Forum: Irish / Irish

To Quit Dancing or Not To Quit Dancing?
By emmie113
On Mon Nov 18, 2013 07:02 PM

I've been thinking a lot about my dance career and where it will take me in the long run. I don't think I want to quit dancing but I feel like I need to for a lot of reasons.

1. My dance school is nearly two hours away and we can't afford the three trips there per week. My family is already very financially unstable. We just can't afford it. I've already had to sacrifice going to my first Oireachtas because of money problems.

2. I just turned 16 and a lot of new things are making their way into my mind, like, getting a job and preparing for college (I've skipped a couple of grades along the way and I plan on starting my core classes next year sometime).

3. I'm starting to feel like maybe dancing isn't going to help me in the long run. What if it's just holding me back?

The biggest reason why I don't want to quit is because with Irish dancing, for the first time, I've felt like a belong somewhere. I've never been a popular or sporty kid so being a part of a group for once has made me feel more important. It's like Irish dance has given me an identity. What if, when I quit, that identity goes away and I can't call myself a dancer anymore? I'll just be another uninteresting person. So, I guess this really boils down to finding myself and self worth and all that garbage. Really, dancing is the closest thing to a talent I really have. Finding another hobby/talent is going to be so hard.

Another thing I worry about is what my teachers and fellow dancers will think. I've missed the last 3 dance classes and I was planning on going back to class tomorrow, but now I'm not so sure. What will I say to them? If I decide to quit, what will they think? I'm so afraid that I'll disappoint them, or worse, be seen as a quitter. I've always prided myself on sticking with my commitments, especially when the going gets tough. I've wanted to quit dancing many times, but that was always because I felt like I wasn't good enough, and I always sucked it up and kept going. But this time is different.

I just don't know what to do anymore. I've tried forgetting about all this but I can't. I've gotten so depressed and anxious from all of this and just made myself sick thinking about it. I need to make a decision very soon.

If any of you have gone through something similar or might have some advice for me, that would be amazingly helpful.

Thanks, guys.

3 Replies to To Quit Dancing or Not To Quit Dancing?

re: To Quit Dancing or Not To Quit Dancing? (karma: 4)
By TheMidlakeMusemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Nov 19, 2013 07:28 AM
Edited by TheMidlakeMuse (78507) on 2013-11-19 07:41:32
You remind me so much of myself at 16. I saw you posted this on the Voys, so you must be really desperate! ;) This is a lot of ground to cover, but I'll try to address your concerns in order:

1. I understand what it was like to be under financial pressure at that age. My dad lost his job when I was 16, but we still continued dancing and feising. Your parents love you and obviously want you to stick with it, despite the financial circumstances--they wouldn't be driving you two hours each way if they didn't. You are not less of a dancer if you only go once a week. Some schools don't even offer multiple days of classes. My school just bumped up to three nights a week, and there are champ dancers in my school who don't come all three days--including a girl who lives about two hours away. It obviously isn't feasible for her to come on a Thursday night when she lives so far away. It doesn't make her any less of an Open champ and Worlds contender.

To help out, even if you can't come three days a week to class, make every class count. Really work, because even if you're at the studio, it can be easy to socialize during that time instead of practicing with focus and determination. Can you babysit or do odd jobs around your neighborhood? I was part-time nannying at your age for a family that lived down the street. I paid for my own solo dress and started paying for lessons and shoes after 16. Can you offer to help out with gas money, tuition or shoes?

2. Lots of people are able to balance school, work and dance, and you absolutely can be one of those people. I work full time and dance 3 days a week. I did two years of college while I was dancing, but other girls in my school never took a break and are still regularly dancing and feising throughout college. You DO NOT have an expiration date when you turn 18.

3. I'm not sure what you mean by this. Do you mean that you feel you may be missing out on "normal" teen experiences because you're so dance-focused? Or are you thinking that this might not be a career for you, so why bother? On the former--my sister tells all the girls in the school who will listen never to quit dance. When she wasn't dancing, she ended up getting into trouble and lost a few years of her life. Dance provided her an outlet that kept her focused and if she had been working towards healthy goals, she wouldn't have been running with such a bad crowd. We're now both in our twenties, and being mentors to other dancers in their teens is one of the most rewarding things we've ever done. And dance does not have to turn into a career or a world championship to be rewarding. Odds are I will never qualify for the worlds but I will treasure the time I've spent with my classmates and teachers forever.

Why do you want to quit? Your insecurities don't really matter. I mean, they do! But hear me out. The circumstances are working now, so I don't think they matter as much as you think they do.

What do you REALLY feel about quitting? All I'm getting from you is what other people think. I haven't seen anything in your message about liking or disliking dance. Do you feel sad at the thought of not seeing your teachers and friends every week? Would you miss working towards your goals? Are the students and teachers at your studio creating a supportive, nurturing environment? Keep in mind that we ALL have bad days where we think we're utterly terrible and not making any progress.

My personal experience: like you, I didn't really have any other active hobbies and I quit dance when I was 19. I just couldn't rest until I came back, and I ended up doing that when I was 24. When I walked out the door of the studio, I'm not sure my teacher thought I was coming back. He's seen a lot of people come and go over the years. But when I came back it had nothing to do with what my teacher thought, or the girls that were around when I was dancing thought. It was ME who wanted this so badly. And I am so glad I came back.

Whether or not you continue dancing, you are not just another "uninteresting person". You are you, and the only kind of you! We are not defined by our hobbies or interests, and it would be kind of a boring world if it was.
re: To Quit Dancing or Not To Quit Dancing?
By tinydancer1988
On Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:28 AM
The fact that you're debating this so hard means that deep down, you probably really love dance. The practical part of your brain is telling you to focus on school, worry about the money, worry about the time, etc. Your heart is telling you that you love to dance, you love your team, you care about what your teachers think, and you don't want to leave.

This isn't an easy one- you have compelling reasons to stay, and to leave. Focusing on school and a career becomes a major focus at your age, and it is extremely stressful when your family has the burden of money problems. Have you tried talking to your parents and asking their opinion? I know that if I had asked my parents, they would never have wanted me to stop dancing unless we were on the verge of bankruptcy (granted, we weren't rich. We never took a vacation that wasn't a day trip to a feis, and my mother made all of my dresses because we couldn't afford to buy them- we were a very involved dance family, and we were resourceful).

As for school and work, it may not directly correlate with what you want to do "when you grow up," but colleges really, REALLY look at extracurricular activities. Something like Irish Dance may stick out to them. Because of the high level of passion and dedication, many Irish dancers write about it in their college essays. Colleges and careers look for passion, commitment, the ability to learn quickly, teamwork, mentoring ability, and all of that shows when you're an Irish dancer (in fact, many of us learned those traits from doing Irish dance).

So while you may not be jigging on the job, they will look highly at you as a candidate if you exhibit the skills that you learned from your classes.

idk, it just seems from the turmoil and the passion in your post that your heart is not ready to leave dance. Don't forget- your dance teacher is human. If you have a serious talk with her/him and let them know that you are in a financial downspot, they may have financing, discounts, teaching opportunities, scholarships, etc that can help you out. Even if you tell them that you can only afford the class to go to one class a week, as long as you are working hard at home and showing improvements, they shouldn't mind.

I would talk it out with your parents and you dance teacher. The main problem here seems to be financial. I wouldn't even worry about the "getting a job and preparing for college" because that will all happen, and dancing will not get in the way.

And don't stress too much- dance is supposed to be fun! If you've got this much to stress out about/worry about, you should be able to go to dance class and fly and feel free for a few hours!

*ramble over*
re: To Quit Dancing or Not To Quit Dancing?
By TheMidlakeMusemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Nov 20, 2013 07:52 PM
OP, how have you been? I've been thinking about you and hope all is well.

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