How to be the Perfect Dance Mom!

Things You Need to Know

1. Have your child to class at least 15 minutes early. This cuts down on the possibility of being late due to traffic. It gives your child time to socialize with their friends which cuts down on talking during class. Your child will have time to warm up and get focused as well.

2. Make sure your child has the proper dress code. Good schools have strict dress codes. There are many reasons for this. When all students look the same, mistakes stand out better and can be corrected more quickly. It’s important for a teacher to see the body to check technique, footwork, placement and alignment. Having the hair slicked back in a bun helps the child master spotting for pirouettes. I understand many parents want to save money by buying shoes a size or two up, but this is very dangerous to the dancer and can cause injury, so can dancing in shoes that are too small or in pointe shoes that are dead.

3. Make sure your child is eating healthily. Dancers are athletes that need to fuel their body properly. My mom cooked most of my meals and packed my lunches herself. She made sure I had a good breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. She was constantly on me to drink water. She never kept junk food or soda in the house and she gave me fruits and vegetables at every meal. My dad planted a garden every summer so we would have enough homegrown veggies. If she knew I was dancing all day, she’d pack me a huge salad, fruit, nuts, pretzels, etc. and lots of water. I ate a lot and I ate often, but she made sure it was all good food.

4. Make sure your child gets enough sleep. I hated my mother for it at the time, but there was never a television in my bedroom. If I had grown up in the computer age, I guarantee I wouldn’t have had one of those in my room either. ‘Your bedroom is to sleep in,’ she would say. The result was that I got a restful sleep without distraction or a reason to stay up. I had a bedtime when I was younger, which got me used to having a full night’s sleep. When I was older, once my homework was done, I would usually go straight to bed without prompting. (Probably due to the fact that I was exhausted from a long day of school and dance classes.)

5. Stock your child’s dance bag. Every dancer needs band aids, bobby pins, hairnets, a brush, extra tights, extra leotard, tampons, safety pins, a spoon and fork, tissues, toe pads, lamb’s wool and emergency cash. My mother would make sure I had all these things and while she was in my bag she would check my shoes to make sure they were in good shape and check for any handouts that might not have reached her. When I turned 13, it was then up to me to stock my own bag.

6. Stay informed. It’s important to read all paperwork thoroughly and put important dates on your calendar. Read all bulletin boards at the studio. Ask older students’ parents questions and spend a little time getting to know the faculty.

7.Start a summer program fund. Because my Mom did the above, she overheard many older students’ parents complaining about the cost of summer programs when I was about 8 years old. She asked how much it cost and about what age students were expected to participate in summer programs away from home. My parents didn’t have much money, so she realized she needed to act fast. My parents created a separate savings account for my summer study the next week and by the time I was ready to study away from home at 12, they had enough saved for me to go.

8. Volunteer. My parents, my mother in particular, were amazing volunteers. It made me feel that they respected and supported my decision to dedicate my young life to dance and it made me feel loved. My mother ran fundraisers, taught other moms how to put kids’ hair in a bun, cleaned up the waiting room on occasion and would pick teachers up at the train station when asked. My mother was costume mistress even though she wasn’t a seamstress. She hand sewed hooks and eyes, fitted costumes, decorated tutus, made head pieces, dyed things and anything else that was needed. She worked backstage in the dressing rooms and didn’t see me dance on stage from the audience until my final year of high school when the other mothers made her go out front and watch. My Dad worked backstage as well, pulling the curtain, running the fog machine and changing gels. My mother’s advice, ‘Don’t just help your own kid, help the others too, it’s very rewarding.’

9. Listen, but don’t react. Your child is going to get in the car and cry, say the teacher hates them, say casting was unfair, tell you they want to quit, say they should be moved up, say they aren’t getting as much attention as others and tell you the other students are mean to them at least a few times a year. This should sound familiar to you because these are the same things you say to your spouse various times during the year about your job. You say these things to vent and to get a little sympathy, but you would die if your spouse picked up the phone and called your boss to try and fix your issues with work. Your dancer is no different when it comes to you calling their teacher or artistic director. They want sympathy, they want to vent and they want to feel they’ve been heard, so listen to them. The only exception is if this is happening every day for over a week or seems to be an ongoing issue, then you should call and schedule an appointment with the teacher to talk over the issues.

10. Stay positive. Be excited for your dancer no matter what part they get. Find the bright side of things. If they have to repeat a level, tell them they will be the best dancer in the class. Encourage them to work harder. Empower them. I remember when I was asked to understudy a part I really wanted and I was very upset. My mom listened sympathetically and then asked me, ‘what are you going to do about it?’ I didn’t know what she meant. She told me, ‘If you really think you can do the role better, then prove it. Learn it faster and dance it better than the girl who got it. If it doesn’t make them reconsider, it will at least leave a positive impression on them and make them think about you the next time they cast a work.’ You know what, it worked, and more than once too. I got that role over the girl who was originally cast. I also had two choreographers insist on adding a second performance for me, the understudy, to be able to have a chance to dance the role as well. It taught me that: I controlled more than I thought, that hard work does pay and that just because you’re cast in a role, doesn’t mean it will stay yours. Hard work beats talent, especially when talent doesn’t work hard.

content via http://www.allthatdancecompany.com/blog/

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