Unsolicited ballet-related parenting advice from non-parents!!

Everyone loves unsolicited advice, right?
Especially about parenting, right?
Especially from people who are not parents, right?
Well everyone is in Luck! Here’s some unsolicited ballet-related parenting advice from non-parents.
First from Smirnoff
“Back when I taught in Argentinta, whenever a mother brought her little girl to me to learn ballet, I knew I would be able to teach that child for another five or six years, until she was of age to decide for herself whether to continue. But here in the United States, the children are so confused! Everyday it’s something different! Ballet, soccer, singing, hockey, gymnastics…they cannot focus! It is too confusing, they can never advance.”
So there’s that. Drop your kid off at ballet, don’t give them any say until they’re twelve.
And from me-
For the love of All that is Holy: Pay a Professional to give your kid corrections!
Case in point:
I’m on stage in the elementary school production of The King And I. I’m Lady Tiang. I’ve just belted out my big number, Something Wonderful. This song is a big deal, and I’m not just talking about that one really sustained, really high note on “he’ll always neeeeeeeeeed your love…” I mean, in the song I’m basically saying, ‘hey, I know my husband is a Total Dick almost all of the time, but occasionally he’ll do something cool, so ya gotta love him.’
Heady stuff for a ten-year old.
Btw, the Adult Beginner is totally not down with that sentiment. A jerkface with occasional good moments is still a jerkface.
But anyway,
So I’ve just totally kicked that songs ass, and I look over the crowded gymnasium full of politely clapping parents waiting for their own kids to be on stage, I see my dad who is applauding wildly, and beside him I see my step-mom, who is not clapping, but is franticly whacking the underside of her chin with the back of her hand and mouthing, “Chin Up!”
And I think to myself the fourth-grade equivalent of, ‘Are you fucking kidding me right now?!’
And rebelled by immediately tucking my chin down into my costume.
Gentle Reader, if you are a parent, I sincerely hope your angel is not the ornery cuss that the Adult Beginner once was, but it’s entirely possible that your darling is the kind of over-achiever that will work like hell to please a teacher yet has zero tolerance for being corrected by a parent.
I mean, Smirnoff tells me to raise my chin all the time. And I fucking do it! I try my best to keep it up high in the sky so he won’t have to tell me twice!
So, parents, save yourself the hassle and pay a pro.

About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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9 Responses to Unsolicited ballet-related parenting advice from non-parents!!

  1. Laura says:

    Aw, man, do I feel your pain. I don’t mind being 3 times older than anyone else in my ballet class, but if those parents asked me for advice, I’d never stop (and, like you, I’m not a parent)!

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  3. I’m still giggling here from your post – where do you take it from?

    “And I think to myself the fourth-grade equivalent of, ‘Are you fucking kidding me right now?!’”

    As for parenting advice, at 24, I’m just going to shut my mouth and acknowledge, I’m still a kid :)

  4. Mike says:

    As a parent with one kid auditioning this winter with hopes of a contract next year, I’ll agree with Smirnoff and add my two cents.

    Our daughter did both figure skating and ballet. We thought ballet was the background for the skating and she regularly cried on the way to ballet saying she wanted to quit. A short discussion always ensured where we would remember why we took ballet–for beautiful skating, of course–and that the family rule was you had to stick with something you started until the contract period was over, then you could quit.

    Now, 15 years later, the skates are stored in a bag at the bottom of the closet, and ballet is its own means to its own end. Funny how what you think is true sometimes turns into the reverse without you knowing it.

    And, finally, pay a pro. The pro needs the money and it removes the parent from being the idiot (well, only in this instance, otherwise we continue to be idiots in everything else, especially when the girl turns 14).

    • Yes! Exactly! Pay someone else to be the idiot!
      This is a good story, I like the idea of a contract period. Seems like kids understand that really well, they like the fairness of a contract. Have a friend who made an agreement with her parents that she could become a vegetarian at age twelve if she still wanted to. She was five at the time the contract was made, her parents thought she’d forget but nope, seven years later she reminded them of their deal and stopped eating meat.
      So I guess parents should contract wisely.

  5. Mike says:

    Um, yeah, bad typing. That “ensued”, not “ensured”. And, yes, I know you place the punctuation inside the quotation marks, but that’s on quotations and this is handled this way for reference and clarity (and one should not start a sentence with the word “and”). Fix one problem and three other problems surface!

  6. This touches a nerve for me, because I took ballet classes twice, once when I was three and once when I was four, and both times I ended up quitting. In my very, very vague memory of the classes, I’m fairly certain I quit because they wanted us to do a cartwheel and I couldn’t. Which is a totally silly reason for quitting ballet. I give my mom a hard time now (in a good-natured way) because I wish she’d made me go, at least for a few weeks (until the contract runs out is a good idea, my mom ended up losing money on untaken lessons). Who knows what might have been??

    • Cartwheel? Oh right, for all those times when Giselle flings herself across the stage, good thinking, Ballet Teacher.
      Ok now I’m just imagining Giselle and all the Wilis cartwheeling in their long skirts.
      Hee hee

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