Monday, March 25, 2013

My Feelings on My Daughter Taking Ballet

my daughter during the tech rehearsal for Brigham Young University's Snow Maiden
Clearly, I love ballet. And obviously I want other people's kids to take ballet. But I will admit to having mixed feelings about my own daughter starting classes. Mostly I was worried that I would put too much pressure on my young child. 

(I remember a mom walking into the studio after I had finished teaching a class and saying to her 9-year-old "Was that how a winner dances?" "No," the poor girl answered. "Then do it again, this time like a winner," the mom demanded. I don't want to be that mom.)

But after her asking many times over many months, and watching her dance along with Swan Lake just about every afternoon, I finally signed her up. I'm glad I did. She has had a wonderful time. Last year she even auditioned for (and danced in) a production by the local university's ballet program and it was a great experience for both of us.

I still remind myself to back off and just let her have fun. So what if she isn't the best in the class? Dance is supposed to be fun. I'm still worried I might go over the "crazy, no-fun, dance mom" edge and I work to stay far away from it every day.

My other concern with signing her up for classes was that I didn't want her to feel like she had to dance. I often teach girls whose mothers are really the ones who want to be in class. This is why adult beginner classes are so great--it's never too late to dance! But when the child is in class to live out the mother's fantasy it almost never goes well. I wanted to give my child space to develop her own interests. As it so happens, right now her interests dovetail nicely with mine. But I remind myself that someday she might pick a different hobby and I want to be okay with that.

Did I bring too much baggage into this decision? Possibly. Being a mom is hard, and we're all working to make the right decisions. One of the hardest parts is that there is no universal right answer. We just do the best we can.

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