With the over dramatized antics of the mothers on Lifetime’s DANCE MOMS, young dancers and dance moms in real life have gotten a bad rap. When I told my friends and family my three year old would be starting dance I got some not too pleasant reactions, but dance can be a great experience for children and, I promise, it doesn’t have to be as competitive as reality shows make it out to be. Here is what it is really like coming from a prior dancer and now mother to a young dancer just starting out.
The majority of dancers do not spend days on end in a dance studio, it just doesn’t happen. Before a competition or performance extra practices will be held but dance doesn’t interfere with school and most of our children are not home schooled so that they can dance all day. How much time and energy you want to invest is up to you. My daughter is just starting out and once a week is plenty of time to learn the basics and make some new friends.
Yes, like any sport, dance costs money. That being said, most teams don’t get a different costume every week. For non-competitive teams the same costume is usually used for different performances or a couple of costumes are bought for recitals. Practice clothes can usually be picked up for less than $10. There is money that has to be paid for tuition at the dance school and depending on the age and skill level it can be a few hundred dollars a month but some schools do have scholarships and there are a lot of studios with classes offered once or twice a week.
There might be some bickering between other moms but they are nothing like the cat fights you see on TV. For the most part we don’t yell or call names during dance class and are pretty civil. Most of the time, except with the youngest dancers, the moms don’t even see each other for long because they don’t sit together watching every practice.
We don’t subject our little dancers to the harsh criticism and bullying that the DANCE MOMS girls face from their dance teacher. Even in areas with limited studios the teachers are generally caring and offer constructive criticism, not put downs.
Dancing should be a fun, social experience for young dancers. It also offers other benefits like improved self-esteem, sparks creativity, and keeps them moving. If your child is interested, it is worth it to give dance a try.