Family life

My short-lived life as a Dance Mom

Tracy discovers she might actually like dance class more than her girls do.

By Tracy Chappell
My short-lived life as a Dance Mom

Photo: Avery and Anna dancing

I was sort of looking forward to it. The sequins. The buns. The jazz hands.
When I realized we had lots of space in our extracurricular activity schedule this summer, I thought I’d take the opportunity to sign the girls up for a dance class. Anna did one way back when she was three, but we hadn’t found the opportunity to revisit the idea since.
I’ve wanted to give the girls a chance to try out dance. Most girls do, don’t they? I never did, and always wished I had, though I supposed I was never the “dance” type. I thought it would be fun for the girls, plain and simple, and we’d see if this was something either of them enjoyed. It’s really hard to find time to try all the activities out there to see what strikes a chord in your kids.
So we signed up for jazz — parks and rec version, natch — a class that fit both their ages, was inexpensive, and gave me an hour of free time every Saturday morning. Triple score.
It started out pretty well. I was grateful that parents weren’t allowed to watch, because it helped Avery jump right in (after extra hugs and kisses). The instructor, Miss K, was dynamic and warm and passionate and clearly very experienced. The space was beautiful, the other parents were dressed in their weekend sweats — not a Dance Mom in sight. All the right pieces were in place.
My kids hated it. Well, that’s what they said. I think they enjoyed it while they were there, but they never wanted to go, or talk about it, or show me anything they learned (though I would sometimes catch them practising). I thought Avery was drawn in for a while, but it passed. Anna declared that she hated it and I think Avery just followed along with the sentiment. I bribed them with chocolate-chip granola bars to go every week because I realized I really wanted them to like dance, even just to gain the confidence. I wanted to be a Dance Mom! Imagine — when they’re teenagers, they wouldn’t have to be awkwardly swaying in circles at the high school dance!
The last-day performance didn’t ignite any adrenaline junkies, either. Quite the opposite. Neither of them wanted to perform in front of the parents. Anna was sort of sheepish and embarrassed, going through the moves as quickly as she could. Avery was fun to watch, trying her best, though she was — how shall I put it? — a little on the two-left-feet side. We loved their performance, cheered and smiled from ear-to-ear, and in the end, I think they seemed happy. Or… happy it was over.
So there’s something to cross off the list. I guess I was destined to be a hockey mom. Except, did I mention they don’t want to play hockey anymore, either? That’s another post.
How do you manage the time to give your kids chances to try out new activities? Do you wish they loved something so you could live vicariously through them?

This article was originally published on Sep 11, 2012

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