Forum: Advice / Secrets PG-13

Time to quit dancing?
By Anonymousmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:03 AM

I have been dancing for 20+ years in a range of styles and am competing and doing okay in Highland competitions. I know I will never win a championship and I'm okay with that. I'm hearing from my family that now that I'm almost 26 it's time for me to grow up and stop dancing. I teach in a pretty rough neighbourhood and dance is my stress release. I also know that due to my thyroid deciding to "give up" on me that I no longer have a "Dancer's Body." I'm on the shorter side and a little rounder then most dancers in my area and am the roundest at my studio. I eat healthy and work out 6 days a week with 4 highland classes, 2 ballet classes and 2 sessions with a personal trainer.

I'm wondering if after 22 years as a dancer my mom is right and it's time for me to cut my losses and walk away. Dance is a big part of who I am. I have taken a 1.5 year break before because of a car accident and those were the most miserable 18 months of my life, I didn't feel like me until I started dancing again just over 4 years ago. I'm finally feeling strong and in control of my body right now and am scared that if I stop dancing again I will lose that progress.

What should I do, should I quit all together or take a few weeks off over the summer and see how I feel?

Thanks for " listening to me complain",

14 Replies to Time to quit dancing?

re: Time to quit dancing?
By Anonymousmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue Jul 04, 2017 02:16 AM
If dance is so important to your sense of well-being, then you should most definitely not quit! It does not matter that you're not a Champion, very few people actually are. But dance is a fabulous form of exercise, both physically and mentally.

Perhaps (and I'm really just guessing) your parents feel that the costs involved have not materialised into Championship trophies etc. That is okay, dance can be expensive. But I'm sure that you'll most likely no longer outgrow your outfits so that annual expense is gone. Can you perhaps also contribute towards the costs of classes and competitions?

If the 18 months you were unable to dance made your that miserable, I think you should really consider keeping it up. Some people do think dance is for kids only, and it's tough to go against that.

Good luck with your decision!
re: Time to quit dancing? (karma: 3)
By hummingbird
On Tue Jul 04, 2017 08:27 AM
Almost fifty years old here and I'm still a dancer, I always will be. Everyone is allowed a hobby!

Some people fish, they hook a small unsuspecting creature out of the water with a hook, put a large hole in it's mouth in the process, weigh it, photograph it and throw it back in the water. Some people golf, they wander around a small park hitting balls and periodically losing them, in most cases it's a nice scenic walk on the way to the bar. Some people quilt, they take a perfectly good piece of fabric and cut it into little pieces and then sew it back together again to make another big piece of fabric.

Who are we or your family to judge what is a good hobby and what is a pointless hobby?

You enjoy your dancing and from what you've said it has definite health benefits as well. Don't give it up, if anything consider taking it to another level, have you thought about becoming a dance instructor? Then it'll be a paying hobby.
re: Time to quit dancing? (karma: 2)
By CinderEmma
On Wed Jul 05, 2017 05:01 AM
Edited by CinderEmma (277630) on 2017-07-05 05:20:24 Rewriting so not as "wordy"
Edited by CinderEmma (277630) on 2017-07-05 05:38:56 Clarification to isolate unproven facts
Edited by CinderEmma (277630) on 2017-07-05 05:47:33 Rewriting so not as "wordy"
Edited by CinderEmma (277630) on 2017-07-05 05:54:36 Shorter post
Edited by CinderEmma (277630) on 2017-07-05 05:59:47 Final spelling and grammar check
I know mothers always want what is best for their children (hopefully), but you are almost 26 years old now, and an adult capable of making your own decisions. (Unless dancing negatively impacts your mother (i.e. she's paying for your expenses or driving you around to your classes), it's not up to her, and she needs to understand that.

You also seemed a little concern about not having a dancer's body. Trust me, if you've danced for over twenty years, you are most likely in very good shape even though your body may not be as young as it used to be. (Always remember that NOTHING GOOD EVER comes from comparing your body with somebody else's body.) But because of dance you are HEALTHIER, and you mentioned that you "finally feel in control of your body". I think these are all marvelous things and a perfectly logical reason to continue dancing.

Finally, I've danced for nineteen years, so if your body is anything similar to mine, you're probably not going to lose twenty plus years of progress by taking a week or two off; (I know I"m opening myself up for "Quoted words from Emma's response", followed by "how and why Emma might be wrong", so just know that this is all based on MY body, not your body.) You may lose the progress you made from the last few days, but as long as you continue to eat right, and continue to get enough excercise, I think you will be okay.

In my opinion, the more time you take off from dance, the more progress you will lose and the faster that rate of decline gets,) Listen to your body, and if you start to feel like you are no longer in control of your body, then it's time to start dancing again. The only time you should NOT dance is if you have an injury.

Dancing is a most beautiful art, and the amount of work that you have put into it and the happiness that resulted from that hard work is something that cannot just be turned off. But in the end, ultimately, the choice is yours and yours alone.
re: Time to quit dancing?
By Anonymousmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
Original Poster
On Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:07 PM
My parents do not pay for classes or costumes. They pay one completion a year because it's the one they come and watch. They fell like I spend too much time at dance. But my classmates are also some of my best friends.

I have teacher and I had a good talk after class about my insecurities.she knows how I am feeling and said that my aunt was the same at my age, my teacher worked with both my mom and my aunt. My teacher pointed out that my endurance and strength are good and getting better. We know that I'm a late comer to highland, I started after I finished high school and that's why I'm not a champion yet.

I'm just worried that I'm being judge for how I look onstage, my outfits fit my body well and are custom made for me, what I didn't have made professionally my grandma who is an amazing seamstress has done.

How do I feel better about my body onstage?
re: Time to quit dancing? (karma: 2)
By ChristinePremium member
On Fri Jul 07, 2017 09:37 PM
If you enjoy dancing, and have spent the better part of your life doing it, PLEASE don't quit because of something as meaningless as awards.

The joy you derive from dancing is far more valuable.

Years ago there was a prime time soap opera on Friday nights...Dallas. In one episode, one of the characters was voicing her own insecurities to another and the listener remarked, shocked, "How can you say that???!!! You were Miss Texas!" The actress replied, "Yes, but I wasn't Miss America".

The more you base your own worth on a score card, the more insecure you will feel.

I too am OLD. I danced from when I was almost too young to remember until I was in my mid 20's and then gave it up for too many years for the worst reasons. Money, the belief that I was too old, I was never good enough to be a professional, etc, etc. Then I had children and money was a bigger issue, and the belief that I was too old was more ingrained, and time was precious. Additionally, I had been away for so long, I lost my splits, hadn't worn pointe shoes in decades, and oh yeah... I was too old.

Stupid, stupid, STUPID, ME.

When I went back, I started from the beginning and discovered I made YEARS of progress in a few months. I eventually went back en pointe, wore out a few pairs of tap shoes, and was invited to dance with a group of retired professionals, who were surprised to find out I wasn't "One of them", based on my dancing in class.

When I think of how much I loved to dance, how much I missed it when I wasn't dancing, and how happy it made me when I started again, I could KICK MYSELF for ever leaving the dance world.

If you enjoy dancing, dance. If you feel yourself getting stale in your current venue, try a different dance form just for the fun of it. I know many women who were professional ballerinas who eventually moved into Modern Dance and were very happy there.

If you think you need a break, I urge you to take some kind of class or workshop once a week, just to keep your strength and flexibility.

Please don't let the outside world tell you where you heart should lie. It's your heart. Treat it tenderly.


Keep On Dancing*
re: Time to quit dancing?
By Anonymousmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sat Jul 08, 2017 06:35 AM
Well, I AM over 50, and I am still dancing--with no illusions what so ever that I will ever want to perform, let alone do any type of competition....and I'm still doing it on a total hip replacement to boot! Dance is a wonderful hobby as was mentioned earlier. I would not give it up for anything! We all need hobby's to keep our minds stimulated, to stay active, and to take a break from the stressors in our everyday lives.
re: Time to quit dancing? (karma: 1)
By SarahdncrPremium member
On Sat Jul 08, 2017 06:41 AM
Oh...the above was from silly O'l me. I forgot to uncheck that anonomous button.
re: Time to quit dancing? (karma: 1)
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jul 10, 2017 07:10 PM
I hate to point it out, but if your parents are paying for it, they get a vote in it. And they are, at least a little, cause you said that they pay for the competition they attend, right?

So they're allowed an opinion.

So how much of a vote do they get? Do you still live at home? They paying your groceries, or student loans, or whatever, where they'd have a stake in where the money you have is going?

As for the body. Have some confidence in yourself. Yeah, being short and having thyroid problems is a rough draw (I'm also a member of that club!) But control what you can control. Eat well, get some exercise (try a few other things, maybe a couple videos from the library or whatever, just to show mom and dad that you're diversifying), pick out a hairstyle that makes you feel the hottest, work on your makeup skills until you're a hottie, and go own it. I just danced in our recital for the first time in two years, and I did exactly that. I felt so smokin' out there, I didn't even care. You can be a dancing hottie, and not be a size two! 😉
re: Time to quit dancing?
By Anonymousmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
Original Poster
On Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:40 PM
I do still live at home and pay rent and groceries as well as paying off my student loans. I work with a personal trainer 2x a week for an hour in a small group session with my cousin. I let my parents pay for the one comp that they do because it's one I really don't enjoy going to and only go because it was my moms favourite when she danced and she likes going to that one.

I did manage to place in a championship last weekend 4 6th places for 5th runner up! It's the best I've ever done in a highland competition.
re: Time to quit dancing? (karma: 2)
By boleyngrrl
On Tue Jul 11, 2017 01:10 PM
First off, congrats on this past weekend! That's great!

As far as leaving... I'm currently coming off my first major in 4 years because I couldn't take not dancing anymore. My "mini-retirement" was a combination of a school who didn't really want an older dancer who wasn't going to place at majors/local feiseanna (most of the time) but wouldn't actually come out and say it, injuries and health issues, and academic pressure. Coming back was great because I knew I was doing it for myself and only for myself. Dancing when you're older is not the same as when you're a kid. We have jobs, school, rent, "grown up stuff." So when we go to dance it's for ourselves. The above posters are right--results can matter, but they shouldn't be your reason for dancing. From what it sounds like, they're not, but they're still really playing into it.

The only person you're competing with onstage is yourself.

You can't control placements. You can't control how the judges think or what they look at. So your goal, every time, should be to walk off that stage happy with how you did. If you have more goals (pointing feet, hitting that one move you just never seem to get, whatever), great! But try not to balance how you did solely on placements. That's a way to feel better about yourself onstage. If you stake everything on that placement and don't get it, then you might forget how great your dances actually felt.

If you're feeling really burned out, take some time and figure it out. But if the only reason you're really quitting is because of pressure from your parents and some self doubt based on subjective score... Don't quit. Not because of that. If there's other stuff you can't share then yeah obviously that plays in, but to take yourself out of exercise and away from your friends will probably not be great since it's your stress reliever.

Hope this helps a bit and I really do hope you keep dancing.
re: Time to quit dancing?
By ChristinePremium member
On Tue Jul 11, 2017 06:02 PM
anonymous wrote:

I did manage to place in a championship last weekend 4 6th places for 5th runner up! It's the best I've ever done in a highland competition.

CONGRATULATIONS! With or without this award, you are a winner! Don't stop now!

Keep On Dancing*
re: Time to quit dancing?
By Anonymousmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:33 PM
It sounds like there are a couple of different issues going on here.

One is feeling that dancing is not a reasonable hobby to have as an adult. I felt similarly at around the same age; I loved highland but kept thinking that surely it was time to stop? Now, 10 years later, I'm still dancing, still loving it, and MUCH less worried about feeling like it's silly. ;)

Also, I don't know where you're located, but consider the fact that the current and multi-time world champion, Marielle Lespérance, is older than you, as were many of the 21&over finalists at the Canadian championships a few weeks ago. These are serious dancers with adult lives (Marielle, for example, has a master's degree in physics: see . . .; others in that age category have included NICU nurses and pharmacists). There are also increasing numbers of adult performance groups (Shot of Scotch, Change of Step, Lochanna Móra, etc.), indicating that there are more and more of us who want to continue dancing as adults! So, you're definitely not alone.

Another is whether you are physically suited to dancing. Given that you're doing four (*!) highland classes a week, AND ballet and personal training, you're clearly in great shape! You're also clearly improving (congrats on your results!). So there's nothing that indicates that you aren't suited for highland dancing. Indeed, it's one of the most "forgiving" dance forms I know of...people of LOTS of different physical body types are very successful at highland dancing. It sounds like you have a good relationship with your teacher; maybe you can have her promise to be honest with you if she thinks you are likely to make a fool of yourself on stage?

Finally, there's the issue of your parents. It doesn't sound like they are particularly financially invested in your dancing, so I don't think they get much of a say there. You live with them, but as long as you are following their rules about payments, helping out with chores, etc., then they don't really get a say in how you spend your extra time and money. Of course, I'm guessing that you don't want to make them angry or disrespect them, but you've been given a number of good points here to use to explain your position.

The bottom line is...if it makes you happy, keep on dancing!
re: Time to quit dancing?
By Anonymousmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
Original Poster
On Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:57 AM
It's good to know that I'm not alone in the having an adult life away from dance category. I teach grades 4 and 5 and am working on a masters degree in math education. ITs interesting to hear that there are others in the more scientific fields and doing "adult jobs", as in my studio of our adult class I'm the only one who's done any post secondary education. my undergraduate degree is in engineering then I wasn't happy and knew I couldn't do that for the rest of my life so I got my post baclauret teaching degree.

My teacher and I have a good relationship. She's pretty honest with me about what I should enter and when im best to sit one out, we even pick and choose which dances I'll do when there's 8 on a particular day. I rarely compete my hornpipe or jig as I have yet to master those so we work them in class but are waiting until I feel more confident with them to do them every time their offered. When we have 8 dances in a day my teacher and I tend to pick 6 or 7 unless I'm pretty confident with all 8. We tend to avoid many of the larger championships and when ever possible do pre championships, restricted premier or premier b. We know that 90% of the time I'm just going to dance and preform.

I love preforming! I tell my mom that for me to dance with out preforming or competing is like my sister going to practice but never playing in an actual soccer game. My mom doesn't understand my love of preforming and always hated it herself. She's telling me to take my exams to measure my growth but to avoid being on stage. I'm starting to wonder if she's projecting some of her own stage fright and worry about being good enough as a performer on to me. It began when I started Highland with her teacher ( now mine), she's the one that helped me find my teacher. According to my teacher my mom was one of those dancers that could spend hours practicing and do it beautifully in class but she would get on stage and couldn't hold it together and as a result never really placed.
re: Time to quit dancing? (karma: 1)
By kinsidhe
On Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:16 AM

You are definitely not alone in the "adult life outside of dance". Every adult dancer in my class has some sort of Post Graduate degree/education. We are teachers, accountants, veterinarians, engineers, managers, etc. Take heart, highland wont take away from your life as a productive adult, in my world I've only ever seen it add to it!

I've read all your posts here and everything in them says to me: You do not want to quit, you want to keep dancing! If that is the case, then please-Keep dancing!

As far as worrying about your body type I can only urge you to take hold of just how wonderful it is you can dance. I know having a thyroid issue can bring it's own challenges-I am a Highland dancer with thyroid disease and dysautonomia among other issues,I firmly believe dance Helps not hurts. Movement heals! Please remember: If you have a body and you dance...then you have a dancer's body! They come in all shapes and sizes and abilities and they are all valid. Love that body of yours, cherish it and take care of it because that is what has carried you, your entire life! It is what has allowed you to dance, allowed you to interact with the world, despite it having challenges like illness and/or injury.

I know it can be difficult when those who are close to you may offer doubts or may not support your path, especially when they are family. Please do not let other people's doubts become your limitations. Everyone's path through this world is unique to them. Sometimes we travel along ones that are well trodden by those who have gone ahead and sometimes we veer off and find our own way around-you have to choose where you put your feet and how you will go. It seems to me like you've done a really good job of it so far. Trust yourself and you will find your balance.

And lastly, congratulations on your achievements in Highland. The competitive side can be tough sometimes. I know! I am usually the only one in my group who does Not place at all-time after time, but I love to try and I love this dance form and all its challenges so I keep doing it, because for me, to not do it would leave me feeling bereft. If you love it, do it. If it harms none, and pleases you, Whatever it is-then do it.

Life is too short to give some of it away to those who have one of their own already.

I wish you all the best!


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