Here we go, I'm talking dance class. From toddler dancewear to my thoughts about how ballet can teach positive body image……I'm spilling my guts about becoming a dance mom.
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It's Back to School season. And besides starting SCHOOL, fall is the time when kids usually try new after school activities. In fact, I’ve been prepping for the last few weeks for all of the new activities we want to try. From soccer to karate to ballet….I think I bought out the kids' activewear department at Kmart (good thing they’re having a KILLER sale)! Lydia has been BEGGING to try dance class for months, and I've been dragging my feet. Now, before you judge ME….let me tell you why. I took dance classes from age three until I was 18 years old. My sister is an amazingly talented dancer who majored in dance performance in college and is now a ballet teacher at the dance school we attended growing up. I love dance. I took ballet, jazz, hip hop and tap as a child.
But the flip side of dance? I worry about the need for girls and women to fit inside a body image box. Let's be honest, in MOST scenarios dancers are expected to be extremely small. And if you're not? It can be a pretty cruel world. Having experienced some of that myself, and having seen the damage it did in many people around me……I have some pretty serious concerns about Lydia starting dance. To be fair, that's a pretty long way away from three year olds running around in tutus…..but I want to be sure that we are doing our BEST to raise Lydia to chase her passions AND to feel confident.
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After a LOT of research, we picked a ballet school close to our house….and Lydia had a trial class last week. She LOVED it, and so did I. Let me tell you why……the dance teacher? Did a number of things during class that I respect, admire, and will be mirroring at home. I think that they instill confidence in her students, and encourage them to enjoy the art of dance without any pressure.
- She talked about the ENJOYMENT instead of the execution. Instead of focusing on whether each student performed a perfect plie, the teacher commented with statements like…..”I loved seeing you smile while you did your plies!” and “Wow, that seemed way easier than last week! Aren't you PROUD of yourself?” I loved seeing her focus on the feelings and confidence that dance class can build.
- She discussed our bodies as a tool and a machine rather than a way to achieve perfection. She told the students that machines need fuel, rest, relaxation, and practice. She discussed that learning new moves could be hard, and that was OK. I loved it!
- She encouraged each child to bow and accept applause. It's HARD to accept compliments as adults right? It's part of the insecurities we've all learned over the years. Multiple times in class, the teacher asked each student to take a bow and the other students to applaud their efforts.
So the verdict? We'd better buy some more toddler dancewear…..we're hooked. This confident, happy toddler (and confident, happy mom) will be back……we're officially signed up for dance classes this fall!
Is your family starting new after school activities this year? If so, KMART has some killer prices on activewear for the whole family. We got Lydia's entire toddler dancewear collection (along with some great workout gear for me) for a STEAL!