Mom, you probably shouldn’t have asked not to be put in the blog. It made me immediately want to include you. I feel that you not only deserve a wonderful and relaxing Mother’s Day (see you on Saturday!), but also a dedication on this site that is now so dear to me (apologies though everyone that this is week two of sappiness). I know this will make you cry, Mom, because I’m actually crying just thinking of all the things I want to say to you. But I’ll start by addressing all the dance moms out there.
Dance moms are an ever growing population among the maternal sector (some even have their own TV show now). True, you can stick any sport or hobby name in front of “mom” and, boom, you’ve got one dedicated mother. But I am impartial, and I feel that the dance mom set is a particularly devoted crowd. It takes years of questions and show attendance to start to interpret the dance world lingo and competition (upstage, downstage, marley, french twist, pirouette, Tchai pas…). Only the most attentive and steadfast moms understand why it’s absurd that so and so got cast as the lead again and why you absolutely cannot have too much to eat before you go onstage for snow scene. It is an almost cult-like world that takes time to understand. As mothers (and fathers too) become more comfortable with the world of dance, the cheerleader factor definitely increases too. I admire parents of my students, who often spend time waiting at the studio every week-observing class when possible, inquiring how their dancer’s class was and what they learned that day. They attend rehearsals and serve as parent chaperones. They are the guardians of the baby ballerinas backstage, and they’re always prepared with an artillery of hairspray to ensure immovable and crunchy hair for all.
Without these helping hands, it would have been difficult for many of us to get our start. I have heard many stories of dancers who travel miles upon miles to attend the studio they know will help them succeed. But at a young age, how ya gonna get there?! (Mom, this joke is for you specifically). The answer is you can’t! Think back for a second. A lot of us had this loving support. But it is not something that every child experiences. Not every child has that opportunity and that flexibility in their family. Dance classes, shoes (ballet slippers, jazz shoes, pointe shoes, tap shoes, character shoes, how can one dancer possibly need so many damn shoes?!), leotards, summer intensives-like any other sport or activity, it is financially taxing. If you take one thing away from this week’s post, please thank those you love for their support. The world of dance and ballet is not an easy place, but behind every dancer is their biggest fan. Whether you have an actual fan base or a Mom who shuttled you to every ballet class, thank them because they are the ones that keep us going.
“If you take one thing away from this week’s post, please thank those you love for their support.”
Thank you, Mom. You’ve been my steadfast cheerleader from day one. I know you talk about me with all the pride in the world, but I want you to know that that’s how I talk about you too. Not many are able to share a bond with a mother who they can also dance alongside (those legs and feet!). I am proud of you. You are strong, and you do it for you. That is the best reason you can have to dance. It is an expression of yourself, whether you are young or old, strong or injured, a pro or a beginner. Thank you for nourishing my love of dance at a young age and igniting my spirit. Thank you for dancing to The Nutcracker with me in the kitchen (see pic below). Thank you for sewing some of my first pairs of pointe shoes and letting me practice pointe in the kitchen. Thank you for the countless summer intensives you invested in and for letting me gain exposure and knowledge elsewhere. Thank you for being so knowledgeable of my art form that I can explain a challenging adagio to you over the phone and you know what I’m talking about. Thank you for allowing me to follow my dreams and pursue a career in dance. And thank you for speaking proudly of me wherever you go. You helped me attain goals I never imagined, and you prompt me to push myself even when I think I cannot. You helped me become who I am today. When I start a performance, I need a strong intention. I need to devote my energy and my movement to someone. Sometimes I call upon the J.O.D. But sometimes I think of you Mom. This one’s for you. Happy Mother’s Day.