Life is better in tutus
What Dance Has Taught My Daughters and My Journey to Becoming a Dance Mom!
Everyone has memories of their childhood — some good, some not so good. When I was 5-years old, I was completely traumatized by my dance class — Okay, so maybe traumatized is a bit of an exaggeration.
Regardless, I remember the experience vividly and with enough intensity that I vowed to never step foot on stage. I was also adamant that I would never ever become a dance mom if I had daughters.
Never say Never…
The year was 1987, costume reveal day. This was it. This was MY moment!
Excitement filled the dance studio with squealing 5-year-olds, eagerly anticipating the preview of their recital costumes. I had visions of beautiful sparkles and fluffy tulle dancing in my head —
Then…what is this?
WHAT IS THIS?
No pink. No purple. No sparkles. No tulle.
Orange, yellow, and brown — stiff and straight.
My fairytale dance vision was shattered — completely shattered!
Parents oohed and ahhed over how adorable their little dancers looked — but when you’re 5-years old, dreaming of beautiful ballerinas and gorgeous dance costumes, and the routine consists of tapping and singing to, “Who Stole the Chicken From the Chicken Chow-Mein” — you just can’t come back from that or forget about it.
Without a doubt, this song — this dance and this COSTUME, oh, the costume, would NOT be politically correct in today’s world…but I digress.
After my dancing dreams were shattered, I refused to dance ever again, and quickly transitioned from dancer to cheerleader — at least with cheer, there are cute uniforms and pom poms.
Years later, I look back and laugh.
What a learning experience.
I did follow through, went on stage, and completed the routine — not exactly steadfast in my refusal to perform.
Despite this stressful dance experience, years later, I have finally admitted that I am a dance mom — and a proud one too, although I may have been in denial until just this past year, gently coaching myself,
“This is the last year my daughters will dance — I am putting my converse clad foot down…no more dance.”
Why? I’m not sure. I was a cheerleader my whole life and have regrets over not trying other sports — although I loved cheering, it consumed my life. I don’t want my 7-year-old and 6-year-old to commit to one activity at such a young age. But with dance, they maintain the flexibility to continue with swim class and lacrosse.
Fast forward 1987 to 2018…Costume reveal day. This was it!
My daughters and their dance moment!
The roles were reversed. I was the mom that was a blubbering mess and my daughters were squealing with excitement and delight. My eyes were sparkling and sprinkling with tears, I mean…sequins. Because YES, my daughters costumes are perfection, complete with tulle, tutus, sparkles, and sequins.
Simply magnificent costumes, amazing choreography, but the BEST part — pure happiness on my daughters’ faces.
I instantly forgot my vow that this was their “last year of dance!”
After getting a sneak peak of their performances, I inquired when registration for the next year would open.
If only my 5-year old self had realized that dance is SO much more than just a pretty costume and a cute dance, I would have stuck with it.
Dance has given my daughters confidence — a trait that is so lacking in our youth and adolescents.
Dance is teaching my daughters how to set and achieve goal — skills that will aid them through life, education, and careers.
Dance is teaching my daughters discipline, perseverance, and focus — character traits needed to excel in life.
Dance is teaching my daughters to handle constructive criticism.
Dance is teaching my daughters good habits, such as staying healthy and active.
The best part about dance? They LOVE it, and they have FUN!
On the first day of dance, parents take pictures and ooh and ahh over their adorable pink leotard and tutu clad cuties — but when the door shuts — ballerinas dance and instructors teach — and they teach so much more than just how to twirl and tap.
I am grateful my daughters have dance in their childhood and I am grateful for the gift of expression, creativity, determination, and discipline.
And I am totally okay calling myself a “Dance Mom”.
Links to other articles written by Casey Daniel: