I spent three days last week with my daughter at my first…..sorry…..her first dance competition. She loved it more than I thought was even imaginable. The jury is still out on if that is a good thing or a bad thing.
It was a new experience for both of us. I’m not sure who was more nervous on the first day, her or me. She was doing an acro routine that involved an overhead lift (in which she was the one being lifted), front limbers and a forearm stand thrown in amongst some dance moves. With only seven girls on stage there was little room for error. Once it was done I felt like I needed a drink. Too bad it was only 1:00 in the afternoon.
For the uninitiated, a dance competition involves young girls and boys performing solos, duos/trios and group dance routines that are judged by three judges. The judges are typically ex-dancers who are now studio owners, choreographers or teachers. For the competition we attended EVERY dancer gets a medal. Very PC. Their score gets them a silver, high silver, gold or high gold. Within each group the top three performances are announced as third, second or first. Got it?
The styles of dance range from classical ballet, to jazz, to tap, to Broadway and acro and hip hop. There are more styles,but you get the idea. Ages range from four to sixteen. All shapes and sizes and colors. Oh, they have a category for international too. Saw some beautiful Chinese fan dancing. Anyway, I digress.
The dedication of some of these girls is admirable. No, it’s astonishing. I can’t even imagine the amount of hours they must train a week. My daughter dances seven hours a week and I thought that was a lot. I’ve had other mothers gasp (yes, gasp) at how much she does. In reality it’s only a fraction of what others do. And I’m okay with that.
And then there’s the cost. Ya actually I’m not going to go there. Let’s just say that it’s more than soccer. And hockey. Combined.
I came away from the first day with a bit of a headache. My daughter’s ballet teacher compared it to Disneyland and she is so right. Everywhere you turn is a new costume, headpiece or makeup look. Gaggles of little girls run around buzzing from too many Skittles. Moms suck back coffee trying to keep up with the gaggles of girls they are in charge of. Each time the theatre door opens you get a blast of new music and a fresh wave of costumes dashing by. It’s head spinning.
So here’s the tricky part for me. Dance is art and therefore it is subjective. Obviously there are some dance teachers and parents who have a different take on what is acceptable and age appropriate for costumes, music and choreography. Everybody makes their own choices and I’m not the judge of them. Well…I kind of am. In my head anyway.
I personally would not allow my six or seven year old to get up on stage wearing red sequined boy shorts, a black crop top and fake eyelashes all while twerking to a Nicki Minaj song. But that’s just me.
The world of dance competitions, my dance teacher friend told me “needs to be taken with a grain of salt.” I think that is very sage advice for this new dance mom. I will try to remember it in the years to come.
The Best Thing in Life is being eight and just loving to dance.