You went to your first dance class today. All the adults in your life have known for a while that you love to dance, but we were hesitant to enroll you in formal classes because we don’t want to “schedule your life.” We want you to have lots of time to play and use your imagination, unfettered by rules and time constraints other than standard safety rules and practicalities like meal times.
But a few weeks ago, we were in a shopping center with a dance studio. Though it was chilly and windy – and your bedtime was swiftly approaching – you wanted to crouch outside the bank of windows and watch the teen-aged dancers. When I finally convinced you it was time to get back in the car and go home, you asked if you could dance with them next time. Daddy and I exchanged knowing looks. We thought you might be interested in dance classes but hadn’t expected you to ask outright so soon. We took it as a sign that you were ready.
We found a studio very close to our house that focuses on having fun while learning, rather than pressuring and drilling tender souls like yours. I told you last Saturday that you would get to start Tuesday, and every day since then you’ve asked if it was Tuesday yet. You were so excited this morning that you practically leaped out of bed. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen you get up so quickly. And as I watched you prancing across the floor and bending at the barre, I couldn’t help smiling and laughing. You were definitely having fun, but you were also learning.
We’ll keep taking you to dance classes as long as it’s still fun for you. We don’t want to be “those” parents who obsess over competition and perfection, and based on my conversations with the other parents, this studio seems like a good fit for you and for us right now. Some day, you might be interested in a more challenging class at a more competitive studio, or you might not. We love you and will support you no matter what you choose to pursue. But for now, my little ballerina, we love to see you dance for joy.