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Dear dancers and parents,
 
In the past few years, I've had more and more calls from dancers who are feeling burned out on dance and considering quitting. Afraid they'll regret their decision, parents have encouraged them to talk with me to sort out what's going on. 

It's started to feel like a trend, actually. Dancers are emotionally exhausted and have lost their passion for the art form. On occasion, a dancer has decided to leave dance and pursue other opportunities, some temporarily, others permanently. But in a surprising number of cases, the dancer wasn't "done with dancing" but just burned out on her studio. 

Dancers often view themselves as totally separate from their training environment, but they are much more a product of it. Hyper-competitive or negative schools can create stressed out, unhappy dancers.

Taking open classes and contemplating other programs often stimulates the desire to keep dancing. Then, after changing studios - often as a kind of last ditch effort - voila! Love of dance returns, motivation is renewed, and the dancer is back to her usual self. 

So this week, I'm sharing my experience with the topic of helping dancers to change schools. Scroll down to read more.

In other news, I've been at School of American Ballet for the past month, giving workshops to their 11 and 12-year olds. My Instagram account has posts from topics we've covered and follow up thoughts. Check it out and follow me if you aren't already! 

Wishing you a Happy March,
Elizabeth          

 
 
P.S. Recent blog posts: Arousal Level  and Where Ballet & The Superbowl Overlap

P.P.S. Join my new Facebook Group for mothers: Moms of Pre-Professional Dancers where moms and I have conversations about issues that come up in their dancer's training.  
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     Wellness Tool: Changing Schools

 

"But this is the best school in New York City!"
"I won't get this training anywhere else."
"If I can't make it in this school, no one else will take me."

 

False. False. False. 


One of the things I end up supporting dancers and their parents through is changing schools. When I started wellness coaching, this wasn't a primary concern of mine but it soon became one. Among others, dancers came to me with complaints about:

- Overscheduling: despite catering to dancers under 18 years of age, some schools schedule their dancers from early morning until 6 or 7 in the evening, leaving no time for academic work. This is just not sustainable for dancers wishing to graduate high school. 

- Weight loss requests: multiple dancers, from different programs, are told they need to lose weight or risk not being cast in performances or worse, being cut from the program.

- Lack of opportunity: despite being told of good progress, one of my dancers was offered few opportunities to perform in school shows, depriving her of the artistic experience of performing.

- Emotional burnout: it may be 2017, but some schools still believe in "breaking" their dancers by driving them into the ground in the name of toughening up for future success. Instead, it usually results in the dancer wanting to quit.

Rather than trying to change the way schools work with their dancers (as I attempted in my early years), I usually help my parents and dancers make choices that reflect their needs and values. Often they end up voting with their feet and finding a training environment that works better for them.

That said, both parents and dancers are often fiercely loyal to their schools as the above quotes suggest. And I hear that - dance is so entrenched in families' lives that teachers and peers often feel like family. And it can be hard to admit when "family" isn't working out for you. But here's the thing:

There are a lot of great schools out there. If the one you're in isn't working for you, for whatever reason, it's worth considering other options. 

This is much easier if you live in a big city, and more challenging if you don't. But still, the conversation is worth having, as it can open new avenues of thinking about the situation and lead to new discoveries. 

If your dancer has been struggling with her commitment to dance or with the training environment and you would like some help sorting it out, I would love to be a sounding board. 

Please schedule a Discovery Session with me. We'll get on the phone and talk about what's going on. 
 

*** *** ***

Moms: questions about what you've read? Stop by theFacebook Group to post your question or send me an email by clicking on the envelope below.

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Copyright © 2017 - Elizabeth A. Sullivan - Coaching dancers in NYC & around the world since 2011.

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