Her Last Dance

The Last Dance

Emotions are a funny thing, aren’t they? I have always been pretty stone-faced when it comes to showing any sort of emotion, which has been to my detriment at times. Ever since having kids, however, I have been finding that my emotions are on a constant roller coaster that I have no way of stopping. To demonstrate this fact, I give you my 6 year old daughter’s recent dance recital.

Going into the recital we had already decided that this would be her last year of dance as other hobbies had become more important to our daughter and, of course, there’s the overwhelming cost of youth activities to consider. As strange as it sounds, at 6 years old, my daughter was one of the oldest and most experienced dancers in her class so we had a great opportunity to talk to her about leadership and making sure that she helped the younger girls along. I can still remember how nervous she was the first time she took to the big stage in front of a packed theatre and how great the older kids were with her.

Sitting in the crowd on the big day I felt completely fine. I was definitely excited and nervous for my daughter but otherwise my emotions were status quo. That lasted about as long as it took for my daughter to get in position for the start of her dance. The music began and I sat in stunned silence as I watched her glide across the stage with that focused look we’ve become accustomed to. My eyes twitched with the familiar sting of trying to hold back tears, as a slideshow of her short dance career flashed through my head. We made the right decision in cutting dance from her activities list but knowing that this could be her last big dance made it both more special and harder to watch.

If we’re being technical, the routine itself was a hilarious disaster, as can be expected from a group of 4-6 year olds. That said, I couldn’t have been more proud of my daughter as she led her young group onto the stage and gave it everything she had one last time. We underestimate the bravery it takes to get up there in front of a packed houseMaybe someday she will dance again but until that day comes I will always smile when I remember her last dance.

Dance Like No One Is Watching

Do You Dance?

Weird question, I know, but allow me to elaborate. I was outside watching my kids play this weekend when I felt the sudden urge to break out the whip, nae, nae dance I have been hooked on lately. Two of my 10 year old neighbours happened to catch my sweet dance moves and immediately complimented me on my efforts. Of course by “complimented” I meant shrieked in embarrassed horror and told me to stop… Naturally, I continued dancing while following them around the street in hopes of embarrassing them in front of their friends.

It got me thinking about how much joy I get out of dancing even though my skills are sorely lacking. I’m not kidding either, I love to dance! The first thing I think about when we get invited to a wedding, even before the food, is what moves I’m going to display when “Uptown Funk” inevitably comes on. I like to take “dance like no one is watching” to a new level and love that my kids seem to be adopting this motto as well. I have even contemplated joining an adult hip hop dance class so I can hone my skills a bit. Granted, there will be no Magic Mike performances in my future, XXL or other, but you’re never too old to learn something new and fun, right? Plus I’m pretty sure there have been studies that show dancing improves your happiness levels and general overall well being. I say pretty sure because I am a blogger, not some fancy research person…

My 5 year old daughter recently asked me if I would learn a dance routine with her so that we could make a video of it. She thinks it’s hilarious to watch home videos and I think it’s hilarious to watch her watching home videos so I have, of course, accepted her challenge. I am oddly nervous about it though, which caught me a bit by surprise. I don’t know if deep down I’m worried about my performance or if I’m afraid that my daughter will someday use this video to blackmail me but my cold feet have already begun. Either way, this video is happening and the only decision I will need to make is whether to share it with all of you or not. Ellen, here we come??

That brings me back to my original question of, do you dance?? If so, what kind of dancer are you? Are you a shower dancer? A toe tapper? Or, are you full on dancing with me to the elevator music in the grocery store checkout line? If you have pictures of video of you dancing, even better! Feel free to send them along and I’ll gladly share them for you. In the meantime, DANCE ON, my friends!!!

Are Rules Really Meant To Be Broken?

Dance Class Window

See that picture above? That’s the tiny little window I get to look through while my 2.5 year old daughter is in her very first dance class. When we chose this particular dance class, it was under the assumption that it would be just the kids and the teachers in the room. After all, that’s why they have two options, one for parents and tots together and another for kids who are okay on their own.

I was so excited for my daughter as we drove to her first class. She had her little tutu and she was all smiles as she entered the room and ran right over to the mat to sit with her teacher. She barely said goodbye to us and I was more than alright with that because I loved to see how happy she was. As the other families began to file in, half of them surprisingly late, I noticed a trend forming. Over half of the children immediately freaked out at the thought of being left in the room alone, so their parents went into the class and participated with them.

I get the first class jitters thing and while it bothered me that the class was basically a wash due to all the disruptions, I was sympathetic to the fact that some of the kids needed to get accustomed to it. Besides, I had my own problems in the hallway with one of the other Dads, who was breaking the unspoken “Dad Rule” by hogging all the tiny window time. Oh, did I mention that his wife was IN the class with their daughter!

We approached the second class cautiously optimistic that all the kids would be good to go in on their own this time. You know, because this was the reason we all chose this class, right? So the kids could explore their new found freedom and independence. The results were shocking. Not only did over half the parents still walk right in to attend the class, they didn’t even try to let their kids go in alone. None of the kids were screaming. None of them were clinging or dragging their feet. So why were the parents in there??

Here’s the thing. I don’t care about whether your child is comfortable being alone in the class or not. I only care about getting the experience I paid my hard earned money for my child to get. So when 5 out of the 9 kids have parents in the small dance room, it is distracting for the kids who are interested in actually listening to the teacher and following her instructions. Not to mention the fact that the small window I fight to watch through is now blocked by parents on the INSIDE of the room!

This is not a rant against the kids who aren’t comfortable going to dance class by themselves. I’m talking about the parents who signed up for the “no parents allowed” class knowing full well that their child wasn’t ready for it. This may all seem a little harsh but c’mon, you know your child better than anybody. Plus, there was another class offered that parents were allowed to participate in. Now my daughter has to watch you having fun with your kid in the class while wondering why her Mommy and Daddy aren’t in there and that’s not fair to her.

My point here is that while you may think your presence in the class isn’t distracting, it actually is. I realize they aren’t actually learning professional dance moves, but through that tiny window, I see the crowded room and the intimidation in my daughter’s eyes as she bumps into another Mom’s leg as she dances, care free, around the room. I mentioned it to the teachers of the class, who agreed with me, but said they couldn’t kick the parents out of the room, which was also not what I wanted. I just wish people would be more conscious of how their actions affect other people. Going forward, I’ll have to start focusing my efforts more on fighting for time at the small window and less on who’s in the room.

Thanks for letting me rant. I don’t do it very often but it felt pretty good to get it all out.


A Dance With My Daughter

I wonder if she understands how much it means to me? Does she know that agreeing to dance with me at that birthday party, sent me into a state of bliss that is almost impossible to match?

The smile on her face says that she was equally as excited to be dancing with her Daddy, but would she have been just as excited to have just grabbed anyone at that point? I mean, it was the incredible catchy “Dora The Explorer” theme song.

I like to think that she felt the same way about the 45 second blip in our day, as we stomped our feet and twirled around, our cheeks sore from the growing smiles. I might sound like an overly sappy Dad here, but these are the little moments that make you forget all your troubles and remind you of how great life can be.

Maybe someday, she’ll read this and know how special that brief moment was for her Dad. I hope she does. I hope she reads this and understands that she made a memory for me that day. One that she may not remember, but that I will take with me forever.

It was only 45 seconds, but the memory remains for a lifetime.