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teachermom2834

Dance recital madness- vent

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We are in recital week. It is Wednesday and dd and I are already so tired.

My dd just turned 11 and loves dance. She takes five classes a week at a recreational studio. It is a sweet place and good for my dd but no one is going on to dance beyond high school from our studio. Lots of the older girls there play high school sports and are cheerleaders so it isn’t an intense training situation. It’s fun and positive and uplifting recreation. 

But holy moly recital is insane. The crazy costume costs. The extra rehearsals. The poor bitty girls who have to be there night after night even though they are never going to learn their dance. They will be adorable no matter what they do! So many late nights. So many tears. 

We had a ticket shortage for recital this year. We had two performances planned and they both sold out within 45 minutes of tickets going on sale. Some parents didn’t get any tickets. You had to be lined up before the sale started to get any at all. I got in line at 9:45. Tickets went on sale at 10:00 and I was able to get tickets in the very last row. They turned our scheduled dress rehearsal into a performance so everyone at least ended up with tickets to one show. But oh the drama.

I feel so sorry for the moms who have little kids they can’t drop off and are carting younger sibs along. Not to mention these kids and parents still have school and work. I don’t dare complain...my dd takes care of herself and she is my baby. I don’t have other kids to worry about and we sleep in and relax all day. I do not know how these other families do it. 

During rehearsal they are taking registration for next year and there are long lines of people signing up to take on this madness again next year. Lol. 

Its just such overkill. Our girls are never going to be anything close to perfect on stage. It is all just cute and fun. The insanity is so unnecessary . 

I do it for my daughter and because my schedule and budget permits it. But I will never really understand it!

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Yeah, it is bananas. When dd danced, recital week was crazy. Thankfully our studio tried to keep costs low, so they would store and reuse costumes and charge a modest recital fee rather than having us buy a costume for each class. The down side was that they did the recital about 30min away because our local venue is way too expensive. That meant hours on the road for dress rehearsals and performances (4 shows in a weekend). 

 

But dd loves the chaos! She does high school cheer now and we made her choose. We can’t handle both. 

ETA: this is where choosing your studio wisely come in. Every studio has a different philosophy around recitals/competing, etc. It’s important to 1) find a match and 2) look elsewhere if your studio isn’t a match. Go in with eyes wide open and don’t expect anything to change. (This isn’t directed at you OP, just my general philosophy on kids activities)

Edited by sassenach
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Yes. I am so glad we are done with dance.

Older dd really, truly loved it. But the requirements for parents volunteering come recital time, the schedule, the cost all just about killed me. 

I think it can probably be fine and a pleasure for some families, if everyone is involved and thrives on it all. I saw that for some other folks. But for us, while we were already dealing with assorted family stresses, it was too much.

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14 minutes ago, sassenach said:

 

ETA: this is where choosing your studio wisely come in. Every studio has a different philosophy around recitals/competing, etc. It’s important to 1) find a match and 2) look elsewhere if your studio isn’t a match. Go in with eyes wide open and don’t expect anything to change. (This isn’t directed at you OP, just my general philosophy on kids activities)

I agree! And I try not to fuss about recital too much because we chose this studio for many reasons and they are always upfront about costs. Our studio and recital venue are ten minutes from home, there are no competitions or pressure to do anything more, they really work to not make pointe a big focus which I agree with for my dd. The music and costumes are modest and appropriate but still fun. Everyone that runs the studio is sweet and positive. 

But bananas is the right word. Recital is bananas.

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My daughter is 22 and was last in dance 18 years ago.

Things have not changed!!!

I could have written your post. Total insanity.

 

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Some families got zero tickets? There should have been at least an initial allotment and then maybe a wait/sales line for additional tickets. That’s what I think, anyway, that is insane. 

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15 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

Some families got zero tickets? There should have been at least an initial allotment and then maybe a wait/sales line for additional tickets. That’s what I think, anyway, that is insane. 

Well they added a show so now everyone has tickets to at least one show. But there were families that bought large blocks of tickets that really messed up the numbers. They said they will be changing things for next year. We’ll see what plan they come up with.

Honestly we have more kids than we can handle. Hopefully that will resolve itself because recital has been such a nightmare.

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1 hour ago, gingersmom said:

My daughter is 22 and was last in dance 18 years ago.

Things have not changed!!!

I could have written your post. Total insanity.

 

Yes, total insanity. And I am normally so down to earth and minimalist that I am ashamed to participate. It’s such a lovely thing the entire rest of the year but I struggle with recital week because it is so not my thing.

I have no dance experience prior to the last 6 years or so but it obviously has been this way for a long time. There seems to be a culture that is is just part of it. From my perspective it is total insanity and so much of it doesn’t even make sense. But people will say “my mom did it for me” or “I had my babies out late when they were little too” or “yes, the costumes have always been really expensive”...as an outsider I can think of a hundred things that don’t make sense or could be done differently...but this is one of those “but this is the way it is done and always has been” things. But why? Why does it have to be that way forever??? It’s a bad model to follow without examination 😂

But I keep my mouth shut and enjoy watching my dd. She is a cutie!

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Because everyone secretly hates it but is too scared to say so?  It won't be everyone but there will be a lot of people who hate it and if they all said something it may reduce the crazyness a bit.

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4 hours ago, teachermom2834 said:

Well they added a show so now everyone has tickets to at least one show. But there were families that bought large blocks of tickets that really messed up the numbers. They said they will be changing things for next year. We’ll see what plan they come up with.

Honestly we have more kids than we can handle. Hopefully that will resolve itself because recital has been such a nightmare.

We have no local family so I probably can't understand the mentality of families' buying up large blocks of tickets. But what's with that? I wouldn't want to attend my niece's, cousin's, whatever's dance recitals. 

But it always seems like the other kids have both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins at all of my daughter's performances. I think it's crazy. 

 

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14 minutes ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

We have no local family so I probably can't understand the mentality of families' buying up large blocks of tickets. But what's with that? I wouldn't want to attend my niece's, cousin's, whatever's dance recitals. 

But it always seems like the other kids have both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins at all of my daughter's performances. I think it's crazy. 

 

My thought was that no one has 40 close friends and family that would be heartbroken to miss a recital. Maybe the parents don’t know it but I’m sure some of that 40 would be willing to settle for a dvd viewing at a later date. Lol. Especially if they knew some parents didn’t get tickets. Recitals are a long day. 

But sanity and reason goes on vacation come recital season. 

 

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Oh, I'm right there with you on recital craziness. Our studio does an amazing recital. No, I mean an AMAZING fully staged recital. We have at least two of our recent grads who are dancing professionally. One is in NYC and the other in LA and another got a full ride scholarship at an elite school for *minoring* in dance. When our recital tickets go on sale at 5 pm on Saturday, parents start lining up by 8 pm on FRIDAY night and sit outside all night and day! The funny thing is that the auditorium is huge and tickets never sell out! Lots of people who aren't even related to dancers come to see the show every year.

Little kids? Yeah, our studio owner isn't going for cute. Those 3-4 year olds get up on stage and they DANCE. They make the dance teachers part of the theme of the dance so they can be on stage and make sure those little kids are where they belong doing what they are supposed to do.

Our staging and dress rehearsal lasts an entire week! We just move into the auditorium for the week with short breaks to go home. Lots of people just schedule a week of vacation from work. The dancers LOVE recital week. They're so excited to hang out at the auditorium all week with their dance friends. There's food vendors selling food and snacks. It's like a big, long, exhausting party and, yes, it's crazy. The dancers who do go on to dance in college or professionally have no trouble adjusting after all that.

 

 

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@mom2scouts that’s awesome and sounds like a cool experience for those that are into it.

But ours is different in that the dancing is not a high level. It is purely a recreational studio. There’s a lot of drama when ours truly is just cute! I know I’d feel differently if we were dancing in some premier program. Ours is not. Not at all 😂

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Thank you for making me realize I hadn't bought our tickets yet! 😂

This is ds's first year at the "big" studio. Previously, we were at a smaller pre-pro studio. That one still had a spring concert and a spring recital. The recital was all levels starting with ballet I (no pre-ballet - those babies get to do a little in class "show" for parents). The concert was all upper levels only. Neither had any fees. The costumes were all simple and provided by the studio - fees were folded into tuition.

The new big studio has theirs at a large professional theater. They have all levels (though still none of the pre-ballet kids, though they start their "ballet" levels a bit younger), four casts (though ds, being a boy, has solos in all casts). There is a fee. It's modest from my perspective as the parent of an upper level dancer. If he was in ballet II or something, I'm sure I'd balk just a little bit. I know that not all the younger dancers participate. There have been two other recitals. Those were held in their black box and mostly attended by family. Only levels 5 and up and included the professional training students and the young trainees. So it was practically a professional quality tiny show. Those had no fees at all. The kids also had the chance to be in the company's professional Nut and their Sleeping Beauty this year. Obviously no fees for those.

I feel like when I hear these stories from other parents about small studios and the insanity of their costume fees and everything, it's really hard for me not to roll my eyes. Like, what's the goal? The dance education or the recital? Seems like it's the blinged out recital, not the education. My cousin showed me her kid's recital. A dozen kids, all in early elementary. THREE dances. Each with a different costume, one of which was obviously expensive. The kids barely knew the dances. There's something special about being on stage in a costume - don't get me wrong. But it seems like a lot of these places just need to majorly dial it back. I know we're  lucky, but if ds can get a top notch dance education without most of this nonsense, then it really can be done. They all look like they're overcompensating.

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Yes, recital week is always crazy.....dd is in her 10th year of dance, and it’s always insane. But, it’s wonderful the rest of the year, and she loves it—even the recital craziness.

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dd danced from K-12 and her studio was nothing like you describe. Yes, costume fees were high. The older girls sometimes had an extra rehearsal during the week. The day of all groups were scheduled a slot for dress rehearsal and pictures. The venues they chose always had plenty of seating for families, extended families and even walk ins, and in the years they were in smaller venues extra performances were planned in advance. It was sane and manageable. 

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Yes @Farrar

That is exactly it- all the fuss over recital when the education isn’t there. And I’m the oddball that isn’t really in it for dance training. My dd gets a lot out of it but she doesn’t have the drive to pursue excellence and we aren’t looking for that. 

I do know of places in nearby medium sized cities that do a lot more education wise for the dollars I put in so I know it can be done. That’s what drives me nuts. 

I just want the uplifting, athletic, positive, fun experience (which I am willing to pay significantly for) without the hysteria. I will say I am not sure that the other parents are as aware as I am that is isn’t solid training. So maybe they all think they are getting something I am aware I am not.

I’d just about rather pay for anything than costumes. Pay your teachers more, make studio improvements, book a better venue so tickets aren’t so tight, etc. 

I know it doesn’t have to be this way. 

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6 hours ago, HSmomof2 said:

Yes, recital week is always crazy.....dd is in her 10th year of dance, and it’s always insane. But, it’s wonderful the rest of the year, and she loves it—even the recital craziness.

Yes! Dd has several quick changes this year with lots of costume parts to manage and though she was stressed a little she has loved organizing everything and managing those challenges and pulling it off. While not a dance mom at all I do see the benefits of participation. She does love it. And so we carry on 🙂

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2 hours ago, Pippen said:

dd danced from K-12 and her studio was nothing like you describe. Yes, costume fees were high. The older girls sometimes had an extra rehearsal during the week. The day of all groups were scheduled a slot for dress rehearsal and pictures. The venues they chose always had plenty of seating for families, extended families and even walk ins, and in the years they were in smaller venues extra performances were planned in advance. It was sane and manageable. 

I know it can be this way. Dd danced when she was 5 at a similar size studio in our previous city. While the older dancers might have had longer tech week rehearsals, the young ones did not. They had one dress rehearsal Saturday and groups had times assigned. So the older kids in a lot of dances had a long day but the others just moved in and out. 

This studio has the venue for the entire week and everyone (even the 4 yos) had to be there at least a couple hours Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday night was just “older dancers” which was approximately 8yo and up. Still a lot for an 8yo who is in school. Recital Thurs- Sat so we are finally there!

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DD did a similar program. It was low cost overall, but even the preschool dance classes had two costumes that were worn once. By the time she decided to focus on cheer, she was up to 6 costumes, each of which was worn for one photo session and one recital. Only one dress rehearsal for each performance, but multiple recital times meant there was a lot of late nights for kids who were in multiple classes. She’s not a physically gifted kid-mostly, I just wanted something to keep her physically active, and it was close to home,  but it definitely was selling more flash than substance. 

Honestly, the only reason I could mentally justify DD’s competitive cheer uniform cost is that we were paying that much in total for multiple dance costumes that were worn twice. (It’s still the most expensive piece of clothing she owns), and the cheer uniform can at least be worn by someone for all of the 3-4 years until they adopt a new one (only the oldest teens don’t outgrow at least one in that time. DD has needed at least a new top every year so far). 

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You make me grateful for DD's studio.   It is one of the low-key ones, which the teacher is very upfront about.  For the recital they do one dance for every half hour of class.  A one hour class will have one costume that has different skirts and accessories to change the look.   There is dress rehearsal the night before.   The auditorium is one that Elvis performed in.   So big enough that there are empty seats. 

Last fall, DD had this idea that she wanted to take dance class and then WATCH the recital instead of being in it.   I did not agree.   It wasn't that she doesn't want to perform.  She just loves watching.   So, this Saturday we are watching another studio's dance recital.   This is the insane part.  They are charging money for the tickets.  $15.   It must be a big studio because they have one for the little kids and another for the big kids.  Next Saturday is DD's recital. 

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Now, as usual I am the oddball. I actually miss recital season.

This may have to do with the facilities at which my son danced. (Although, since my son was a performer who had friends at multiple dance schools and studios, we often ended up attending more than one school's show each season in order to support his friends.) He started at a pre-pro ballet school. For the first few years, there were two separate shows: the ballet recital and the "jazz show." The ballet recital was themed and often had at least a loose story line. Often, they used the older dancers as the main characters and then had each of the younger classes sort of cycle onstage and dance one part of the story with the older ones. The show was performed at our big professional theatre (same one in which they used to do Nutcracker every year), and the kids absolutely loved getting to camp out in the dressing rooms and put on a "real show."

The jazz show was sometimes done in the same theatre, but sometimes at another venue. It was a looser, more traditional "recital," with each class coming up and doing its thing. 

Families had the choice of whether to participate in one or both shows. Because my son was a tap dancer, he always did both shows.

At some point, they did away with the second show, because families complained about it, which meant the main recital got longer and less cohesive and "show-like." Then they broke up the school into two versions of the same show, an afternoon and an evening edition. The older kids were in both, but the younger ones would be in just one. 

The school, though, has an excellent reputation for training professional dancers, so it was always worth seeing. 

He then moved to a very small, family-owned dance studio that did a much more traditional recital. Their students are a mix of purely recreational kiddos who come to one or two classes a week for years, a good bunch who dance seriously/competitively but don't plan to do so as full-time professionals and a few who are planning on careers. I was always extremely impressed by how well the studio owners managed to incorporate and respect all of those needs. 

Their approach was to have each kiddo buy a costume for each class towards the beginning of the academic year/dance season that would be worn for all performances throughout the year. They usually did a couple of performances around the holidays -- sometimes a full-on, theatre-based recital and other times public performance(s) at community events, often both -- then the usual four-hour-long recital in a rented venue just before the summer break. Teachers would choreograph different routines to different music for the holiday and end-of-year performances, but they would have the same "vibe" so the same costumes could be re-used.

For the competition dancers, the studio often had costumes made locally, which resulted in nicer costumes for less money than ordering through one of the big catalogues. And for the kids who were in a ton of different dances, they would try to use basics that could be dressed up with accessories for the different music.

My son loved it all; those experiences are some of his fondest memories of growing up. And I appreciated the opportunity to get to know the other parents and, most of all, the other dancers. I found my own experience of attending the recitals very much enriched when I had relationships with the other families and could cheer on their dancers along with my own. 

I actually went to the year-end recital for a couple of years after my son had graduated, because he returned to help with backstage tech or costuming or to make a quick "guest appearance" in a dance or two. 

 

 

Edited by Jenny in Florida
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The costume thing is baffling to me. If it's for competition or a performance that's going to draw people in the community (like a Nutcracker or something) then getting expensive costuming may make sense. But the two studios we were at kept reused all the costumes that were in that sort of category.

For things that are student recitals, buying anything more than a relatively inexpensive new skirt or something makes no sense to me. At ds's last show, they had the kids bring in their own tank tops in certain colors and kerchiefs and things for a modern piece. I did have to buy something... a tank top for like $2 at the thrift store. That was at a nationally famous studio with a professional company. If they can do it that way, tiny studio in a suburb or small town can too. This is what I meant about overcompensating. You don't see these hundreds of dollars single costume fees like this at many big national studio companies with pre-pro tracks, not from what I can see.

I do have to buy new tights and shoes sometimes. Sometimes they dye his shoes. But the tights are reusable by us in other performances. The shoes are unique to the dancer, unlike a skirt or tutu or costume jacket or something, which can be resized slightly for the next dancer.

I know that some studios that do this stuff are still also providing great dance instruction. And I know some kids and families love the pageantry of it. It's just hard for me to personally get.

The long tech and rehearsal hours I do get. We do those too, especially for any professional shows that ds participates in. When ds was in an ABT show years ago, the week of the show was madness and he was only in one cast. But I had no complaints (plus, it was the other way around - he got paid, we didn't pay them - and he was recently remembered by the ABT artistic director as one of the supers in that show, so that was rather special for him). I just think long rehearsal hours are what make a good show. And that's true for student productions too. Ds was at his studio from 9:30-7:45 for the last two Saturdays, doing his regular classes, plus the rehearsals for all the casts since he has to go in with his parts in the shows for each cast (the littles are only ever in one, so it's relative). But we're a theater family - dh is an actor, I've directed local homeschool productions, my other ds is a musical theater actor (and now a stage manager!) - so to us, the idea that tech week eats your life just seems normal at this point.

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I get the costume part.  Even when people own the costumes, they don't always take good care of them.   Doing hair and makeup on an 8-year-old is difficult and keeping up with the costume pieces and keeping them in good order is hard.  I take care of the costume but I won't throw stones at those that aren't.  But, you want you child to look super-cute while on stage.  Costume envy is a thing at least among moms.   I remember one year DD's class got mediocre costumes and the class one younger got these adorable lilac costumes with feather skirts.  The moms talked about it. 

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17 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

We have no local family so I probably can't understand the mentality of families' buying up large blocks of tickets. But what's with that? I wouldn't want to attend my niece's, cousin's, whatever's dance recitals. 

But it always seems like the other kids have both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins at all of my daughter's performances. I think it's crazy. 

 

I completely understand what you are saying. We also don't have any local family, so it is usually just me and my husband at recitals. Sometimes we'll buy an extra ticket and bring one a friend of one of our girls.  I so often see siblings of the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, great grand parents. Ugh, I hope the dancer's family is returning the favor and going to performances for their nieces and nephews. 

I've worked recitals for others dance schools, and I've found the most obnoxious parents are the ones with large groups of family attending. Not sure if it is because it is so stressful to coordinate that many family members? And, maybe expensive buying all of those tickets?

Kelly

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16 hours ago, mom2scouts said:

When our recital tickets go on sale at 5 pm on Saturday, parents start lining up by 8 pm on FRIDAY night and sit outside all night and day!

Have they thought about going to online sales? Our studio did this 2 years ago, and I love it! I was never one to stand in line anyway for recital tickets. 

Kelly

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1 hour ago, shawthorne44 said:

I get the costume part.  Even when people own the costumes, they don't always take good care of them.   Doing hair and makeup on an 8-year-old is difficult and keeping up with the costume pieces and keeping them in good order is hard.  I take care of the costume but I won't throw stones at those that aren't.  But, you want you child to look super-cute while on stage.  Costume envy is a thing at least among moms.   I remember one year DD's class got mediocre costumes and the class one younger got these adorable lilac costumes with feather skirts.  The moms talked about it. 

I guess that's why 8 yos shouldn't have complex costumes though? Why did the moms talk? I just don't get the mentality at all. The younger kids at ds's old studio - which, again, was a very respected pre-professional studio with some famous name alums - did things like having the kids in a special color new little wrap around skirt with a flower in their hair. Why do they need expensive costumes if they're too young to take care of them and will only wear them once? This is why that studio didn't have their kids in Nutcracker, where the costumes are worth a bajillion dollars and made by hand by their seamstress, before they're like 9 or 10. I don't get why they need to have costumes that are above their ability to properly wear. That makes no sense.

I mean, I know that's the norm at many studios. I just don't get it.

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2 hours ago, Farrar said:

The costume thing is baffling to me. If it's for competition or a performance that's going to draw people in the community (like a Nutcracker or something) then getting expensive costuming may make sense. But the two studios we were at kept reused all the costumes that were in that sort of category.

For things that are student recitals, buying anything more than a relatively inexpensive new skirt or something makes no sense to me. At ds's last show, they had the kids bring in their own tank tops in certain colors and kerchiefs and things for a modern piece. I did have to buy something... a tank top for like $2 at the thrift store. That was at a nationally famous studio with a professional company. If they can do it that way, tiny studio in a suburb or small town can too. This is what I meant about overcompensating. You don't see these hundreds of dollars single costume fees like this at many big national studio companies with pre-pro tracks, not from what I can see.

I do have to buy new tights and shoes sometimes. Sometimes they dye his shoes. But the tights are reusable by us in other performances. The shoes are unique to the dancer, unlike a skirt or tutu or costume jacket or something, which can be resized slightly for the next dancer.

I know that some studios that do this stuff are still also providing great dance instruction. And I know some kids and families love the pageantry of it. It's just hard for me to personally get.

The long tech and rehearsal hours I do get. We do those too, especially for any professional shows that ds participates in. When ds was in an ABT show years ago, the week of the show was madness and he was only in one cast. But I had no complaints (plus, it was the other way around - he got paid, we didn't pay them - and he was recently remembered by the ABT artistic director as one of the supers in that show, so that was rather special for him). I just think long rehearsal hours are what make a good show. And that's true for student productions too. Ds was at his studio from 9:30-7:45 for the last two Saturdays, doing his regular classes, plus the rehearsals for all the casts since he has to go in with his parts in the shows for each cast (the littles are only ever in one, so it's relative). But we're a theater family - dh is an actor, I've directed local homeschool productions, my other ds is a musical theater actor (and now a stage manager!) - so to us, the idea that tech week eats your life just seems normal at this point.

 

Agreed on pretty much all counts (except that I acknowledge that kids love costumes, so I am willing to extend a bit more than is strictly necessary in order to make that feel special for my dancer). 

I know our local ballet company re-uses costumes for their professional productions year after year. My son did Nutcracker for six years, and we can figure out which year the pictures are from based in part on which costume he's wearing and how it fits. (There was one sailor-style shirt that he wore for three years.) The artistic director at one point was thrilled that, with as many young boys as there were in classes, he might be able to field an entire group of male soldiers to fight the Mouse King since all of the guys might be the right size to fit the costumes in a few years.

I wonder if one of the reasons you and I feel differently about these experiences has to do with the fact that we have/had boys. I do think the whole dance ride is quite different with a male. Honestly, my son would have loved to have more elaborate costumes than he was generally offered, but "he's a boy." And schools/companies are often so excited to have boys to cast that they tend to get somewhat different treatment, I found.

But, yeah, the whole tech week thing is just part of the deal when you have performers in your life. 

 

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9 minutes ago, Jenny in Florida said:

I wonder if one of the reasons you and I feel differently about these experiences has to do with the fact that we have/had boys. I do think the whole dance ride is quite different with a male. Honestly, my son would have loved to have more elaborate costumes than he was generally offered, but "he's a boy." And schools/companies are often so excited to have boys to cast that they tend to get somewhat different treatment, I found.

Maybe. When ds was little, he was obsessed with "pretty" things. It's what drew him to ballet in the first place. Before 9 or so though, the boys had no leg up on parts at his old studio. They wouldn't even put them in Nutcracker until then. But the little sashes and special vests and so forth that he got in recitals when he was smaller weren't really that much more or less than the things the girls got. One year the girls had pretty headbands that were slightly elaborate. They were don't something inspired by a European peasant dance so there were flowery things. Ds got a flower on his lapel, I think.

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I actually have no problem with tech week for the older dancers. It is kind of crazy fun, the parents don’t need to stay the whole time, and it does make for a nice smooth production. Also, that is kind of a life skill, right? Juggling a really busy week and getting everything done, learning to prioritize, etc. I don’t hate that for my dd.

But the babes...it is so hard on them. And just seems so not worth it. But I realize it isn’t about them- it is about getting all the cues and timing right. 

Some of the littles cry so much. I want to tell their moms it is okay to take them home and try again in a year or two. But that is the perspective of someone who has done the kid activities for 20 years and now has adult children in addition to my middle school dancer. I’m just an old lady to them 😂

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Not into dancing, but I am amazed some kids can do this and not be messed up.  I don't mean this as an insult.  I am seriously impressed that they and their parents have the energy and organization and intelligence to keep up with school, housework, and everything else with all this going on.

I do notice that it's often whole extended families helping carry the load.  My kids' gym owners are a married couple with 4 kids, ages 2, 4, 6, and 8.  The oldest 2 are in competitive cheer and attend public school.  I'm fb friends with their mom, and I'm impressed by how she holds it together.  Like all of us, she has to deal with usual kid issues - learning, illness, won't take their medicine, won't clean their room, won't go to sleep, etc.  She does have some work flexibility.  Also the kids have a dad, four involved grandparents, and some involved aunts.  It's a lot, but when push comes to shove, there is someone to help out.  As a single working mom with no parents able to help, I see and feel the difference there.

But to me, the biggest issue is that you have to say no to so many other things.  One of mine might like to do competitive gymnastics, but she'd have to say no to all her other sports, school social stuff, and some of her studying and sleep.  Every time I revisit the question, I just can't see us doing it, even if I could logistically make it work.  But if my kid had a single-minded interest, and didn't care about school sports etc., then maybe.

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1 hour ago, SquirrellyMama said:

Have they thought about going to online sales? Our studio did this 2 years ago, and I love it! I was never one to stand in line anyway for recital tickets. 

Kelly

They wre going to try to do online sales a couple of years ago and it never happened. They required all tuition payments to be up to date and nobody is allowed to buy for more than one other dance family (to prevent one person from buying all the good seats for themselves and ten of their dance friends) and it was too hard to do online sales with those rules in place.

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1 hour ago, SKL said:

Not into dancing, but I am amazed some kids can do this and not be messed up.  I don't mean this as an insult.  I am seriously impressed that they and their parents have the energy and organization and intelligence to keep up with school, housework, and everything else with all this going on.

I do notice that it's often whole extended families helping carry the load.  My kids' gym owners are a married couple with 4 kids, ages 2, 4, 6, and 8.  The oldest 2 are in competitive cheer and attend public school.  I'm fb friends with their mom, and I'm impressed by how she holds it together.  Like all of us, she has to deal with usual kid issues - learning, illness, won't take their medicine, won't clean their room, won't go to sleep, etc.  She does have some work flexibility.  Also the kids have a dad, four involved grandparents, and some involved aunts.  It's a lot, but when push comes to shove, there is someone to help out.  As a single working mom with no parents able to help, I see and feel the difference there.

But to me, the biggest issue is that you have to say no to so many other things.  One of mine might like to do competitive gymnastics, but she'd have to say no to all her other sports, school social stuff, and some of her studying and sleep.  Every time I revisit the question, I just can't see us doing it, even if I could logistically make it work.  But if my kid had a single-minded interest, and didn't care about school sports etc., then maybe.

We used to joke that we didn't understand how kids had time for school. Seriously, I did find this was one of the major benefits of homeschooling when my kids were younger. Tech week? No school. Because we could just do that. Now that they're older, I make them work. It's tech week next week here. I plan on it being a full week. Well, maybe a 90% week. but still. Because high schoolers are more resilient like that.

As for the activities and saying no. Yeah, my dancer does say no to everything else. He does Destination Imagination - and we're even going to Globals in two weeks (OMG, not ready) but it was really a stretch this year to make it work for all the kids. I'm not sure what will happen with it next year (and I'll tear up if we drop it, because we've been a DI family since kindergarten). But he doesn't do anything else at all because he dances five days a week - four weeknights until about 9 pm and more than half the day on Saturday.

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2 hours ago, SKL said:

Not into dancing, but I am amazed some kids can do this and not be messed up.  I don't mean this as an insult.  I am seriously impressed that they and their parents have the energy and organization and intelligence to keep up with school, housework, and everything else with all this going on.

I do notice that it's often whole extended families helping carry the load.  My kids' gym owners are a married couple with 4 kids, ages 2, 4, 6, and 8.  The oldest 2 are in competitive cheer and attend public school.  I'm fb friends with their mom, and I'm impressed by how she holds it together.  Like all of us, she has to deal with usual kid issues - learning, illness, won't take their medicine, won't clean their room, won't go to sleep, etc.  She does have some work flexibility.  Also the kids have a dad, four involved grandparents, and some involved aunts.  It's a lot, but when push comes to shove, there is someone to help out.  As a single working mom with no parents able to help, I see and feel the difference there.

But to me, the biggest issue is that you have to say no to so many other things.  One of mine might like to do competitive gymnastics, but she'd have to say no to all her other sports, school social stuff, and some of her studying and sleep.  Every time I revisit the question, I just can't see us doing it, even if I could logistically make it work.  But if my kid had a single-minded interest, and didn't care about school sports etc., then maybe.

 

Well, no one ever accused my son of having a "single-minded interest" in anything. This is how I described him in the "where are they now" thread:

He started his official freshman year at 16 and did two years there before deciding he wasn't happy with the program(s) in which he was enrolled or the university he was attending. He then came back home and spent three semesters at the community college where he had originally dual enrolled checking off the boxes necessary to earn an associate's degree and a technical certificate. He transferred to the local state university but hated it and has spent the last year working, doing some performing and exploring a bunch of options for "what's next." 

This academic year, he's been working about 25 hours a week at the community college in the theatre shop, building props and sets and helping to supervise beginning stagecraft classes. He spent one semester performing with an educational puppet show that tours to local elementary schools. He also worked for several months as a theatre tech with one of the big dinner theatres. He books occasional solo and duo gigs as a magician or dancer. He got interested in learning whip cracking and wasn't able to find a decent quality vegan-friendly whip, so he figured out how to make himself one; he now has a small side business making and selling custom-designed whips. And he continues to perform sporadically with a Victorian/circus-inspired theatre group. 

Most recently, he's been focusing on auditioning for full-time, professional performance jobs and has had some good experiences. ("Good experiences" meaning that he has made it through to the end of the audition process without getting cut and has been told he is in the hiring pool, but has not yet received any offers.)

He's wildly creative, multi-talented, passionate about acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary to achieve his goals and has only recently turned 21. I feel confident he'll figure out a path that works for him. 

The specifics have changed, but the juggling a million things because he's interested in them is pretty much the same. At least nowadays he drives himself and I no longer have to try and figure out how to squeeze schoolwork in around the edges. Of course, I wasn't working (or at least not much) during those years. Homeschooling and managing transportation and activities for one or two (depending on who was home at the moment) young people was my full-time job. It was plenty, definitely. I was often away from home more hours than was my husband, who was the primary breadwinner. Although I am married, my husband works full time and has some health issues that made it difficult for him to help out a lot during those years. And, like you, I did not have extended family around.

We made it work, though, because my son was/is a person who thrives on that kind of activity, stimulation and challenge.  There is utterly no reason to go down the rabbit hole unless you have a kid who craves or needs it. If your daughters are content with their current level of extracurricular involvement, then you're doing it right. 

Edited by Jenny in Florida

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