Guide to being a ballet mum

Following on from my post about being a football mum, I thought it would be helpful to share my vast knowledge of being a ballet mum.

Again, this is based purely on my own experiences and may need to be taken with a handful of salt in parts.

The bun is everything. I didn’t get that at first. What’s wrong with a falling-out plait? They can do ballet just as well with it.

They can’t. Don’t argue with the bun. Learn how to do an immaculate bun as soon as possible – get the other mums to teach you, let your daughter watch YouTube videos to learn herself, get your mum round to help. Do whatever it takes, but get that bun right!

Don’t ever cheapen your bun with a *shudder* donut. And make sure you use grips and a net which are the same colour as your daughter’s hair so they are ‘invisible’. And if it needs spray? Be liberal with that Elnett!

It is PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE to look down on and frown at other people’s buns. Unless yours is crap.

Likewise the leotard, the shoes, the socks, the tights. Get them right. There is a uniform. Stick with it! Don’t consider wearing socks or tights that are *shudder* not regulation. Just don’t. You are letting your daughter down, but most of all, you are letting yourself down. And I’m not angry. Just disappointed.

Ballet is a discipline. It can seem a bit old-fashioned. Just go with it. Don’t rebel against it. There is no place for individualism and rebellion in a ballet class. Go and join a street class if you want to be individual.

The teacher will cheerily call her pupils ‘girls’ and will encourage them to be beautiful – beautiful arms, beautiful necks, beautiful smiles. This is nothing to be afraid of. She isn’t saying they’re overweight and should immediately become anorexic, she’s just teaching them to perform.

If you do have the misfortune to go to a body fascist ballet school, get out of there! There are nice ballet schools out there which treat your children well.

They will do exams. Exams are even stricter and more serious than ballet classes. The bun WILL need to be sprayed. They will need to practise at home before their exams (the dancing and the hair).

The ‘practise at home’ music can get a little irritating.

Ballet mums can be a bit snooty and cliquey. If you’re in the clique, lucky you! If you’re not, you might find that your phone is really, really interesting. Or take a book. The other mums might engage in literary discussion with you. But most likely they will be talking about school fees and nannies.

Remember all of that and you too can be a successful ballet mum! Is there anything else you would add?

Ballet shoes, Dancewear Central review

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Hehe this made me giggle imagining you being ultra liberal with the Elnett. I would make a terrible ballet mum, my first thought was to use a donut!

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    • There are mums who use them… I don’t frown on them. Not at all. Nope.
      *I totally do.
      Donuts are totally banned for exams though!

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  2. Ah. I was never a ballet girl but I did do disco and I remember the Elnett for competitions and exams. I would be a rubbish ballet mum, I just cannot be bothered with all that discipline.

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    • Nor could I, for about three weeks. But then I realised how important it is in ballet, plus how important it is to ballet. She is SHOCKED if someone turns up in the wrong tights. She just wouldn’t do it, so there’s no point stressing her out by breaking the rules.

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  3. Haha! This took me back to my childhood ballet days…could almost hear the heavy clunking on an ancient piano whilst I read! My daughter has just started lessons & is already obsessed so am bracing myself for many more years of this!

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    • Good luck! Enjoy it! I’m really proud of my daughter for doing ballet. It is such a beautiful skill to have.

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    • Poor you! I picked it up remarkably quickly, and I’m RUBBISH at hair! My daughter does it herself now, though.

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  4. I think you should have mentioned the shows – right up there with hair terror – but combined with stage make up and inevitably getting up very early to get to the venue! Never thought I would have found myself early on a sunday morning stabbing pins into my daughter’s head and stressing over how much eyeliner is too much from the back of the stalls.

    And spare a thought for the ballet brothers too – my son now has a lot of experience in watching shows that inevitably include (from other troupes) songs from Oliver, Matilda and a dodgy routine to Thriller. Loyal to the late bedtime, he still always tells his sister she was the best!

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    • We don’t really do shows. They’ve done one show just for the school so far and have another next year. Despite the cliquey, private school mums, ours is a very low-pressure, non-competitive sort of ballet school.
      We do shows with our street dance school, though, and that is a VERY long day. I do feel sorry for my sons then as it’s a long show to sit through! Good for your son for telling your daughter she’s the best.

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  5. I think we were obviously lucky with our ballet mums when I danced. They were all quite normal.

    For regional shows where we were performing one ensemble dance, the teacher (she was pretty ancient) would do the make up. We’d all have to stand in a row, and she would go along like a conveyor belt. She didn’t like any of our eyebrows because non of us plucked them….the oldest was only 15 going down to 11 so I’m not surprised we didn’t!

    The funniest was on the hair front was while I was in an exam and my mum was talking to another mum who’s daughter was in the grade below. My hair was a nightmare because it was a bob and never long enough for a bun, so it was tucked into a hair band and sprayed lots. But the other mum was having a nightmare getting her daughter’s curly hair to stay in its bun. My mum said ‘why not use mousse’, The other mum replied ‘mousse? What flavour do you use?’ She’d not heard of hair mousse!

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    • That is very funny about the mousse! 🙂 And I’m not surprised none of you plucked your eyebrows at that age! I still don’t pluck mine now!
      Our ballet school is surprisingly low pressure and non-competitive, despite the cliquey private school mums, so we don’t do competitions or shows with other schools.
      My daughter’s friend has a short bob and every week her mum is trying to stuff it into two of the tiniest little buns!

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  6. Eeek! Can’t believe they charged that much for a show! My daughter is doing a show in spring and we’ve had to pay £15 to cover costume hire (that’s for ballet AND tap) and tickets will be very low price. The teacher is also forever trying to sell us second-hand uniform and shoes to save us spending too much money!
    Glad you found a more relaxed ballet school.

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  7. He he love your last point – flying a little close to the wind there! Oh how I remember the little bows on the ballet shoes that simply HAD to be tucked in, not hanging out. Looks like they no longer even have the bows, or is that just your daughter’s shoes?

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    • In my case, that last point applies more to the tap mums! I think that might just be her shoes, but this is the first time she’s ever had any new ballet shoes, so I’m not really sure!

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  8. Ahh the memories as a ballet daughter, but lol as a parent. Love this post and hope one day I’ll be a ballet mum. I’ll be coming to you for advice x

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    • Thanks very much 🙂 You will be most welcome to come to me for advice! I’m sure you will love being a ballet mum! x

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  9. 13 years! That’s impressive! It’s the tap mums who are the worst for me and I must admit I often wish I was sat in the car. They literally seem to talk about school fees and scholarships and skiing holidays! I just want to shout ‘My son gone into the top grammar school!’ but I just sit there quietly.

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  10. Wow. This was a great post to find tonight. My daughter has been doing ballet for 13 years and is now 16. She wants to be a professional ballerina, and is taking me along for the ride. Most of the time, I really love it. However, it’s lost much of its appeal over the last couple of years when our kitchen was converted into a dance studio during covid lockdowns mainly at dinner times and all of Saturday. Now, we’ve opened up again, I’m not mad keen on driving everywhere and having my weekends swallowed up by competitions. It’s only for another nine months in some ways as she’ll be driving next year but it is demanding. I remember wrestling with the hair when she was younger. Her hair was really fine and was badly knotted and like a birds’ nest and having to get all these knots out for the end of year concert. She ended up wearing her hair in plaits to bed and there’s a special brush you can get for only a few dollars called a Nu brush I think.
    The other thing about dance is that you, they need to be very organised. There’s so much paraphernalia that’s required and there’s always something missing at the last minute before a concert or competition.
    However, all my complaints and grumblings aside, I love watching my daughter dance and she gives me absolute goosebumps. I also love watching everyone else dance and I’ve also attended adult ballet classes myself. I loved that. I can’t explain it because when I look at ballet, it doesn’t look that exciting but it has such magic. I will be complaining when she es her dance school either to go professional or to pursue plan B and become a nurse.
    Best wishes,

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    • Thank you, what a lovely comment!
      Good luck to your daughter with her ballet career, it sounds like she is doing brilliantly.
      My daughter is 16 now too (she was 8 when I wrote the post!) and still dancing. She still loves it and will keep going until she goes to university in 2.5 years’ time, then she will have to decide whether she wants to find another ballet school or take a break from it.

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