Opinion: Dance mom vet


I’ve been struggling for topics of late but was holding on to the notion that dance competition season would soon be starting and I’d have a plethora of tacky, delicious stories to relay. But alas, either I’m a seasoned veteran with the super-hero ability to ignore the high-pitch antics of several hundred overly-rouged, be-sequinced ‘tweenagers and their obnoxious, also-sometimes-sparkling mothers, or, this past weekend was tame when compared to last year’s nearly-traumatic introduction to competitive dance.

My youngest started dancing just two years ago. Having myself never been a dancer or anything that required extensive parental involvement and “judging” to determine the winner, I nearly stroked out at her first competition last January. The make-up, the false hair, and the myriad of shoes and tights and bandeaus all came as quite a shock, and that was just the moms! You should have seen their daughters! Not to mention the way scores are calculated and awards are bestowed … a judge doesn’t like your costume so she deducts points? What kind of nonsense is that? And the unfamiliar terminology had my head spinning. Lyrical, contemporary, grand line, production, minis, juniors, adagios … a whole new vocabulary world big-banged into existence as soon as I set foot in that often-terrifying convention space.

I saw choreographers yelling at high schoolers, mothers violently applying lipstick to toddlers, and dads stumbling around aimlessly no doubt wondering what they’d done to be cast down into such a low level of female hell. I temporarily lost hearing in one ear after repeated screeches of “Nail it, Kayla!” and almost went blind from over-exposure to under-clothed (but well-endowed) tappers. And I wasted hours upon hours of quality weekend time that could have otherwise been spent binge-watching Downton Abby, waiting for my daughter to perform her three-minute jazz number. When we finally made it home that Sunday, I was ready to pull her from the team and return to the frozen fields of youth soccer.

This year, at the same competition in the same hotel, with Maddie actually dancing twice the number of routines, I actually enjoyed myself. I knew to bring a good book, to retreat to my “quiet space” if I felt edgy, and to appreciate the weekend for what it was- a chance for my girl to do what she loves most.

I guess I’ve simply mellowed out. Was there dressing-room drama? Absolutely! Did I have a slight ringing in my ears after the third awards ceremony of the day? Indeed I did. But I came away surprisingly rested and of course, feeling extremely proud of my daughter. So, my apologies. I’ll try to find an exciting topic for next time! Peace out.

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