Here’s something I hear so often…
“Oh, I’m such a dance mum!”
Often followed by lots of laughter and hysteria, because to make that comment you must have said something “dance mummy like”.
In my opinion there are two types of dance Moms. I will explain the first type, and then give you some clues to indicate if your becoming the second type. I don’t quite know how to refer to each type, but “Fun Dance Mum” seems quite appropriate for the first type, and probably “Intense Dance Mum” for the second. I’ll let you know my journey….
Now this post is not out there to offend anyone!! After all, the “Intense Dance Mum” is based on myself and my fellow Dance Mum friends. And if I do say something out of order, believe you me, they will let me know!
So let’s start with our “Fun Dance Mums”.
So these mums have decided that their child would benefit from an extra curriculum activity, or maybe the child has asked to start dance. This could be because “so and so” from school dances or because they just love giggling and wiggling around the house. These mums pick a school, usually on recommendation, and enrol their child onto whatever the child would suit best. I remember Olivia being 3 when she started pre school ballet. I think the reason for signing her up to the school was based on a friends recommendation, and heavily influenced by the price of the lessons.
Fun Dance Mums love to see their child in their beautiful uniforms, enjoying themselves and socialising with new children. They are so proud of their beautifully talented child. I remember having a bit of moan about the cost of her ballet uniform and the shoes. It seemed a lot to spend on a 30 minute a week activity, but that didn’t stop me. Olivia loved it!
As a Fun Dance Mum, we moved to Gibraltar. And as soon as we landed olivia expressed that she wanted to continue dancing. It just so happened that my mum, a nurse at the time, had treated an elderly lady in hospital, and this elderly lady, would become Olivia’s new dance teacher! Ever seen a 70 year old on pointe?! This woman was a machine! She was quite famous back in the day, and her technique was just as good as any other teacher I had seen! She told me how much she thought olivia was “built” to dance… she payed special attention to her in the class, something that made me think she might actually be right! After all, she’s still in the industry at 70 years old! She knows what she’s talking about. She taught olivia Spanish ballet and Spanish dance- which although beautiful, was very aggressive and passionate! Olivia was 3/4, she was a baby still. But it was still for fun!
We returned to the Uk and still olivia was adamant she wanted to dance. So this is 2 years of her dancing now. And I do start to think that she is quite passionate about it at this point. She joined a local school that was attached to a gym. At this school olivia was introduced to ballet, tap, modern, lyrical, song and dance, and contemporary! At this point olivia was addicted! She was practicing everyday, routines she’d learnt at the school, other children’s routines and new techniques. At this point, I was becoming just as passionate about dance as olivia. After all, it was in my face 24/7. She was dancing 4/5 times a week, she had been involved in charity found raisers, performing for groups of people and even entered her first dance competition. She was hooked. I was no longer a “Fun Dance Mum”. After remaining at this school for just over a year, Olivia had started mentioning other dance schools. I questioned whether she was doing this because she was interested, or maybe she just needed a change.
We did a trial at a new school, and again, Olivia was hooked. I remember her being so happy dancing with girls her own age. I remember thinking that the dance teacher didn’t walk around, she almost floated. She was so graceful and “dance teacher like”. Olivia sadly said goodbye to her old dance school friends, knowing that she was going somewhere new, where there would be more friends to be made. At this school, not only would she continue to compete (which is Olivia’s favourite thing to do), she would also be introduced to and do her gradings in each class. She would be represented by a talent agent, and take part in multiple theatre productions across Bournemouth. Olivia would be offered a place on the competition team and learn how to dance in a group. As a soloist, this was a challenge for her. She would make life long friends of these 3 girls, the mums would be my second family, and the studios would become my second home.
Transforming into an “Intense Dance Mum”… here’s when you know it’s happening…
- You stop worrying about tuition fees. What you put in, is what you get back. If your child needs extra help, technically or vocally, you ensure you are doing as much as possible to support that. I mean, don’t remortgage the house, I mean, just limit the amount of Deliveroo Koh Thais you get month.
- Practice at home, makes perfect! Going over and over certain songs until you hate them! Stopping, starting, and critiquing! Sounds harsh…. but this is something that Olivia is happy to go through! There’s no forcing, it’s completely natural for her. We make time for “fun dance shows”! We HAVE to. But she also knows she HAS to practice the exam and show pieces!
- You buy tickets for EVERY show they are in. Even if it’s the same show. Even if your sat alone, it’s an upgrade from waiting in the car.
- You know the routines and can perform them perfectly, so appreciate how hard some of them are.
- You scroll through ebay for dance costumes- just for fun!
- You hear music and you can imagine a routine to it, so send it to the teacher, to completely regret it, and remember your a healthcare professional NOT a choreographer.
- You start to enjoy waiting in the car, and you prepare for this well. Lots of mobile data and any outstanding work that needs completing will be joining you to the studio today.
- You have seen every episode of Dance Moms and like Abbey Lee Miller.
- You and your child have perfected make up and hair, and your child knows all the shade names in your Urban Decay Pallette. You can even do a ballet bun and drive!
- Your house has hair nets hanging from random places…. they’ve all got holes in, but you keep them, just in case. As well as pin… brown ones, blonde ones, in every corner!
- You try not to pay attention through the studio windows, because if them feet are looking funny, you might just break down the studio door and start acting crazy.
- You try to not bother the teachers too much with yours and your child’s dreams and expectations! There’s hundreds of kids to worry about, and you don’t want to be “that” mum.
- “Sick? No no!”
- You buy a lot of hairspray, and as a result your child rarely has headlice! Nits don’t like rock hard hair! Hehehe
- You cry when your child performs, not because they look cute, because you know the blood, sweat and tears that have got them there.
- Losing dance uniform is enough to send you into a mental breakdown.
- You know that lucadzade and tangtastics are completely acceptable an hour before competing.
- You want your child to progress in Ballet mainly because the next uniform is a lovely colour.
It’s not how it is on TV. Dance mums aren’t angry and psychotic, although the teachers may disagree. As a Dance Mum I have been catapulted into a world of song, dance and performance- an alien world to me! If your child continually tells you they want something, and are so passionate about it, as a parent, I feel like there is no choice but to support them in this! It’s completely led by the child and their dance teacher. I’m nothing but an excitable fan and choffeur!
Do I think my child is the best? Definitely not, and she knows that too, that’s why so much work is put into this!
Does she want to be in the West End when she’s older? No! She wants to be a psysiotherapist for disabled people.
Is this all worth it? Of course. For the decipline. For the friends. For the commitment. For the confidence. For the wins. For the losing. For the bonding. For the self determination. For her fitness and wellbeing. For her future.
And of course for Instagram and lols 😀