The Five Year Old Professional

I’m not meant to be a dance mom. I’ve always found watching dance to be incredibly boring, even when I go to professional performances. When I signed Lily up for some preschool level dance classes 2 1/2 years ago, I had no idea the torture I’d be in for. Watching Lily dance is cute, but everything else that goes along with this dance racket is beyond annoying.

Last year we managed to dodge the horrors of dance recital by sending Lily to a family wedding. From what I hear, we were lucky to skip it because the recital ended up being 2.5 hours of torture for the other dance moms. The stage managers AND the dance teacher treated everyone like crap.

This year, Lily insisted on being in the recital. So, we paid for the costume in December, sight unseen with no description given to us. A couple weeks ago, this monstrosity was forced into our hands.
When did Lily enroll in circus whore classes? I thought we were taking dance?

Big bird threw up itchy yellow tinsel all over Lily’s costume and all the girls were miserable in it. The girls scratched themselves raw.

And then the emails started up. Email after email came about various rehearsals and recital particulars, many of which had nothing to do with our class. At one point an email came about rehearsal times. It listed a bunch of classes individually. Our class was not listed so I assumed it was another “Why the hell can’t they send specific emails JUST to THAT class?” email. Nope. That email was for me. Though 20 classes were listed individually, I was supposed to read every single line of that email instead of just search for our class among the chronological listing of classes. Hidden among all the classes was the statement: 10 AM Recital Rehearsal at 6:30.

What the hell? I’d hate for our rehearsal to be clearly labeled. I didn’t realize this email was for us until another dance mom translated it for me.

We were informed RIGHT BEFORE recital and pictures that our shoes NEED to be white! Oh the horrors if all the kids’ shoes didn’t match! What would “people” think? You know what would have been a good idea? Telling us we needed white shoes WHEN WE STARTED THE DANCE CLASS and were buying dance shoes. I used white shoe polish on Lily’s shoes because I’m a sheep. I should have just told her dance teacher to bite me.

And then the recital handbook came. Here are some gems from it:
* “Please purchase new tights for the recital and do not wear or wash them before Photo Week or performance.”
Because people can TOTALLY tell if tights were previously used from the audience, I’m sure. WHAT IF a tiny bit of dirt showed on someone’s tights during recital? It would surely ruin the whole show. The instructions went on to require that we bring not one but TWO new pairs of tights. Who is paying for these tights?

*“DO NOT WEAR COSTUMES INTO THE RECITAL HALL. This is considered unprofessional.”
Who exactly do they think was coming to see our show, which was mostly composed of 3-6 year olds? Since when are 3-6 year olds professional? Since when is a small town’s dance studio considered professional?

*”Please note: no video or flash photography will be allowed in the auditorium at the recital.”
That’s right, we weren’t allowed to take a video of our 5 year old’s dance recital. But don’t worry! The studio is selling DVDs of the performance for $15! Nevermind that we already spent $80 on this recital in tickets and costume fees– more on make-up and tights and pictures. Let’s pay for a DVD too! I didn’t even get to watch this recital, by the way. Mothers of dancers Lily’s age are required to sit backstage with their kid. This is a fact they don’t warn you about until AFTER ticket sales are over. I was warned in advance, but I know a lot of moms dropped $15 on a ticket for themselves not knowing that they would never actually set foot in the audience.

And in case that wasn’t clear, that’s right, we had to pay $15 a person to pay to watch our kid do a dance we paid money for her to learn. Oh! And glossy programs were $15 because they were “souvenirs”. That’s right, for the low low price of $15 I could look at a glossy book that probably just listed my daughter’s class and not even her name. What a bargain!

As an afterthought in the recital handbook, they listed directions to the recital hall, which is in a totally different location from our dance studio. It was under “Misc.” at the very end of the handbook buried in a bunch of unimportant information like “Make sure your name is on everything!”. Isn’t the location of the recital the kind of information that needs to be front and center? The recital hall is part of the university and has no address to plug into a GPS. I wasn’t able to find it without a campus map.

As the grand finale to the ridiculousness, my daughter’s class got yelled at during the show for walking in the hall wearing tap shoes. It went something like this “Ok, dancers, are your tap shoes on? Good, walk up here in a straight line! WHAT ARE YOU TAPPING FOR? HOW DARE YOU TAP!”

The recital was less painful than I was expecting because it was a full hour shorter than last year’s and Lily performed at the very beginning, middle and end. There wasn’t nearly as much down time as I was expecting.

That said, I am so finished with this dance studio. Luckily, Lily says she is done with dance, but even if she weren’t, NEVER AGAIN at that studio. NEVER AGAIN.



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2 Responses to The Five Year Old Professional

  1. This reminds me of my dance recital when I was about Lily’s age. My mother was so not a dance mom either, and luckily after that one performance, I lost interest in dance. I think the dance studio put on a production of snow white, and one of my “jobs” as a dancer was to help the older “dwarf” dancers get ready for snow white… the dance was stupid, we all had to walk on stage carrying an upside down milk crate with a huge plastic fake comb attached to the back of it… and somehow the “Dwarf” i was paired with was a snooty teenage dancer who warned me “DONT touch my HAIR!” anyhow, we were to set the crates down, do a couple basic dance moves, and then pretend to pretty up the “dwarfs” while they sat on our crates, then we danced hand in hand with the older girls… i think that was the only thing i was in … in the whole production.. a mere like 5-10 minutes on stage for like a 2 hour show or something.

  2. Pingback: Swim Fail, The Return | Creative Kids Play

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