Most people have heard of the show dance moms and I too used to believe that all “dance moms” were this way. All the drama! But not are our studio, I say we hit the lotto with our studio! It is a group that you look forward to seeing. The moms and dads are genuinely good people. During competition season, it gets crazy. But as a full time working mom trying to balance life, being a dance mom is one of the most rewarding things I do. With eight years of dancing, going into year five of competitive dance, the Princess and Mommy have started to learn the ropes. So here it goes a little insight of being a dance mom!
Classes, Recitals, and Competitions
When we first started dance, my little dancer took a 45-minute combo class where she learned tap and ballet. It was so cute to watch her. She would be so happy to put on her little leotard and dance around. The tap portion was her favorite, mostly because the shoes were loud. She just enjoyed her time around the other little bitty dancers. And this mommy just thought it was the cutest.
Fast forward to now. She is in the studio 12hrs/week doing jazz, ballet, lyrical, tap, musical theater, tumbling, leaps and turns, pre-pointe and the 4 choreography classes for each of her competitive pieces. So it’s safe to say she is a dancer and I’m am officially a dance mom.
- Arrive early to all events to allow your dancer to stretch and warm up. I know this can be hard, especially if you are like me but it’s extremely helpful for the dancer.
- If you reach the point where you are paying for unlimited classes, let your child try something different. This year she is trying hip hop and musical, which is completely out of her comfort zone but she loves it.
- Be prepared for the financial costs because it definitely takes some budgeting just as any sport does.
Makeup and Hair
Makeup and hair are definitely one of the hardest things about being a dancer for us. Mostly because the colors are not always great colors for a young girl of color. Luckily this mommy’s a lover of makeup and took the time to find eyeshadow and lip color shades that look good on her skin tone and match those shades of her teammates. But don’t tell the owner, not that she is an Abbie by any means but I try to be a rule follower and not a problem child.
The hair is a whole different level of craziness. Some years we use hairpieces and I hate them. It’s the raggediest piece of hair that looked like rats hat been sucking on it by the end of the year. Some years we use buns and although it’s a lot easier, the Princess still complains about the Bobby pins or that I am brushing too hard. So overall, it is work. We had to find the right gel and holding spray, making sure it’s smooth and can last through a full day of dancing.
- Prior to the recital or competition, go out and have a makeup day, pick out new makeup for your dancer.
- Go home and practice, practice so your dancer is comfortable with the makeup application and hair. That way you and your dancer know what to expect.
Costumes and “Spirit-wear”
Most studios require a dress code. Leotards and tights are required, along with the appropriate shoes. Costumes are decided on by the teachers and approved by the owner. Personally we prefer more modest costumes and fortunately so does our studio. Going into the dance community, I looked at the costumes for all ages so I knew what I was getting into. If you are uncomfortable with the clothing, you may want to research other studios while your dancer is young.
Spirit wear is always fun. Purple has become my second favorite color. In addition to the required items, Make sure you at least grab a shirt for you and your dancer, it helps you to look United with the team.
- Respect the studio costume and clothing requirements
- Make sure your child has the recommendations and requirements
- Label all your child’s items
Friends and Family
During the first few years, you and your dancer are making friends. But if you keep going these people will become your family. I cannot speak for other studios and teams but at our studio, we create a village. During class time and breaks, we have done everything from providing a dance with snacks and water to cleaning up vomit. On recital and competition days we help with hair, makeup, costume pinning, etc. We are there for the tears and for the celebrations. I have seen moms run to my child to comfort her just as fast as I do.
- If there is Mommy drama, run as fast as you can. Kid drama can be fixed but Mommy drama is set.
- Volunteer to help out when asked. Team parties and events, try to be supportive and active because the teachers need your help.
Practice, Planning, and Preparation
Practice, practice, practice! Even though there are classes every week, there should be homework like any class. If your dancer wants to grow, there must be practice outside the studio.
- Make sure they are eating well balanced meals and snacks and that they are getting enough sleep.
- Keep track of everything you need to do, whatever you need to turn in, where and when is extra practices or event.
- Always be prepared. Extra bobby-pins, safety pins, hair ties, tights and the list goes on.
The best part about being a dance mom is the memories we are making. I love seeing the smile on her face and I live for the many teachable moments. I have been able to teach her about responsibility, being part of a team and grace, just to name a few. It’s an investment that some don’t understand but it’s our life and I love it!
DISCLAIMER: the following is information from another dance mom that I agree with!
A parent once asked me:
Why do you spend so much money and time for your daughter’s ballet classes and rehearsals so that she goes on stage once a year?
This is what I answered:
Well , let me tell you a secret. I don’t pay for my daughter to dance on stage once a year. Do you want to know what I’m paying for?
I am paying for my daughter to learn to be disciplined.
I am paying for my daughter to learn to take care of her mind and body.
I am paying for my daughter to learn how to work with others and be a good team member; and to develop her creativity.
I pay so that my daughter learns to face disappointment when she doesn’t get what she expected, and discovers that it is essential that she works harder.
I pay so that my daughter learns to achieve her goals.
I pay so that my daughter understands that it takes hours and hours of hard work and training to obtain results and that success does not come overnight.
I pay for the opportunity that my daughter has to make life lasting friendships.
I pay so that my daughter spends time at rehearsals and not in front of a screen.
I pay for those moments when she comes home so tired that she has no more time to waste.
I pay for all the teachings from this beautiful artistic discipline: responsibility, commitment, self confidence, conviviality, etc.
I could go on, but just to summarize I’ll tell you that I don’t pay for ballet classes, I pay for the opportunities that this discipline offers her to develop skills that will become quite useful all along her life and that will give her an opportunity to treasure life.
(The author: Shad Martin, the source http://shadmartin.blogspot.ca/2015/10/why-i-dont-pay-for-dance-anymore.html)