Ballet Mom: Have I Gone Too Far?

Vivien the sad ballerina

Just one look at my forlorn beauty has made me question the upcoming ballet and recitals. Should I have stopped at one class a week, or the two classes we take (“we” because I take her to them)? OR should I have gotten the cute outfits, but not had her perform in the recitals?

She always enjoyed the class. Well, she started when she was 22 months and the first few weeks she sat in my lap, but then she got into it. She takes one class on Monday with Miss Meredith and one on Wednesday with Miss Sophie. Now they both have recitals. Miss Meredith’s is tomorrow night. It’s more rehearsed.

I know I’m more hardcore than other ballet moms. The other day was a typical rehearsal, where they stared blankly at Miss Meredith and only followed a few steps. The moms all clapped and Vivien rushed into my arms, “I did it, I did it!”

I said, “You did do a lot of it, but we still need to work on the curtsies and the p-ks.” ( I can’t spell the French word, but that’s what it sounds like.) The other moms chuckled. I should be honest, right?

This picture is for her Miss Sophie dance recital. That class is a little looser, but the show will be at a big theatre and that costume cost $50, and tickets are $20 a piece. I bought $300 dollars worth for the family, the $20 DVD, and there have been photo sessions for the big night. Vivien was so excited at home to put the outfit on. But once we got to the studio she folded like a deck of cards. The teacher and I were making faces and saying, “Vivien, look here,” as she went more and more in on herself. I can’t blame her; I was the same way when as a child, I got to go on the set of “Medical Center” and meet Chad Everett. I was all excited till I was face-to-face with Chad. My face is down in that one, too.

This ballet thing seemed so cute, but is she too young to have expectations and goals? I don’t think so. And I’m going to do another go around on the photo session this weekend. Just in case I can get the happy ballerina picture for the hallway.

Photo credit: Al Unger

14 thoughts on “Ballet Mom: Have I Gone Too Far?

  1. Is it one of those horrible ballet “recitals” where they all stand in a line in front of the audience, watching their teachers perform their dance steps for them on the side of the stage? Yeah…probably a little young for the whole “remember the steps” thing.

  2. I agree with the above poster, if you have to ask, you have probably gone overboard. Also, you should probably ask yourself exactly who the classes are for…you or your daughter? Are you trying to live the experience vicariously? I can’t believe that you reacted the way you did when your daughter was obviously so thrilled with what she did…shame on you, you are taking the fun out of it for her!

  3. Okay, I’m kind of loving this picture.
    I say bag the weekend photo session–you’ve got the best picture here! It speaks a million words and maybe this is just “what it is”.

    Love your blog!

  4. From one Ballet Mom to another – my daughter is now almost 12, but was in pre-ballet starting at the age of 3. As I type this, she is 3000 miles away at a ballet summer intensive boarding school at one of the top schools in the country. I am not saying that to brag – at all – I am saying that to let you know that at my daughter’s first ballet recital at 4 years old, she stood on the stage, bobbed up and down a bit, remembered to do one turn, and spent the rest of the time on stage with a confused look on her face. It was adorable! She told me afterward that her knees were bobbling (hee!), and she never ever wanted to do that again!

    I promise you, in the real ballet world, what kids can do and are doing before the age of 8 means nothing. When kids apply for professional schools, summer intensives, etc., those schools don’t care, and don’t even count any “training” that happened prior to the age of 8.

    Enjoy your little girl right now. If she continues, the intensity ratchets up quickly around the age of 10, and doing steps – like piques – well does become more important. In fact, my daughter called me yesterday, and told me that her piques en pointe had really improved this summer. They work on piques forever! And have manny opportunities to perfect them. Hours and hours and hours of opportunity. That being said – all of that is best left to the teachers to worry about. Mom is for driving, checkwriting, putting buns in hair (until they can do it themselves), and saying, “How did you feel up on that stage? I loved watching you perform!” Period.

    But don’t worry – as a card carrying perfectionist, I have definitely made blunders like calling my daughter out on not pointing a toe, or whatever. And sometimes when she’s working on a new skill, my daughter will ask me how it looks, and I will most definitely give her my honest assessment. But as for unsolicited advice, I’ve learned the hard way NOT to do that. Teachers worth their salt will take care of all of those details.

    Your daughter is adorable, and that picture is stunning.


  5. Yeah….bag the weekend photo session, Daphne. I think she is a bit young for this. You have SOOOOO much time for this really you do. I pushed my daughter too hard at barely 3 to take ballet because I thought it was what I was supposed to do. She is a girl. She should do ballet and be adorable. Well, Frannie ran around the class and cackled for about 2 months. Then, when recital time came and she found out she was going to be a dressed as a chicken – that was it. She was done.

    That photo is amazing. Leave it be and do something you ALL will enjoy this weekend.

  6. I’m with Bella. (Only I’m not as diplomatic.) Start ’em when they are 8. If she wants to do ballet when she’s 8, send her to a really good ballet school, not a Miss Suzie’s School of Dance where they do the expensive costumes and the tortuous recitals filled with little girls wearing make-up. That’s just spending money and celebrating the tacky, and it has little to do with real ballet.

    What about gymnastics/tumbling for little ones? Or a mom-and-child music class? Something that’s about the process, not the product, would be just right for her age. Maybe you could even find a dance class that was about dancing, just for fun, with no recitals.

    That is an awesome picture, though.

  7. Hey – I just saw that you’re in Hollywood. If you can get your daughter to Anaheim Ballet for ballet training – do it. I got to observe my daughter’s classes at her summer intensive, and the best trained young girl in her classes was a girl who wasn’t yet 11 (about a year and half younger than the average age of 12 1/2 in the class), and she was amazing! Her home ballet studio is Anaheim Ballet School.

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with putting little girls in pre-ballet classes, if they want to be there. My daughter begged me for 6 months to be put in a ballet class when she was 3 years old. But we kept the whole thing very casual until she was almost 9 years old. That’s when we moved her to a real ballet studio. She probably should have switched studios when she was 8 – but she wasn’t really clear that she liked ballet the most until later than that. I thought she was going to focus on jazz – but what do I know – I’m just the mom! 😀

  8. gosh, I have not come to the this page in a while and I didn’t see all the good ballet advice I was getting. I did do another photo which I need to post. Cute in another way, thanks for the compliments of Vivien.
    Waiting to 8 makes sense. I think I signed her up because I liked it when I was little and she usually enjoyed it and it was before preschool and we needed somewhere to go! But, this summer she said she doesn’t want to go back and I said, “fine.” Now that we have a yard ( we were in an apartment for a long time) I don’t feel I need to take her somewhere to move around.
    I can’t go to Anaheim as my distaste for traffic has made me a virtual shut -in.

  9. I used to take ballet (yes, kik8, it was one of those Miss Suzy’s school of dance.) the recitals were really stupid. one of them was on FOX, but i wasn’t in it. I was swimming.

  10. Well, let me tell you it only gets way more expensive so enjoy the cost of this all now. If she sticks with ballet and absolutely falls in love with it like mine has. Then your looking at costumes raging from $500.00 to $1000.00. But they are the most beautiful ones you will ever see and when she has worked so hard at all her rehearsals and you see the final show, well then its is all worth is when you see how beautiful and happy your daughter is. I’m happy my daughter has fallen in love with something and is focused on her ballet as much as she is. It will keep her out of trouble, especially when kids get bored thats what happens. Precious picture of your daughter. From another Ballet Mom to another.

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