Regular readers will know my daughter had the chance to audition for the Royal Ballet. I worked through it all in my head – the pressure on my daughter, the fear of failure, the fear of eating disorders, the time and pressure on a family already drowning in extra-curricular activities… I blogged about it. And my brilliant readers persuaded me that we should follow our hearts.
If we never try, we’ll never know. Yes, most likely she wouldn’t get in. But she would still have had the experience. And maybe, just maybe, she might have got in. I could have dealt with the other stuff. I would have made it fit in with the boys and football. I would have boosted her confidence if she felt down or worried about anything.
So I started to fill the form in. I would need her teacher’s signature. I also needed to take photos of her in certain positions to send off with the form. I emailed the teacher to ask if she would check the photos were as good as possible.
And she replied and said she couldn’t audition.
After all the soul searching, I felt deflated and upset. It wasn’t a decision we’d taken lightly. A lot of thought had gone into it.
I realised there is so much I don’t know about ballet. It is the teacher’s decision, not mine, if my daughter auditions or not. She had already decided they weren’t to audition. She’d made it clear when they went to the session with the Royal Ballet that it was a taster session, not an audition. I knew that, I wasn’t expecting an audition.
But we’d walked into that room and every single parent had been given a form to fill in encouraging their child to audition. There had been a question and answer session afterwards in which all children had been encouraged to audition. So of course I thought she could audition, and we’d taken a difficult decision that she should go for it.
Now I had to break it to her that she wouldn’t be going for it after all that.
I’d hoped she might take it well, but I didn’t expect it. And why should she?
She dissolved into tears and then started ranting. It wasn’t fair. She’d been so exited about it. It was her decision, not the teacher’s. She knew she probably wouldn’t get in, but she wanted to try. If she got in, she’d manage, it wouldn’t be too much pressure on her…
It was exactly everything I’d thought myself, but there was nothing we could do. A decision that we thought was ours to make had been taken out of our hands.
We could apply anyway, my daughter suggested. But we couldn’t. The form needs her teacher’s signature.
I doubt my daughter’s teacher realises how confident and self-assured she is. How if she sets out to do anything she will always be the best, through sheer hard work, determination and dedication.
My daughter was never doing ballet again. If she couldn’t try for the Royal Ballet she wasn’t going to go to her ballet class with the teacher who had stopped her auditioning. And she CERTAINLY wasn’t going to tap.
15 minutes later she said: ‘I’d better get ready for tap’. And she did.
She’s a resilient little soul. Sort of.
She came home from tap and cried and shouted right until bedtime. Even in bed she was still telling me how angry she was. I could totally understand that. Her anger was directed at her dance teacher, but mine was at the breakdown in communication between the Royal Ballet, the dance teacher and us. If she’s not supposed to audition, why give us a form?!
I’m pleased to say she’s just about bounced back from it now. If she’s determined (and I just know she is!), she needs to channel her anger into getting even better and proving she can do it.
So the dream is over for now. But only for now. My little girl will make it happen in the future.