by Ann Flower
(new tripoli, pa)
Career Development Plan - Supporting Mom
My daughter is now 8 years old. She has been studying dance in a weekly class since she is 4 yrs old. In these 4 years she has maintained that she wants to be a ballerina when she grew up. Since I know very little in this department I am curious to know what, if anything, I should be doing to help her reach this goal. I understand it is a lot of training and I am wondering if I should have her in more classes, private lessons, etc. I want to know that if this maintains to be her goal, that I provided her with all the tools she needs to be successful. I don't want her to be 18 and at a disadvantage. I want to know i gave her everything I could. Any advice you could give this dance mom would be greatly appreciated.
Reply by Odette
To:- Career Development Plan - Supporting Mom
Hello Ann Flower,
Thank you for getting in touch with me, it is great to hear from you. 8 is still very young, I only just began dancing at this age. Yet I know dancers do start taking ballet seriously at a young age in order to get the required training.
The ballet teachers play a key role in a dancer's success, as it was my teacher who guided me along from the beginning in order to become a professional. She advised me to audition for a vocational dance school and gave me private lessons in order to be ready for the standard I needed to be. The teachers have the ability to spot potential in a dancer and therefore the ones to ask about the whether your daughter has the right facility to pursue the profession.
I understand the pressure you feel as a mom and the uncertainty to what is the best thing to do for your daughter. Yet she still has many years left to train as a dancer, so do not look too far ahead, but be sure that she is under good care now with her ballet teachers and good teaching at her school.
To give you a rough idea, I started ballet at aged 8 at my local dance school. I had a top quality teacher who was very familiar with the professional and the vocational dance schools. I took regular dance classes each week, as well as the occasional private lessons. Then also took a more serious, training class every other saturday. When I was 11 I went to a vocational dance school and remained training there until I was 18 before joining a ballet company.
So, I think, if you want your daughter to have the best chances of becoming a ballerina then she must try for vocational dance schools at the appropriate age. Then, she will be under close care of top training and a professional school. I know you want to provide her with all the tools, but it will be a balance of both you and your daughter's work in order to reach the goal, not just you.
Remember, it is a very tough procedure in order to reach a successful ballerina so don't be hard on yourself if things don't always go according to plan straight away. It is very special to have a mom so willing to help her daughter's goal. Keep supporting your daughter and in time she will be thankful you did everything you could.
ps. Try reading the Seven Secrets... you can remember them and mentor your daughter to have the crucial, positive mind frame for dance. Go to my 'Seven Secrets of Ballet' page.
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