's tough, but next year maybe her friends will be with her.  Explain that, if she moves down to be with her friends, that the level will be easier for her and she may get bored.  You have to help her find her happy medium.  You don't want her to stay in a class where the other girls are making her miserable so that she dreads going and it's detrimental to her love of dance... but you also don't want her in a class if she's going to be bored and gets tired of dance.  But ultimately that's for her to determine.

My DD was always the youngest in class, but she looked older so her friends didn't even realize.  With your DD being the youngest and looking even younger... that could be "insulting" to the older girls that this little girl is coming in and taking their spotlight.  When DD moved to her last studio she was the oldest, and her team ranged in age from 11 - 16... with DD and a couple of others being 16.  The 12 - 14 year olds had no interest in the 11 year old.  If it were a class of 11 - 14 year olds then the 11 year old would have been off in a corner by herself all season.  But the 16 year olds, who have gotten their hormones under control a bit and gotten past a bit of the cattiness, were there to notice this poor girl and try their best to make sure she was included and felt like part of the group.  Interestingly enough, now the 12 - 14 year olds are 14 - 16 year olds and the 11 year old is 13... BUT, because she knew what it was like to be the youngest... and she noticed the older kids making the effort to include her when she was 11... the 13 year old is now the one making some degree of effort to include the new 11 and 12 year olds while the 14 - 16 year olds continue to ignore them just like they did when they were 12 - 14.  lol  So maybe your DD can endure for now and then be the one to welcome and include the younger dancers in the class in years to come.  [smile]
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BallerinaPaisley06

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baileysmom


WHOA!  Just based on this paragraph, I have to wonder if we live in the same town and if your DD is now at the studio where we are!QUOTE]



Baileysmom - are you in Canada?
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BallerinaPaisley06

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Reply with quote  #7 
Thanks everyone for the great advice!
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LilMama

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Reply with quote  #8 
We just switched studio in Sept and DD7 experienced similar situation. Luckily it was only one mean girl instead of a group. DD is usually pretty popular wherever she goes. At first she would still say hi to the mean girl and approach her whatnot. But of course just like any other mean girl, she would do faces to her friends and yes whispers and pointing fingers. So I just told DD to ignore her completely. Don't have to be nice to her when she is clearly nothing but rude to you. Time goes by, apparently the mean girl is less mean now lol

Side note, during Christmas DD was actually the mean girl's secret Santa. What are the odds?!
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fishoutofwater

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BallerinaPaisley06
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baileysmom


WHOA!  Just based on this paragraph, I have to wonder if we live in the same town and if your DD is now at the studio where we are!QUOTE]



Baileysmom - are you in Canada?



No.  Not in Canada [smile]

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dancemonkey

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Reply with quote  #10 
I think it's the 10 year old with 12-13 year olds. Is she leveled up in every genre? If it was me I'd let her shine at the level down because by the time she's 13 it won't matter if she's with a 16 year old if she's a great dancer.
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3dancinggirls

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Reply with quote  #11 
I have a 10 year old & 12 year old in comp dance.
Last year my 10 year old was asked to join her older sister's group for a couple of group numbers but she still took technique classes with her usual 9-10 year old group. Although there were no meanness (everyone was especially nice to the 'little sister') and she even got a couple of 'special' parts because of her small size she just didn't have as much fun as she would have with kids her own age. This year she is back with her old group on her own request - she is very happy to be with her friends again.

Because this dance thing is really just an extra-cirricular activity for my girls, in the end, I just want them to be happy,
make friends, and have fun.
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beachgirl

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Reply with quote  #12 
I have an 11-year-old who dances with the 12-14 year olds. While there is not meanness in her group, she can't really relate to them so she doesn't have many friends in her technique classes. She isn't bothered by it though and just focuses on her dancing in class. It will be much better next year when her friends move up though. 
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Dancinandlovinit

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Reply with quote  #13 
You are past the honeymoon period of the new studio, but honestly, there are going to be mean girls at every studio. That's just the honest truth. Girls that age can be mean. 

My dd was telling me last night that she has a "friend" at the studio (we'll call her Sally) that would text another common friend of theirs (we'll call her Betty)  (who is from school, not the studio) complaining or gossiping or whatever that my dd was trying to be funny and goofing off with other kids but that she's not funny and oh my gosh can you believe that she's doing that.  Of course Betty tells this to my dd immediately, and my dd says "so while Sally is sitting the corner by herself texting Betty to complain about me, I'm having fun with my friends, laughing and enjoying our break. Ok. Whatever!" 

My point is, that my daughter's attitude of "whatever" and letting it roll off her shoulder is what needs to happen. You could move studios, or move age groups, but honestly...you won't escape mean girls. Especially not at that age. If she lets it get to her, she won't be happy anywhere. Your advice of walking in with her head held high is great advice. 
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my2miracles

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dancinandlovinit
You are past the honeymoon period of the new studio, but honestly, there are going to be mean girls at every studio. That's just the honest truth. Girls that age can be mean. 



I agree.  Unfortunately girls/women can be mean at any age unfortunately.  I always tell my dd that mean girls often grow up to be mean women.  You just have to learn to deal with it.
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Dancingemu

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Reply with quote  #15 
We went through this and moved our girl down. While she is happier to be with friends, she has not progressed in the last year and I feel like we've wasted that money just to play with friends
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Dancersmom3

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Reply with quote  #16 
I would still speak with the SO or DT privately. I have found that our main DT (also the team director) will find a creative way to bring the group together and/or at least help the student get through the tough time.
My daughter had a similar situation. I spoke with the teacher and she made a point of teaching all the kids at the school to respect eachother. She has a way of getting through to the kids that amazes me. Afterall, we count on our DT's to teach more than just dance. They are with them as much as we are.
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lotsofdancers

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Reply with quote  #17 
We have this at our studio as well.  I think it comes from the mothers. There are several girls on dds team that are constantly leaving girls out, and then posting stuff on Instagram...even at competitions where the entire team is there...half the team will go off for ice cream or whatever and leave out the rest. In my opinion its always the moms and that makes me sick.  How could a mother leave out children and then post on Instagram as her daughter? Also, as far as our team is concerned, my dd found out that the mothers were texting complaining about my child.  What kind of mother texts nasty things about a child? It then carries on to the children and they do things like you mentioned, or whispering and laughing at their friends when they are trying something new in improve.  I don't know what the solutions is.  My dd has thought about going to the lower team, or leaving to focus solely on ballet, but I do know that she cannot continue with this mean spirited team.
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kmpmom

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Reply with quote  #18 
We have a group of kids that came all together from another studio about 3 years ago - 8 of them, I think.  Families are very close and also very nice.  Often at comps they go off on their own and have dinners, celebrations, etc. and don't invite everyone else.  I have no problem with that.  We can't always invite everyone to everything and this group of families have known each other a long time.

The kids of those families are also strong participants in any party or gathering being organized by other members of the team.  So they don't just stick to themselves, they also have formed close friendships throughout the teams.

Which is what made a recent occurrence quite sad for me.  One of the girls that came from the other studio turned 16 a few weeks ago and her mom threw her a sweet 16.  Tons of food, a custom cake, lovely gifts for the girls who came, beautiful decorations in their home -- they went all out.  Eighteen kids from the teen/senior teams were invited (which is basically everyone).  

Only half showed up, even after RSVP-ing that they would be there.

The reason was a girl who left the team a few seasons ago held her Sweet 16 on the same night.  Invited almost everyone.  Her party was a catered dinner for 50 people, DJ, big dance floor, and there were boys --- boys from our team and boys from her high school.  Hey ...all of that is fine and kids can choose to go to whatever party they want, but when you RSVP to someone's party, you either show up, or you decline.  The 8 kids who showed up to Party #1 had a wonderful time but more than half of the food was not touched.  The mom ending up sending it home with the attendees so it wouldn't go to waste.

I felt SO badly for the girl in question.  She is simply the sweetest kid you could ever meet.  And she was ditched by her teammates without notice.  Where were the parents in all this?  Teach etiquette, people!  You hurt a girl's feelings, and cost her parents a bunch of money simply by not doing the right thing.  
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3mama5678

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Reply with quote  #19 
It's so common. Use it as a lesson for your daughter to be the "bigger" person. The cliques and drama between kids sometimes is ridiculous- my DD had a dance friend who threatened to tell everyone my daughters secret- that she was a bedwetter still- to all the girls to get them on "her" side. Really. My daughter tells me all of the gossip and drama that goes on at school and dance and I just have to remind her that there are wayyyy more important things. I don't think it'll get easier!
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Inspiredby3

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Reply with quote  #20 
We're in a similar situation now. My daughter who is 12 joined her team last year. There were several new girls in her age group and they all befriended each other. One of the girls also lives in our town and is in the same grade as her. This year they have some classes together at school and also sit together at lunch with some of dd's friends. She also has a sister same age as my younger DD. Because they live close and they're around each other so much, plus their sisters became friends, they got really close and became best friends. This year most of the new girls are in classes together away from the rest of the juniors, so they're sort of separated from the rest of the team and hang out mainly with each other. My DD notices the last couple months that her friend from the same town started acting different. Became bossy and just didn't seem to care about my DD like she used to. Well, her mom had been picking up another girl from our team who's been on the team several years and taking her to dance and would watch her till her mom got off work. I guess she became close with her and no longer had the need for my DD. Well, the last couple weeks she has been inviting the entire group of girls over that my daughter has been friends with on the team except for my DD. Including 2 girls that I had become close with the moms. Even spent last Thanksgiving with. I let them know what is going on and they still let their girls go and allowing them to be part of the exclusion. At lunch and in school the friend acts somewhat friendly with DD bc she doesn't have anyone else to sit with or talk to but at dance she just cares about hanging out with the other girls. My DD and her best friend of 7 years went to our local lake boardwalk and the friend was there with another friend from the team. They walked past my DD and her friend who The friend is also friends with, they both looked down and didn't say anything. I'm shocked at these girls and the parents too. Thought many of the parents were really good people. My DD didn't do anything to her friend for her to be treating her this way and trying to set all her friends on the team against her. My DD refused to go to class last week bc she feels she has no one to talk to now.

The studio we're at has very good dance education and is just 7 min from my house. Now I'm going to have to drive a half hour away to another studio bc of this one bratty kid who started this. Plus my younger daughter joined the team this year and picked things up very quickly and was put in the younger sister' level who was also on the team last year within 2 months. Once DD moved into her classes she started excluding my DD and not letting her play with the girls that were her friends. I kept picking her up from dance with her balling her eyes out. Eventually the girls got to know my DD and realized they liked her and no longer excluded her but then her older sister started doing the same thing to my 12 yo. I think the whole year they were trying to make one or the other of my girls miserable to push them off the team.

Now the mom is posting pics on FB of all the fun the girls had at the sleepover with my dd's friends on the team. So the mom is rubbing it in our faces! Just totally heartless. These people are very materialistic and show offs. They throw money around like it's candy and trying to buy off these girls.

So yeah... behavior like this seems to be common on teams especially very competitive types. I'm ready to move my girls to a less competitive studio. They're training won't be as good but maybe they'll have nicer, less competitive teammates and therefore enjoy going to dance more.
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #21 

Dance or no dance, competition or not, 12 is a rough age! This happens in all sorts of settings. I do think you are on to something with these behaviors perhaps being more common in a more competitive environment. Though, for dd, we saw these sorts of things happen in school. Kids forming new groups, excluding their long time friends... the whole Queen Bee and Wannabe scenario. If you watch over time, some of these kids switch roles, losing their "title" of Queen Bee and becoming more of a Wannabe and the reverse. 

The moms in these scenarios don't think twice about it. They do not see themselves as being malicious. They tend to say things like "I can't tell my daughter who to be friends with." And that is true. However, we can encourage our children to treat others the way they would like to be treated themselves and to consider the feelings of others in their actions. 

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Inspiredby3

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Reply with quote  #22 
I completely agree with you tendumom. Excluding others is a pet peeve of mine and I've been drilling into my kids heads since they were like 2 years old to always include everyone and if anyone somehow does become excluded to pull them back in to the group. Unfortunately many parents don't focus on teaching their kids to be like that. I just always stressed to my kids to always consider others feelings and be kind and thoughtful. All it takes is a little thoughtfulness and most problems like this could be eliminated.

Most kids are the way they are raised to be... it comes from the parents. How can the kid think there's something wrong with what they are doing if the parents don't think there's anything wrong with it. I'm just getting into dealing with kids this age. My son is 13 but there's less drama with boys. I think you're complete right about everything you wrote! Thank you 😊
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3mama5678

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inspiredby3
I completely agree with you tendumom. Excluding others is a pet peeve of mine and I've been drilling into my kids heads since they were like 2 years old to always include everyone and if anyone somehow does become excluded to pull them back in to the group. Unfortunately many parents don't focus on teaching their kids to be like that. I just always stressed to my kids to always consider others feelings and be kind and thoughtful. All it takes is a little thoughtfulness and most problems like this could be eliminated.





Most kids are the way they are raised to be... it comes from the parents. How can the kid think there's something wrong with what they are doing if the parents don't think there's anything wrong with it. I'm just getting into dealing with kids this age. My son is 13 but there's less drama with boys. I think you're complete right about everything you wrote! Thank you 😊





So true. I think exclusión for kids hurts more than the mean comments. As my kids get older I see a lot of "frenemy" relationships around them and I just hope they make better choices
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DanceTumbleCheerMom

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Reply with quote  #24 
While this is a really tough time for kids (mine are 12 and 14), its also a great time to learn how to deal with people and situations that will always be there.   My 14 year old came to me last night and said "so and so made the Varsity cheer team, if she starts rumors about me or causes Drama , I am quitting.   Granted They were at the same All Star Gym when Carmella got hurt and left the team, the other girl started nasty rumors about her being cut because of her weight and not being able to do anything.   I told her that if A started anything, to let the coach deal with it, and that she needed to learn to deal with people like her because you cnat always run from bullys or drama queens (there are quite a few of those who made the Varsity squad this year).    

Same thing with mean girls at dance.  We have dealt with that too, and yes, its hard, but again, we cant shield our kids from it, or they wont know how to handle it in adulthood.  
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