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The Detail Blog

Dance Mom Denial

Disclaimer: I am not a dance mom, but I do spend most of my weekdays at a dance studio. For two weeks a year, I’m there daily for Recital Week.   I like to call it “Hell Week.” I also liken it to childbirth, because you swear “never again,” but after you see them on stage, you forget about everything, and can’t wait to do it all over again.   Elle has been dancing for the last 3 years, and here is another disclaimer, she’s not every good at it. Regardless, she loves it, and if we are being honest, she loves the “social aspect” of it.  I’m ok with this.  I love to watch her interact, practice, and learn routines.  I’m certain this will serve her well in other areas of life.  Here are some things I’ve learned in the ‘dance mom’ world…

1.)    The right studio makes all the difference.  Dance Studios are not a ‘one size fits all’ thing, and a studio that is right for your friend’s child may not work for yours.  This also means that the biggest, fanciest, studio with the most awards may not be the best fit for your child.  Consider location; I picked a studio that was close to my shop, home, and Elle’s school.  Weekdays are busy and driving across town to get to dance on time was not an option for me.  I also picked a diverse studio full of children from all different schools. Another major plus was ½ of the students were on some sort of scholarship, and parents worked there in exchange for dance tuition.  I really loved this, and it is probably what I appreciate most about where Elle dances.  I’m not sure if she realizes this even goes on, but I know she will come to an age where she will.

2.)    Starting them young is the best, but occasionally hardest, thing you can do.  I started Elle right before her third birthday. This meant that all the troublesome 2 & 3-year-old drama happened at the time we were starting dance.  Some of her worst behavior (I have my one and only spanking story to insert here another time) happened in the dance studio.  Even living though those rough classes, I’d say start them young.  As Elle grew, she learned to take direction, and around 4, she was very comfortable in a dance studio environment.  There will be difficult classes where it seems like your kid is not listening, and maybe in fact he’s/she’s not, but they are learning how to.  Let the teacher do their thing unless they ask for your help.  I never once went into class with her because I knew once I crossed that bridge, I’d be in every single class practicing my first position with her.  You know your child, but you should also know that you won’t be able to be inside holding their hand in every event.  Sometimes, you must let them experience things on their own (as you watch from a plexi-glass window)

3.)    Make them go and make yourself take them. There will be days when they don’t want to go, and would rather stay home and play, like there are days you would rather do anything else besides sit there and wait 45 minutes. I’m all about taking a day or two off, but there should be consistency.  Things don’t get easier and kids don’t get better by not going, there will be days that they really don’t want to go. However, if you’re fighting them every single class, then it might be time to consider #4…

4.)    Who wants to dance, you or your kid?  As parents, we live through our children. We either try to live what we may have missed as a child, or we live what we want as adults through them.  Does your child really love dance, do they enjoy the environment, and are they happy?  Not everything is about fun, and dance is hard, but for the most part they should be enjoying the experience and getting something from it.  It doesn’t even have to be skill; it can be social skills, memorization, or even just the exercise.  Dance is a great activity, but it’s not the only one, so make sure it’s what your child wants to commit to. If it’s not, it will just make both your lives harder.

 

So, there you have it. I’m not at the fanciest dance studio, but I’m at the right studio for my daughter.  My kid is not naturally talented, but she loves it and we go!  All the cute leotards and tutus make it easier, too!

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