Before I begin, and before anyone jumps to conclusions after only reading the title, note that these musings and rants could likely be applicable to almost any band mom, soccer mom, baseball mom, football mom, mathalete mom, choir mom, theater mom, debate team mom, cheer mom, __insert child’s extra-curricular activity here__ mom…or dad.
There you are at the latest competitive activity for your awesome child. You are happy, You are proud. You are a little teary because your baby is up there performing her all…and it is the last year for you both. Your kid is awesome! The awards and scholarships they are awarded confirms what you already know but it is still nice to see other people, people whose education and experience makes them qualified to have such an opinion agree with you. So you clap enthusiastically and cheer loudly as she performs and during awards because it makes everything that goes into making this moment possible so worth it.
But then you see what is the embarrassment of riches awarded to the bigger studio/team. Truly you don’t begrudge their achievement because the talent, the originality, the creativity is there so the excess is well deserved. You just wish some of that surplus was weighing down your kid too.
You’re only human.
But would it be worth it? Would your kid have the same opportunities there competing with so many other equally talented and hard-working kids? Perhaps not. Dancers have left the little studio before with the hopes and dreams of this happening only to not make the cut to be part of the elite at the bigger studio because it often requires much more than just talent and ability. It’s happened before, a number of times before that you have seen.
Through the years, you have witnessed your awkward, knobby knees and elbows kid, who could barely keep the beat, emerge into a talented force to be noticed when she takes the stage whether it be jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, pointe or, her first love, tap. When you witness instructors or dancers from other studios make their way over to compliment your dancer or even have teachers from a rival studio tell you that they loved watching your kid on stage dancing the part of Cinderella you know you made the right decision. Of course the decision was not wholly yours as your dancer made it clear where she wanted to train and learn too.
Still, this weekend you couldn’t help feeling just a little bit of pangs of jealousy because what parent supporting their child’s dreams doesn’t wish for them to be regarded as more than a “Triple Threat” up on that stage and every other stage they may take? Until your kid witnesses the director of another studio angrily wave a six year old off the stage for briefly forgetting choreography and glancing off stage in his direction…and then yelling at the poor little kid backstage…a six year old! Some might ascribe to this Abby Lee-esque tactic of teaching and coaching but seeing first hand the growth and success your dancer has realized you find yourself nodding in agreement with multi-award winning dancers, teachers and choreographers, Derek Hough and Mark Ballas who both maintained that “…correct teaching is patience, discipline, confidence building and love..and Miller (and others like that -my words) needs a reality check. Dance is meant to be fun and inspirational, not abusive.”
And if that wasn’t enough for you to say to yourself that, yes, we don’t need to be a part of that; there are some of the families, decked out in all the studio gear that identifies who they are and where they come from behaving badly. Case in point, if you’re going to loudly demand a woman with an infant move out YOUR SEAT because there is nothing in and around your seat to indicate that it is yours, you might want to take note that everyone sitting around your seat knows who you represent because of what you are wearing.
Yes, that happened.
The same would go for the other families on your team who insisted all Sunday morning to stand in the front of the auditorium searching for the perfect place to sit, blocking the view of the audience behind them from seeing the dance happening on stage at that very moment. Again, wearing the studio gear makes it very easy to identify who you are and who you represent, especially when all of you are repeatedly asked by many in the audience to please sit down or wait until the dance on stage is done. Everyone gets that you want a good seat to see your child/grandchild/friend on stage but to block the views of families anxious to see their child/grandchild/friend dancing on stage at that very moment?
You ask yourself who is that rude? Then you ask yourself if you would want to be identified as part of that…would you want your kid to be a part of that?
Of course the answer is no.
And so you let go those little pangs of jealousy because it was a good weekend for your daughter who dances with all the gold, high gold and special judges’ awards and the scholarship that she is taking home as proof of that. Even more so, her saying out loud, “This was a great weekend!“, makes it so.