Friday 13: I Am Not A Dance Mom

Reagan has been dancing professionally for two years now. Wait a minute. Did I just write that? Cause that’s what it feels like. The dance “academy” she attends is the only thing going around these parts, so if she wants to take dance, it’s got to be at this place. And they take dance seriously. And they breed parents to take dance seriously as well. And they’re very good at what they do.***(see bottom of post)

Think I jest? Let me cite some examples.

  • They hold their recital at the college performing arts theater because they need that much seating for the audience.
  • The recital takes two days.
  • The recital takes three different performances to get all the acts in.
  • They sell tickets online now because in previous years the line for tickets would stretch around the building and last literally all day.
  • This year, the online ticket company sold over 2,000 seats within the first 30 minutes. I did not stutter with the 0 key.
  • It would be advisable for some families to take out small loans to be able to afford the dance season. I just did a rough calculation and we spent close to $1,000 this year on the dance “world”. Wouldn’t this money be better used feeding the hungry? Wouldn’t this money be better used feeding ourselves?

Gone are the innocent days of sticking your kid in a dance class and then going to the class on the last day to watch what they’ve learned. Gone are the days of wearing whatever shoes and outfit are on that day to a dance class that may be a church gymnasium on another day. That is so low tech people. These are the days of Marley floors in classrooms. Testy floors that can only handle dance shoes, in classrooms full of 6 year olds! Gone are the days of innocent girls staying innocent until they actually become women.  These are the days where girls as young as six are learning to shake their chests and butts because it’s “dance”. I’m almost embarrassed for Du to have to watch it–a “family” show where you have kids showing and shaking their t&a and getting applauded for it. Reagan will not be doing any of those dances.

As if I haven’t listed enough reasons above as to why I am definitely not a dance mom, here are 13 reasons why I’m bucking the establishment and am rebelling about being a dance mom:

  1. I do not live vicariously through my daughter. I have no need to see her succeed in the lime light because I never did.
  2. My daughter’s life is not dance.
  3. My life is not dance.
  4. I actually think there are more important things to pay for than a $50 costume that’s poorly constructed in the first place and will only be worn seriously once. (Yet I did it)
  5. I don’t care whether or not my daughter looks better or dances better than all the other girls in the class.
  6. I don’t care if my daughter has a hole in her tights
  7. I don’t care if my daughter doesn’t have her hair in a bun
  8. I don’t make my daughter practice daily before the recital. I don’t make my daughter practice at all.
  9. I don’t take the recital seriously. Or as seriously as I should.
  10. I don’t want to be back stage running things myself.
  11. I don’t know everything about dance and offer the teacher pointers when I think they’ve got it wrong.
  12. I don’t even sit in the waiting room and watch my daughter through the mirrored glass during her class.
  13. I already micromanage my daughter’s life enough. Why do it in something that is a hobby to her and not a lifestyle?

Now, that being said, I should point out that I love my daughter and am fiercely proud of her. I’m serious about seeing her have a good time and letting her know that she has my 100% support in her endeavors. For that reason I was one of the first 2,000 people online to buy tickets. And I even complained about the stupid ticket company who wouldn’t reward me for being one of the “first in line” online by giving me good seats (they give tickets out randomly so Joe Blow who went in hours later could have gotten better seats). I will be one of the moms with a camera in one hand and a video recorder in the other. I do that when she’s just swinging on the swingset though. I will knock someone out if they try to stand up in the way of one of my cameras. And I guess I will be forking over those big bucks next year if Reagan wants to take dance again. I’ll do it kicking and screaming all the way. Because I am not a dance mom.

****After moving to two different states and being a part of several difference dance studios I have to say, the one I reference here is very good. The staff is competent and dedicated and, honestly, they cannot control how the parents act. As it was my first experience with a dance studio, and me not being a dance mom, I was initially taken aback. Now, I would send my girls back there in a heartbeat…except for the t&a part. I still have an issue with that and would be reticent to allow my daughters to shake their stuff, no matter how good the studio is.

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12 thoughts on “Friday 13: I Am Not A Dance Mom

  1. My little sister and I took dance lessons when we were young at a pretty competitive studio. I was mostly interested in gymnastics/tumbling, but we took EVERYTHING (tap, ballet, jazz, etc.). I don’t miss those days. The other girls were rotten… mean. So were their mothers. Mariel and I both left the dancing world and continued on in the BEST SPORT EVER… swimming 🙂 We joined the city team and swam every summer for years and years and years. Now those were good times. I hope my kids enjoy swimming and of course Marching Band, because those two activities combined = good people 🙂

  2. Melissa Garrett says:

    When my oldest daughter was three years old, we enrolled her in tap/ballet because we thought it would be “cute” and “fun.” But oh my goodness! Even at THAT age, the instructors are SO serious about it. Of course, Hannah was the one always doing her own thing. After a few months, we dropped the class. We never did stay long enough for the recital, but how you described it sounds exactly like how it is here.

    We also dropped gymnastics when Hannah was invited to be on the competitive team. She didn’t want to compete; she wanted to have fun. Plus, we didn’t want gymnastics to run our lives.

    Now Hannah’s into the violin, and she loves it!

  3. Good for you, Vicki! “Supporting” and “pushing” your kids to
    do things are not synonymous. That’s something that all too many parents confuse.

    Reagan is a lucky girl. 🙂 Just keep on dancin’, Sweetie!

  4. Grandma Dee says:

    You don’t agonize over the placement of your star even though you know she’s the center of the universe? You don’t keep reinforcing the fact that she is really the best dancer in the class and it was the others that were off beat and out of step? Are you letting her know that it is honorable to be a part of the corps and not The Star? Oh man, I hope it’s not too late to cancel the order for that rhinestone Dance Mom pin that in some cases should read Psycho Dance Mom.

  5. bummer that it’s only the psycho academy of artiste dancing in your area. i remember taking dance from ‘miss beth’ in a trailer in fort valley, ga. good times. but i took it seriously, i guess, because when they told me to turn a cartwheel on my halfbroken wrist, i did it and broke it all the way.

    have fun watching r in her little tutu, if you can even see any of it for operating all your equipment!

  6. Y’all seriously need to be at our beloved Lee School of Dance. Libbey’s 4th recital is next Saturday. It’s a big deal, but nothing like what you mentioned. And for the first time ever, not only were her costumes actually adorable, they were also the cheapest of past 4 years. Wahoo!

    And I don’t live vicariously through my daughter’s life, either. We are all about having fun. Thank you for saying that. We have mothers in Lib’s class who are convinced that it’s ALL about THEIR girls. And I might get smacked for saying this, but these are the moms who have their girls in pageants. Bring it on, trolling stage mothers!

  7. Rae says:

    Try being at a Center for Performing Arts as a highschool. That’s serious. We had a girl get into Alvin Ailey out of HIGHSCHOOL. As in, didn’t go to college.

    I danced, but not like that. I got away with not being serious because I was an average jane arts girl: I did a little of all of it and none of it great.

    Although, I did get to dance with Gary Harrison and this Russian lady once. We used to make fun of her as students until she whipped out her ballerina book of all her performances. Then we shut up and danced. Think FAME with rehearsals.

  8. Mike says:

    Great post!

    We lived through something like this ourselves. The crazy parents–alright, mostly moms, but you should hear some of the dads–jockeying for position to purchase tickets, pushing “little Sally” up to the front row in auditions, trying to buy placement in classes because they are sure “little Mary” is a star. Thank god the pageant thing is not big in the Pacific Northwest (yet).

    Fortunately, we let our daughter (and son) make many of their own decisions. They could quit anything, but they had to stay through the commitment they made when they started (two weeks or two months or whatever).

    Soccer lasted one season because it was wet, cold, early in the morning, and it seems running doesn’t run in this family. Baseball lasted until it interfered with dance. Skating lasted until dance was the preference–warmer, softer landings, and axles get tougher as one grows bigger.

    We got our taste of real competition thinking at a performing arts high school (son started in 8th grade, daughter switched schools as a junior). The background in artistic performance clashed with the competition spirit, but they eventually forged a truce and everyone found a niche.

    Now, son studies engineering, works summers as a wildfire firefighter, and teaches tap; daughter is finishing high school and auditioning for training/apprentice positions in ballet companies, her backup plan is a degree in math earned over a longer-than-typical time at a university in a city where she dances.

    You have the right idea: push those competitive thoughts to the back, enjoy your daughter’s pleasure. There’s plenty of time for growing into the bun-and-perfect-tights. Pull her out when the shaking and shimmying don’t fit; take her fishing/hiking/to Grandma’s when the schedule is insane; apply moderation and be the great guide that you are; she will take the lead as she matures and she will have all the great lessons you gave her.

  9. Snarky in the Studio says:

    I LOVED this blog post! Your philosophy is a lot like mine. I’m a dance mom simply because my daughters dance, because they LOVE to dance, not for any other reason.

    If you get a chance, I’d love to have you check out my blog at SnarkyintheStudio.com!

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