Dear American Girl,
I have taken dance for many years. I'm good at it, but I'm also ready to try something new, such as horseback riding. My mom says I have to choose one or the other. What if I make the wrong choice? And how do I tell my dance friends that I'm thinking of quitting?
Here's your advice:
I took dance for six or seven years. Now I am taking karate, and I really miss dance. My advice would be to see if you can try out a few sessions of horseback riding and find out if you like it before you sign up. You also could try horseback riding this summer and go back to dance in the fall. Good luck with your choice.
-Alaina, age 10, Wisconsin
Ask yourself a few questions before you decide to try something else. Do you love dance? And what are you trying to accomplish in dance? If you are just doing dance to see your friends, it might be OK to try something else instead. But if you had a big goal in dance that you haven't reached yet, you might want to stick with it.
-Kat, age 14, Colorado
I've had a similar experience. I have been performing at my local theater since I was three. But later I got into other performing arts such as modern dance, singing, and writing drama. One thing to try is a break year from dance so that you can try a new skill. If after that year you feel drawn back to dance, go ahead! But you might love that new skill. Then you could tell your friends that even though your interests have changed, you are still friends. Don't let phases get in the way of friendships!
-Lydia, age 10, South Carolina
Say to your friends, "I really like dance, but I'm ready for a change." If they are true friends, they'll understand and accept your decision.
-Abby, age 13, South Carolina
If you've been taking dance for so long, I can see why you might want to try something different. If you're searching for a new activity, you might enjoy something similar to dance, such as rhythmic gymnastics.
-Sage, age 11, Utah
If you do choose horseback riding, you don't need to think, I'm losing all of my dance friends. Instead, look at it as gaining horseback-riding friends!
-Gerda, age 12, England
Don't let anyone's opinion sway your own. You can ask your mom what she thinks and ask your friends what they think, but don't let them decide for you. This is ultimately your decision.
-Tara, age 12, Michigan
Getting interested in new activities is normal when girls get older. Think of your different interests to help yourself choose. Do you like to read? Sign up for a book club. Do you like making a difference? Join an earth club. Whether you keep dancing or do something new, think carefully about your choice.
-Maria, age 12, Texas
It is always good to try new things. Don't think of it as quitting—think of it as finding a new adventure!
-Paige, age 14, Pennsylvania
When telling your friends that you're thinking of quitting dance class, remind them that you'll see them outside of dance and that it shouldn't change your friendships. They might be a little disappointed, but if they're true friends, they'll understand and be happy for you if you're happy with your new hobby.
-AvaRose, age 12, Illinois
Don't think of this as making a life-changing decision. If you don't like horseback riding, you can come back to dance. Tell your friends you just want to try something new and are taking a break.
-Cinnamon, age 13, Florida
Go with your heart. Why do you think you want to try something new? If it's because you're having second thoughts about dancing, then I think you should try horseback riding. To me, it sounds as if one of the main reasons you want to keep dancing is that you're good at it. But are you having fun, too? Remember, there is no right or wrong answer. You should choose the activity you think you will enjoy more.
-Halle, age 10, Arizona