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May - Being a Ballet Mum

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#1 Nut

Posted 12 May 2010 - 08:17 AM

In her new pristine uniform Erin looked beautiful as I dropped her off for her first lesson. Not permitted to watch, I left her with complete strangers who belonged to a world unknown to us. I was terrified, but when the lesson ended Erin bounced from the studio declaring that ballet was her new found love. We should have known then that Rob's prediction wasn't going to come true, but we didn't.

Read the full story HERE.

Feel free to leave comments for Deanne.

I just want to add a correction. The photo was taken by DECCIA Photography. Hopefully the error will be fixed tomorrow. My apologies to DECCIA Photography for the mistake.

#2 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 12 May 2010 - 06:15 PM

Hi Nut,

I'm also a ballet mum. DD 4yo isn't at the serious level, but she adores it. And her teacher. And the piano player. and the Australian Ballet DVDs. I got to peek through the window at DD's first lesson by herself. She had so much fun, her energy and smile was unbelievable.

We've just started growing out the fringe. I guess by the time she's 6yo, and doing the more serious levels, her hair will be appropriate. I wonder if it will be supplanted by other interests later on. Even if it is, I am sure she will have the fondest of memories of her ballet classes, which is all I can really ask! biggrin.gif

#3 darnie

Posted 12 May 2010 - 06:31 PM

Hi *Spikey*,

Your DD sounds just like Erin. It is so wonderful to see them so excited and passionate about something, isn't it? I love to watch Erin on open day, with a look of concentration on her face as she tries her best.

I wonder, too, whether Erin will find something else to do further down the track but like you, I will be happy if she has fond memories. At least we'll know then that we gave her the opportunity and she enjoyed it for a while.

Good luck to you and your DD on the ballet journey!


Edited to fix typos.

Edited by darnie, 12 May 2010 - 08:52 PM.

#4 lcirving

Posted 12 May 2010 - 08:12 PM

Hi darnie,

Fantastic article, really brought me back to my own ballet days.  

I did notice that your name wasn't in the Byline, was this an oversight?

Your girls are just beatiful, Erin just looks like a ballerina  yyes.gif

#5 darnie

Posted 12 May 2010 - 08:35 PM

Thanks Icirving! I never did ballet myself, so I really don't know what it was like. Thank you re my girls wub.gif

#6 roses7

Posted 12 May 2010 - 08:39 PM

Thanks for a great story. I freaked when my 3 year old DD fell in love with ballet - I'd only planned for her to do it for a term while we waited for her to be old enough to play sport! I kept waiting for her to fall out of love, but we are into our 3rd term now and there's no sign of it.

I was worried it would be too strict, but in fact she seems to thrive on the structure of it. And my shy little daughter has grown so much in confidence. Ballet was the first activity she ever went to without me and I'm certain it helped to prepare her for preschool this year, which she also loves.

I've decided as long as she's following her dreams and not fulfilling mine, we will all be ok. And how gorgeous do they look in those uniforms!!!?

Btw we obviously share a taste in names - my daughter is Rose Alice  biggrin.gif

#7 darnie

Posted 12 May 2010 - 08:44 PM

Thank you, roses7. It sounds as though you and I are living similar lives! They do look beautiful in their uniforms. And on stage. And I agree - as long as Erin is happy, we will just embrace it.

Oh, your daughter has a lovely name! grin.gif I've loved the name Alice for years, but it took two DDs for me to convince DH to use it!

#8 october19

Posted 13 May 2010 - 01:29 AM

Thanks for the insight... i've been a ballet mum for all of two weeks now so at least i have a better idea what i'm in for!!

#9 mumofparis

Posted 13 May 2010 - 08:40 AM

Thankyou for your story.
I found myself nodding my head in agreement.
It bought back memories of my early days.
I have been a ballet mum for over 20 years now (plus other dance styles)
and i am still as excited, and awe, to watch my children on the big stage!


#10 Nut

Posted 13 May 2010 - 10:20 AM

In regard to the name, it was supposed to be Deannes name. That will be changed shortly.

But for the record, if writers choose not to have their name attached, my name goes there instead. It should not have been the case this time, but that is why you'll often see my name heading the article.

#11 darnie

Posted 13 May 2010 - 05:51 PM

Thanks for that, NUt. It was no big deal.

October19: Enjoy the ride! It is busy and sometimes stressful but it is a lot of fun.

mumofparis: Wow! 20 years! Yes, I don't think the excitement of seeing them on stage would ever go. I always cry at the very beginning when the curtain goes up! blush.gif laughing2.gif

#12 Missmarymack

Posted 13 May 2010 - 06:15 PM

I loved that!  My heart melted when you said her Dad gave her some pink flowers after the concert original.gif So sweet!

#13 darnie

Posted 13 May 2010 - 06:19 PM

Thankyou, Missmarymack! She thought she was it on a stick when DH gave her the flowers wub.gif

#14 2FairyGirls

Posted 13 May 2010 - 06:27 PM

What a lovely story Deanne, thanks for sharing.   I am a novice ballet mum with my DD who is now 4 and doing ballet since 2.5. She desperately wanted to go and never before wanted anything more than 1m away from me.  When they closed the door on her first class she didn't even look back!  I really credit ballet for giving her tons of confidence and the experience of her first ballet concert on the NIDA stage last year was amazing!   I cried my way through all 5 mins of it.  I was so proud.  She was on top of the world!

I definately think it gave her the confidence for preschool this year (and yes we have now grown out her hair and fringe!)   I am looking forward to many more years and DD2 will be starting this year too!

Last week I took her into town to see Coppelia.  Was amazing seeing the joy in her face during the show and the excitment at home as she "read" the programme again for the 100th time!

#15 darnie

Posted 13 May 2010 - 07:17 PM

Thanks 2FairyGirls! One of the mums at ballet tells the story of her little girl being in the end of year performance at age 2.5, "dancing" across the stage in a full nappy. How wonderful that your DD enjoyed herself. I know what you mean about crying - I knew it was going to be tough during Erin's first performance when I cried while other people's kids (that I didn't know!) were dancing!

Was that the Australian Ballet performance of Coppelia? I would have loved to see that! Feel free to PM me details of what it was like! laughing2.gif We took Erin to Sydney last year to see the Australian Ballet perform Sleeping Beauty, which worked out nicely because it was on a few weks after her end of year performance, which was also Sleeping Beauty. I think teh Australian Ballet is performing Nutcracker at the end of the year. Again, I would love to see it but we won't make it this year. And, yes, we definitely get our money's worth out of the programmes these days. Erin reads them and reads them. (well, looks at them!)

How exciting that your DD#2 is starting soon. Our DD#2 will be starting in a couple of years, if that is what she wants.


#16 Carmie

Posted 13 May 2010 - 08:35 PM

wanna say what a great story it was and brought back so many memeories for me when my DD started dancing.

Kieley is the same age as Erin (Sept 04) and started just after her 2nd birthday. After her first concert we too chose to grow her fridge out to make my life easier. Now her hair is past her bum.

She started solos and competitions in her 2nd year and even though she was only three(and competing against 6yos)  she went out there and strutted her stuff without a care in the (and even winning 4th place from 25 girls) while DH, I and mum were balling our eyes out. Kieley takes dancing and the stage in her stride and not bothered by it at all but I still struggle with sending her out on the stage on her own or with her troupe. This is her 4th year at dancing and so far has 11 trophies and 14 medals to her name.

Last year she did her tinies A and preprimary classical exams and got Distictictions in both and is doing under 8 classical technique this year as well as under 6 classes to hopefully do primary classical exams this year.

Next Sunday she is participating in a CanDance performance at SA Festival theatre to raise money for Cancer. She is so excited and I am nervous already.

Her brother asked to join dancing last year (at 2.5yo) and we pushed him into sport instead (didnt want him to think dancing was the only option as he had grown up being taken to rehearseal and concerts etc) and he hated sports and again this year asked to dance so he started this year and after the first term was fighting Kieley to share the limelight and practice time at home. He started his first solo lessons in term 2 and is doing his first 'practise' solo concert next month before competitions in July (he is doing Grease Lightening)

It still amazes me the confidence dancing has given the kids and the stress it has given DH and I. It was a totally different insight into the dancing world and I love taking 'new' dancing parents under my wing when I see them stressing coming up to competitions and concerts cos I rememeber all the hidden things that are required etc that they just think every parent must know.

There are times when I wish Kieley and Jaxon didnt dance when I think of all the hours I waste a week sitting at the studio or at extra rehersals but then the second you mention anything to them about dancing or what they are learning etc the smile and excitement in their eyes make me forget about my missed sleep ins on Sats etc.

I started learning to make solo costumes last year and DH and I gave props ago last year too which put a whole new dimention into dancing lol.

#17 2FairyGirls

Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:57 PM

Yes Deanne, it was the Australian ballet performance at the Opera House .  Just beautiful.   We also have tickets to Nutcracker in December so she is definately spoilt!  I have such fond memories of my parents taking me to the ballet when I was a little girl I wanted to make sure she experiences the real deal!

#18 TurtleTamer

Posted 14 May 2010 - 01:32 PM

How sweet original.gif  I am really looking forward to the day when I start my boys in ballet original.gif  I was tossing up sending my eldest this term and glad I didn't as he broke his leg!  I think I'll wait and start the older two together next year, they'll be 4 and 3 by then.  Now I just have to find somewhere that can work around us not being able to do Saturdays, ever (religious reasons), wish us luck on that...

#19 darnie

Posted 14 May 2010 - 06:04 PM

Sorry everyone, been a bit busy...

Carmie: Firstly, oh my goodness, your kids are gorgeous! If Jaxon looked at me with those eyes, I would have to give him whatever he wanted! laughing2.gif Wow, Keiley sounds as though she is doing really well with her dancing. You must be so proud! Your comment about new dancing paretns made me smile. Last year was Erin's second performance and I think the thing that gave me more confidence and made me embrace it all was that a couple of new Mums came to me for advice. It made me realise that I can be a ballet mum and that we all go through that first, unsure year. What's better is that I actually made a really good friend in the process too! There is no way that I will be doing costumes for Erin, though. My sewing isn't great and her teacher is quite fussy - as she should be - but I am not particular enough for that. How great that your son is taking an interest. There just aren't enough boys doing dancing at Erin's dance school. I think it is great if they take an interest in it. I hope that your DD does well at CanDance; woudl love to hear how she goes!

2FairyGirls: I am so jealous! Coppelia and Nutcracker! How awesome. I now wish we'd bought tickets to Nutcracker, but the Imperial Russian Ballet is touring with Nutcracker this year and because they came to Canberra with Swan Lake last year, I thought they would come to Canberra with Nutcracker. But, they are going everywhere else but Canberra! I woudl have loved to see Nutcracker. Even though I prefer the Australian Ballet, I just thought that a ballet in Canberra would be easier. The Royal NZ Ballet is coming here in August with Romeo & Juliet, so I am going to go to that, I think. I will see if Erin wants to come, although she has her heart set on Swan Lake on ice at the moment! rolleyes.gif I was never exposed to ballet when I was younger. The first ballet performance I ever watched was the first performance that Erin danced in! I have to say, though, that DH & I are both becoming interested in going to the ballet.

TurtleTamer: Oh no, I hope your son's leg is ok! How great that you are starting your boys in ballet! There are only about 6 boys in Erin's ballet school of 200, ranging from about 4-16. I hope you can find somewhere that has lessons on a day other than Saturday.

#20 andyk

Posted 17 May 2010 - 02:47 PM

Aaahh memories, I did 10 years of ballet, tap and jazz.  Concerts, eisteddfods and exams, my poor mum's worst nightmare.

She had to sew all my costumes and once even painted my tap shoes a different colour between 2 performances in one afternoon.  Mum was not a sewer but we couldn't afford to have the costumes made, so she became one whether she liked it or not. I spent many a long afternoon listening to her swear at the sewing machine or stick me with pins while she tried to figure it out. She never let me down and come hell or highwater I always had what I needed.

Thanks for the memories, must go and ring mum and tell her how much I love her.

#21 darnie

Posted 17 May 2010 - 04:26 PM

Oh andyk, your post made me go all goose-bumpy. You've made ME want to go and hug your Mum, and I don't even know her! What an amazing lady! I am sure that she gained a lot from watching you do something that you loved, also. I know that for me, all of my stresses about hair and makeup seem insignificant when I see how excited Erin is about performing.

I can't really sew well enough to do ballet costumes. The instructor is very fussy, so I don't think my sewing would pass muster. Luckily, at Erin's school there is currently a group of volunteer mums who sew the performance costumes. I love that group of mums. I am hoping that I can find other ways of helping - such as volunteering for the performance, etc.

Erin asked to do tap at one stage, and we did put her on the waiting list, but then she decided that she would like to do two classes of ballet (RAD & Cecchetti) so we forgot about tap. At the moment she seems stuck on ballet. We'll see, I guess.

Enjoy your chat with your mum!

#22 Doppelgänger

Posted 17 May 2010 - 07:47 PM

Indigo has been doing ballet (RAD) for around a year now.
Can I just ask, did your daughter really grade at 4?
That's amazing!
Where we are they are in pre-primary until they are 5 or 6.
I have to admit, I LOVE being a ballet mum original.gif
I really didn't think I would, but I love doing her hair and make up!


#23 darnie

Posted 17 May 2010 - 08:28 PM

Hi Tina,

Erin first did an exam in preschool ballet. She was about a month short of 4. I think they were trialling the concept of a preschool exam, and am not sure if they have had them since. I am also pretty sure that turning up was good enough to pass it! laughing2.gif I am not sure what the exam was; I thought it was an ATOD exam, but I don't know.

She did the pre-primary RAD exam last year at age 4yrs, 10 months. This year, she is doing the primary RAD exam in July and will be 6 in September.

I thought that most kids in her class were about her age, but I have recently realised that she is one of the youngest in the class. And now that I think about it, last year the teacher did have to work out whether Erin was old enough to do the pre-primary exam. There are other children in her class who will be doing the primary exam in July and will be just 6 or not quite 6 but I think their birthdays are July/August, not September.

I am enjoying being a ballet mum, now that I have become more relaxed about it and have taken it in my stride. I am really not a girly girl, I don't wear make-up and my hair is done in about 5 seconds flat, so it is quite surprising that I am enjoying it too. I have to confess that I have paid the professionals to do her makeup for the performances for the past two years (and her hair last year). I think I am almost getting the confidence to do it myself, though.

Good luck on your ballet mum journey!


#24 Anemonefish

Posted 18 May 2010 - 01:18 PM

Nice article!  I too was nodding as I was reading it.  Last year was my first year as a ballet mum - wow, it's a whole new world isn't it?

My DD is turning 7 this year, and she did pre-primary last year and is now in primary.  I didn't encourage her to do the exam last year but I did encourage her to be in the end of year concert.  It was quite a shock to me how serious the concert was.  One of DDs close friends does ballet too, and we were able to take turns with her parents to take them to rehearsals, etc which made things a lot easier.  About 2 wks before the concert, the Russian Ballet performed Swan Lake in the same theatre, and I took DD to that.  I was worried it would make DD nervous, and she was a little, but she was fine on the first night (we were seated right at the front and she waved at me when she came on stage!) and then on the 2nd night she went on all excitedly, telling me "I'm not nervous, I love it!".  

This year, they have to go twice a week in order to do the exam and the concert.  DD didn't want to do the exam but her teacher has talked her into it, and she was really happy when DD agreed to do it.  I thought it was sweet that the teacher cared enough to do that.  

I love that DD loves ballet so much and I think it's great for her confidence.  The only thing I dislike about being a ballet mum is some of the other ballet mums!  There are some lovely ones, but there are a few really snobby, princess types.  I tend to drop and run now anyway as I have a 16 month old DS who causes chaos at the ballet school, so we go for a walk while DD is in her lesson.

#25 ~shannon~

Posted 18 May 2010 - 01:50 PM

Lovely story! original.gif

I have to admit that I was reading it from a different perspective. I DREAMED of the day I became a ballet mum, because I danced ballet, jazz and tap for 15 years... absolutely loving every minute of it, including the exams and eisteddfods. I also joined an adult tap group which was so much fun and great exercise!
I really think the discipline and structure of ballet is a great life skill, as well as the benefits of physical exercise, correct posture, grooming, etc.

So when I had a baby girl, I really hoped she would love dancing as much as me. She turned 4 in February and this is her first year of "Little Ballerinas". There's no exams yet, but a concert at the end of the year. She is really loving it... in fact, if they started at age 3, she would have jumped right in!
We've also had some wonderful "mummy/daughter" nights out at the theatre watching the Australian ballet.

When I was growing up, my mum couldn't sew very well, so she always paid someone to make my costumes. I've been gradually improving my sewing skills over the past two years, so that I'll be ready when the time comes to make my DD a tutu or two! LOL!

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