I never envisioned that I would be a “dance mom.” Yes, even with a house of four girls, it wasn’t on my radar. Roller-derby, mountain biking, maybe some climbing thrown in with musical instruments, painting, photography on the side. That made sense.
My experiences with dance as a child were, reflecting back, disappointing. I joined for three years. I wanted to dance, to feel part of something. My only memories are ones of not being enough. My ragamuffin style didn’t fit in, nor did my body-type. I kept trying. I craved being part of the magic of creating, moving together, or letting my body go. I was too intimidated. I know now that I didn’t even try. If I didn’t try I couldn’t fail, that was my thinking. None of my teachers saw past that, because I was this kid, that was nice, but wasn’t ever going to amount to anything as a dancer. So I didn’t receive much attention, no one pushed me, encouraged or or dolled out encouragement.
So of course, I quit.
When my daughter was in kindergarten we went to watch some friends in the Pantuso Dance Show. When she left the recital asking if she could dance, and didn’t let up, I conceded.. tentatively. We enrolled in Pantuso Dance. I kept my trepidation to myself, and my daughter dove in. Always happy to go to class. Supported when she was nervous for the first show. When I was blessed with step-daughters, they enthusiastically joined in.
Now, sometimes it feels like I spend more time on the couch at Pantuso Dance then I do lazing in my living room.
None of my girls want to grow up to be a “dancer”, yet they are all dancers. They all dance for different reasons – one for athleticism, one for the music and togetherness, one for how it makes her feel emotionally, the other.. well.. we don’t know yet. They all go to dance on their own accord, and even raise or save their only money to participate. They go every week with enthusiasm. Not once have I heard them say they “didn’t feel enough.” They talk about the encouragement of their teachers, the laughter, the creativity.
Three years ago I joined them, to re-write my experience, and be part of the joy. It took me way out of my comfort zone, which has had sweet rewards.
Dance, for all of us, starts next week, and truly, despite the hours shuffling kids back and forth, and being slightly terrified for my first time trying tap dancing, I truly can’t wait.
The crew at Pantuso Dance: