Hey ‘Dance Mum’ or ‘Dance Dad’!
If your child is new to dancing, being called a ‘Dance mum’ or ‘Dance dad’ might feel like a strange title to take on. If you’ve seen the TV show Dance Moms, you probably shudder at the thought of being that pushy when it comes to your child’s success (not to mention those costumes, but that’s covered in another blog)!
But what does it really mean to be a parent of a young dancer? Yes, there’s the driving to and from the studio. There’s also the purchasing of leotards and shoes, quick snacks inhaled in the back seat on the way to dancing, and wrestling after-school tangles into something resembling a ballet bun.
But what else? How about the delighted hugs when your child sees their dancing friends? Or the smiles when they perfect a cartwheel or turn? Perhaps it’s the bliss they feel when they are free to express themselves to music, and they can leap, twist and flip any stresses of the day away.
When you chose to enrol your child in dance, you were not only honouring their desire to express themselves artistically and physically, but you also gave them the opportunity to learn skills that will be valuable throughout their lives.
And what are those skills? Teamwork, for one. Dancers work in ensembles and everyone must play their part for the routine to work. Perseverance is another one. In this ‘need-it-now’ world, kids often expect to be good at things straight away. It’s important to learn how to persevere, and in dancing they often have to work hard to master a particular step or stretch. And finally, courage and confidence are gained when they overcome any nerves and step out to perform.
So, shake off any misconceptions about being a ‘dance parent’ and be proud that you have chosen to enhance your child’s life with dance.
Michelle Macwhirter is a writer, marketing coordinator and seasoned ‘dance mum’ to Emily (9 years) and Isla (7 years). She worked in the performing arts industry in marketing for over ten years and is an avid fan of dance performance and musical theatre.