3-year-old daughter’s been taking an after-school dance class at our local
recreation center. I don’t know what she loves
more—the twirling, the tap shoes or shaking it off to Taylor Swift—but I’m
glad she’s enjoying herself. I’m just hoping she’s not actually talented.
had the pleasure of meeting the cast of "Dance School Diaries," a popular YouTube
series created by "So You Think You Can Dance" maestro Nigel Lythgoe. The show follows four gifted teenaged ballet
dancers—Madison, Lex, Sage and Andrea—as they compete for a shot at the
big time. You can see their amazing talent for yourself on the DanceOn Network's YouTube channel.
There are so
many good things to say about these wildly talented kids. They are poised, self-possessed, passionate, focused
and dedicated to a degree that is rare in someone so young (I recall my teen
self practicing piano for a whopping 15 minutes before wandering off to watch "Brady Brunch" reruns. Is it any wonder I only know "Chopsticks" today?).
But as a
mom, the idea of parenting such a talented kid terrifies me. For one thing, these dancers work at their
craft so intensely—Lex said 7-8 hours per day—that most have to be home-schooled (my nightmare) and none of them have free time for such typical teen
activities as roaming the mall. It
worried me that they don’t get the chance to relax and just be kids.
While I would never want to deny my child such a life-changing opportunity, I’m not sure I could handle the separation.
if she’d missed out on any of the quintessential high school experiences, Sage,
who models as well as dances, told me she’d never gone to homecoming, but she
had posed for a homecoming-themed spread in a magazine! She
laughed wryly, knowing these two things are not exactly the same.
still is that Sage’s mother had to kiss her goodbye at age 12, sending her
alone to New York to study ballet. While
I would never want to deny my child such a life-changing opportunity, I’m not
sure I could handle the separation. These dance moms go through a lot.
The day I
visited "Dance School Diaries," I brought my mini ballerina with me and the cast
generously favored her with a lesson. The look on my kid’s face was pure awe as she stared up at Madison’s tutu, her graceful
body en pointe, moving with perfect fluidity and control. I’m glad she’s inspired. As
long as she’s not talented.
news is, I have several years before I have to worry about my daughter’s dance
skills. According to Andrea’s dad, he
didn’t know her ballet dreams were serious until she was 9, when her instructor
asked to speak with him. For a moment,
he’d thought Andrea was in trouble. Turned out the ballet teacher saw real potential in her, and advised more
intensive dance training.
So I have a
good six years before I need to worry about dance turning from a hobby into a
vocation. By then, if my kid’s anything
like her old mom, she’ll have quit dance and developed a deep appreciation for