Opinion: Competitive dance draws crazies


Our topic for discussion this morning, class: “Does competitive dance make a tween-age girl crazy or are crazy girls the only ones drawn to competitive dance?” Either way, as I sit in the lobby of a Midwest casino with my 11-year-old daughter recapping her first day at national competition, it occurs to me we may have a problem. Our youngest is a borderline brat!

She’s always had a flair for the dramatic – she’s the baby of the family after all – but I do feel like the “all-about-me” attitude has increased. I just can’t tell how much is related to the scary-catty-emotional phase common to preteens and how much is because of the scary-catty-emotional world of dance.

Her older sister was nothing like this. She’s as even-keeled as they come, hormones and flighty friends be damned. She seriously could care less if others like her and was rarely sucked into the ever-changing popularity maze of middle school. But she wasn’t a dancer either. Her “thang” was rec volleyball where the only accessories were knee pads. She won or lost based on how many points her teamed scored, not on how cute she was or how much money we spent.

That’s the reality of dance. The more cash you can commit, the more your dancer can do, and consequently, the better she’ll be. We allowed our daughter one solo and three group numbers this year because it’s so expensive. She understands and respects this restriction, but knowing the why doesn’t help curb her jealously or bitterness when she sees her friends up on stage for six, eight or even 10 numbers.

And let’s not forget the inherent drama when 40 girls in false eyelashes and sequin booty shorts have to sometimes compete against each other. It’s so over the top I feel like I’m a supporting cast member in the Real Dance Girls of Indianapolis. [Bravo, please contact me! This show would be fantastic!)

So is my daughter’s diva attitude because she’s 11 or because she’s a dancer? I suppose only time will tell. Until then, wish me luck! Peace out.

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