Tag Archives: dance

Expert Dancer

After becoming a gymnastics dropout last year, Rose took up ballet. It was a match made in heaven. She’s a princess and is obsessed with being as beautiful and frilly as possible, which means ballet was MADE for her. Or so we thought.

Then at the end of the school year, she went to a gymnastics birthday party and suddenly she wanted to take gymnastics again. Gymnastics: the type of class I spent $90 on for her to sit in my lap crying instead of doing somersaults.

My husband and I were still convinced that ballet and Rose are made for each other. We tried to encourage her to remain in ballet, but here’s what she has to say about it.

“I really like ballet, but I already LEARNED ballet. I already know all about dance. I’m a dance expert. I don’t need any more dance lessons.”

That’s right, after four months of ballet lessons, my four year old is a ballet expert. There is nothing left to learn. She has it down. And it was a ballet/tap combo class, so she is a tap expert too! Those people who study dance for years and years clearly are wasting their time. There’s nothing left to learn after the first 4 months!

So I guess she’s going to gymnastics this year. You’d think she was already an expert of that considering she took 2 months worth of gymnastics lessons last year.

Maybe she can be a concert pianist and an Olympic swimmer too.


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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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Bad Dance Mom

I did a stupid thing last year. I signed Lily up for ballet lessons. After the disaster that was soccer, I hoped we could find something she’d like. What I should have thought about more when I signed her up for ballet was whether or not I, the mother who has to sit through dance recitals, would like it.

I hate watching people dance. The second people I don’t know get on the stage and start leaping around, I zone out and wonder how many more numbers I have to sit through. I look at the clock and count the seconds. I check the program again and again and count how many more numbers are left before I can escape and do math problems about how long each number should take. The same thing happens at piano recitals, choir and band concerts and, um, synagogue. If there’s no dialogue or plot, I get antsy. I’m probably in for a lot of this torture in various forms in the coming years.

Signing my daughter up for ballet when I hate watching people dance was a dumb, dumb idea. After the first Christmas show, I really wanted out, but I felt obligated to finish out the year and Lily was LOVING it.

After the first year of ballet, Lily is still really into it. “I just love going to school and ballet. Those are my favorite things that I do.”


Now she’s in a ballet/tap combo class because that’s what our friends were signing up for. Since she is dancing with two types of shoes, this means she will have TWO numbers I have to wait for at every single recital. Yay?

I do have to give it to her that dance has the best accessories.

Don’t get me wrong, I love watching HER dance. There’s nothing cuter than watching a bunch of 3-5 year olds totally botch up a dance number. It’s more entertaining than watching the kids who actually know what they’re doing. The trouble is to get to my kids’ number, I have to watch a bunch of other junk. Despite the fact that the 3-5 year old crowd is even worse at sitting through dance recitals than I am, the routine for the little kids always seem to be at the very end of the show, which makes absolutely no sense given their attention span (and mine). Yesterday, we sat in a crowded mall food court for an hour waiting for Lily to take the stage. It was almost 8 pm before she danced. That’s bedtime! Ridiculous.

The trouble with being a dance mom to a 5 year old is you always have to be available to watch your kid back stage. You can’t just leave a 5 year old alone. They don’t have baby-sitters lined up for them. Recitals are crowded and insane and you have to make sure your too-little-to-just-say-meet-me-here kid can find you when they are released from the stage. I end up standing just off stage where she can see me. This means that I don’t actually get to watch the recital at all.

So this is what the recital ends up being: Me, standing behind the stage annoyed with an anxious 5 year old waiting and waiting and waiting forever for my kid to dance somewhere where I can’t even see her dance.

This was my amazing view of my daughter dancing. I'm so glad we came out so I could see that.

Meanwhile, I have to vaguely watch a bunch of other kids I don’t care about dance dances I wouldn’t be interested in seeing even if they were danced by professional ballerinas. I feel tortured and bored for what feels like hours on end but is actually only an hour.

And I SHOULD really want to see my kid dance in these recitals. Instead, I dread it and often discuss other activities Lily can do. Gymnastics! Soccer! Swimming! Piano!

But when I think about those things, I groan when I think about the other things I’d have to sit through: gymnastics exhibitions, soccer games when I hate watching sports, swim meets, piano recitals. Yuck, boring, BORING! Again, I like seeing HER do these things, but watching all those other kids is SO boring. This may be one of my biggest obstacles as a parent yet– to pretend to be enthusiastic about the idea of sitting through this stuff.

Giving Lily other options hasn’t changed anything. She still wants dance.

Ugh, I hope I don’t have to be a dance mom forever. And I hope whatever activity she chooses down the line has minimal boring things for me to pretend to be a fan of. I fail at dance mom. Will I fail at choir, piano or soccer mom as well?


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Lily has a new game she’s been playing lately where she “tap-a-dances” in our hallway. Even though she has a pair of tap shoes that fit her, she usually does this in gym shoes. This will go on for ridiculous amounts of time and she wants Dr. Toy Warden and I to imitate her steps. Since most of her steps involve jumping and I can’t do that right now, she now insists that I sit in the “audience” to watch all this transpire.

Here is the audience:

I asked her if she wanted to take tap instead of ballet and she said no. She just wants to tap-a-dance in the hall… and for me to watch her.

It’s thrilling, as you can imagine. I mean, it’s really cute for the first 5-10 minutes and then I get really bored because I’m a human and not super “everything you do is beyond awesome and I can’t stop watching!” mom when it comes to the insanely repetitive stuff like this.


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