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ChelleB70

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13 yo dd goes to a magnet school for the performing arts.  She was chosen to be the lead in the annual dance concert and has been very excited about it.  However, she says she's running around the stage more than she's dancing.  It's ballet oriented, based on an opera and she plays a little child. She showed me a beautiful combination that she and another girl were supposed to be doing, then said her teacher told her to do simpler steps while the other girl does the original combination.  We're talking seriously simple steps....stuff she was doing in pre-ballet! She said it's happened a couple of times.  Her teacher says it's bc she's on stage the entire time and doesn't want her to get worn out.  My dd even asked her if she's going to be dancing more during the remaining show they need to choreo.  Her teacher told her she is dancing.

I am not that mother that's going to go in and tell the teacher how to do their job. I just don't know how to feel about it.  It's almost like she's intentionally holding her back or doesn't trust her abilities.  Why would she make her the lead then?  I'm stumped.  Any ideas on why this could be happening?  WWYD?

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tendumom

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How far are they into the choreography? 

Just thinking there may be a more demanding solo coming up. 

It may also be that the teacher as choreographer is thinking of the character your dd is playing- a little child- and keeping the choreography appropriate to the actual role as opposed to what the dancer is capable of. A beautiful dancer who has that spark or x factor will be a joy to watch even if just doing a tendu. I am sure the teacher gave your dd the role because she is that sort of dancer that people enjoy watching no matter what she does. Remind yourself that those slight nuances are what really makes an artist, not how high they can get their arabesque or how many pirouettes they can do... and enjoy! Just my rambling thoughts about why the teacher may be doing this. I totally get the frustration!

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ChelleB70

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I misunderstood my dd in thinking they weren't done w choreo.  They are done.  Dd told me she feels like she's being held back so I encouraged her to talk to her teacher in private and let her know how she feels.  She's worried she'll offend her teacher but I told her to just talk to her and let her know she wants to understand what she's thinking and assured her she won't be insulted. 

Something did come to light when we talked about it a 2nd time.  Dd was originally the only lead.  However, with 8 shows in 2 days (3 day shows for other grades and 1 evening show per day) dt decided to add another lead so my dd wouldn't get worn out. (Dd was hugely relieved). They are splitting the shows evenly.  Dd told me dt said "we have to be sure <other lead> can do it too".   I've only seen the other girl dance a little bit but she's not on the same level as dd (not saying my dd is phenomenal but there's a def difference).   If dd didn't misinterpret what dt said, then it does seem like she's being held back.  I don't think that's right.
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melissa745

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChelleB70
I misunderstood my dd in thinking they weren't done w choreo.  They are done.  Dd told me she feels like she's being held back so I encouraged her to talk to her teacher in private and let her know how she feels.  She's worried she'll offend her teacher but I told her to just talk to her and let her know she wants to understand what she's thinking and assured her she won't be insulted. 

Something did come to light when we talked about it a 2nd time.  Dd was originally the only lead.  However, with 8 shows in 2 days (3 day shows for other grades and 1 evening show per day) dt decided to add another lead so my dd wouldn't get worn out. (Dd was hugely relieved). They are splitting the shows evenly.  Dd told me dt said "we have to be sure <other lead> can do it too".   I've only seen the other girl dance a little bit but she's not on the same level as dd (not saying my dd is phenomenal but there's a def difference).   If dd didn't misinterpret what dt said, then it does seem like she's being held back.  I don't think that's right.


It's standard practice to choreograph a show so both leads can do it. You can't think of it as being held back, but rather as "what is best for the show."

There are plenty of rockettes that can kick higher or faster, but they do what everyone else does because that is what is best for the show.
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ChelleB70

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I understand the idea that each show should be the same but I'm just surprised at 1. the discrepancy between the leads and 2. with that discrepancy that they wouldn't be able to ramp it up for dd even just a little.  We're not talking just reducing pirouettes to singles from doubles or triples.  My dd is doing what looks like barre work as a dance.....some plies, tendu and a sachet thrown in!
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heidi459

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChelleB70
I understand the idea that each show should be the same but I'm just surprised at 1. the discrepancy between the leads and 2. with that discrepancy that they wouldn't be able to ramp it up for dd even just a little.  We're not talking just reducing pirouettes to singles from doubles or triples.  My dd is doing what looks like barre work as a dance.....some plies, tendu and a sachet thrown in!



IDK  I'm just going to throw this out there... only because this is not not the first time I've heard a concern about a dancer's experience at their public performing arts school (high school or otherwise).  But is it possible that parents are expecting more than they should?  Not that I can't understand it if you're used to a studio environment... especially if you're used to a competitive dance team environment.   But unless this HS had a super selective audition process, it may be possible that people are simply expecting too much. 

IDK  Not to sound insensitive but this just sounds like it might be a case of "it is what it is". Certainly your dd could ask.  And the teacher might respond favorably & even make some changes that are to your dd's liking.  But this might also be a great opportunity to readjust your expectations.

Then again... I might not know what I'm talking about [smile]
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joriebelle

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I agree with Heidi, "it is what it is".  Sometimes you just need to take a deep breath and let it be.  If your daughter says something she may get a reputation as a complainer and not be given an important part again.  Maybe the next show she'll have a part more suited to her ability?  It's not that I don't sympathize with how you're feeling, it's just that it rarely is beneficial to say anything about it.  Putting on a show takes alot of work and the teacher has done this many times before (I'm assuming) and questioning her may be taken as questioning her abilities as a teacher and choreographer.
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tappinmom

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChelleB70
I misunderstood my dd in thinking they weren't done w choreo.  They are done.  Dd told me she feels like she's being held back so I encouraged her to talk to her teacher in private and let her know how she feels.  She's worried she'll offend her teacher but I told her to just talk to her and let her know she wants to understand what she's thinking and assured her she won't be insulted. 

Something did come to light when we talked about it a 2nd time.  Dd was originally the only lead.  However, with 8 shows in 2 days (3 day shows for other grades and 1 evening show per day) dt decided to add another lead so my dd wouldn't get worn out. (Dd was hugely relieved). They are splitting the shows evenly.  Dd told me dt said "we have to be sure <other lead> can do it too".   I've only seen the other girl dance a little bit but she's not on the same level as dd (not saying my dd is phenomenal but there's a def difference).   If dd didn't misinterpret what dt said, then it does seem like she's being held back.  I don't think that's right.


I can kind of understand what the teacher is doing.  Your daughter is capable of more but the other lead is not.  If she lets your daughter do the more difficult choreography on her shows and dumbs down the choreography for the other lead she will have people making comparisons between the two dancers that could hurt the other lead.  Your right that it's not fair to your daughter but I get it.  They really should have found 2 comparable dancers if they wanted to double cast the lead.
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ChelleB70

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Reply with quote  #9 
I see where you're all coming from and you're right.  It def "is what it is".  I wouldn't have given it much thought if dd wasn't concerned about it.  She considered talking to the dt but decided against it and that's her decision.  She said too many people were complaining about petty things and she didn't want to get lumped in with them. 

The show is next week and it'll be interesting to see how it turns out.  The scenery and props and so much fun and the costumes are fantastic! It's actually an opera that they've made into a ballet.  It's about a boy (a girl now) who has a tantrum and starts breaking stuff in his (her) room and it all magically comes alive.  Even though the dancing isn't up to what my dd is used to I think it's been very good at breaking my dd out of her shell and making her act more, which she's usually uncomfortable with (outside of smiles or sassy for comps).  So it really is helping her grow in other ways which I def don't discount.  This is huge for her.

She had a proud moment yesterday too.  Her LA teacher told her that the Principal was talking about the show and said he hadn't seen my dd in a show before and he was really awed by her.  He was impressed and moved.  Dd lit up. [smile]
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ChelleB70

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Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459



IDK  I'm just going to throw this out there... only because this is not not the first time I've heard a concern about a dancer's experience at their public performing arts school (high school or otherwise).  But is it possible that parents are expecting more than they should?  Not that I can't understand it if you're used to a studio environment... especially if you're used to a competitive dance team environment.   But unless this HS had a super selective audition process, it may be possible that people are simply expecting too much. 

IDK  Not to sound insensitive but this just sounds like it might be a case of "it is what it is". Certainly your dd could ask.  And the teacher might respond favorably & even make some changes that are to your dd's liking.  But this might also be a great opportunity to readjust your expectations.

Then again... I might not know what I'm talking about [smile]


You know what you're talking about! LOL 

This school (she's in ms) doesn't have an audition process so, yes, there are several kids who only have this school as their instruction or very little other instruction (it's in a city and mostly poorer city kids attend).  I have to say I have been very impressed by these kids tho.  It's amazing the talent that can be pulled from people.  I'm talking all the genres too.  Yes, dance, but also musical theater, art, costume making, vocal, band etc.  In the end of the year dance concert they  give the 8th graders the top spots.  The 7th graders with the "lesser" roles are blowing me away.  I may have to attend next year to see their spotlight show!  I was just surprised at the choice for the 2nd lead bc there are other 8th graders who are very good.  But I'm sure dt has her reasons.  Maybe she wants to give this girl a chance to shine and, if that's the case, I can hardly argue with that.  A little bit of confidence can go a long way in dance.
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