How to be a Good Dance Mum
Dance Mums are mega important and come in a variety of guises - not just the infamous ones on TV. They are as varied as a once a week recreational Mum of a baby ballerina to the Mum of a fourteen hour a week avid little jazz dancer who wishes imperatively to go to every competition that the chauffeur (Mum) can drive her to, and wears the skimpiest of costumes paid for by her financier (Dad) that decrease dramatically in size as they increase in price the older she gets.
The advise in this blog is not intended for the high endurance Mums of Vocational full-time students, as they need an encyclopaedic knowledge ranging from psychology to protein needs, pointe shoe fittings to Pilates cross training. In a nut shell, full-time vocational students need full-time managers.
At the very beginning, a good Dance Mum will research the best dance school for their child and be guided by previous professional dancer experience supported by world recognised dance teacher qualifications.
The local community or school hall might seem convenient, but that shiny parquet flooring will have been laid over a concrete slab and the effect on the undeveloped spine every time your child lands on the floor after a jump or leap is the equivalent of dropping a sack of concrete ten times their body weight on their heads. Even some dance studios hide the fact that their floors are not sprung but a simply covered over with a professional dance tarket. Always research your intended dance school thoroughly.
Once you decide on the best school for your child, then study the timetable carefully and choose a class where you both don't have to rush to get there. It's a sad fact that many dance students always miss the first few exercises as they are always late. If they wish to take an exam or join in the end of year concert, this could cause problems even though many dance teachers are very understanding of school traffic issues, etc.
Having enrolled in the right class, do take time to buy the correct uniform. Ask if the school has a preferred stockist or even their own shop, and try and get everything together before the first class. Children hate being the odd one out and not having the right gear.
If your little star is enrolling in ballet, then learn how to do a bun and practise a few times beforehand. The internet has great video tutorials. Always use good strong pins, a hairnet and copious amounts of hairspray or gel for the really professional look. Your dance teacher will be delighted.
Always check your child's dance bag each week before leaving home and make sure they have ALL the things they need. Do remember that tights and leotards need regular washing and shoes need airing, if sweaty after class. Check that shoe elastics or ribbons are not coming loose. Make sure your child has enough hair grips, pins, nets, etc. as these get lost so easily from week to week. Having their own brush is a must. Never send your child to a dance class with their hair loose, it gets in their eyes, mouth and face, and can turn a sweet dance teacher into a demon.
A good dance Mum needs to be patient and fully supportive of her child after every class. If your child occasionally seems depressed after a class and tells you she is feeling as though she hasn't done a good job, it is up to you to tell her otherwise. The little star has probably done a good class, as there will have always been a lovely pointed foot, or a beautiful arm somewhere during the class that she may not have realised she executed.
On top of regular dance classes, Super Dance Mums must be willing to don a chauffeur's cap and drive their dance mad offspring to workshops, master classes, competitions, concerts, and extra rehearsals if need be. This might be hard if other siblings need to go to little nippers or footy, and similar events at the same time. There are so many more opportunities aside from regular classes your child might like to do.
Try to avoid being a 'Car park' Mum, but instead, take your child through the dressing room or studio door. At the other extreme, please don't start to go into the studio and give corrections to your little dancer. Imagine a passenger wanting to start flying the airplane? Qualified dance teachers have studied the art of teaching dance for about five to seven years - have you?
Good Dance Mums also show great support and respect to their dance school. Most dance teachers work long hours and are grateful of help and support, especially at exam or concert time. Being a part of the back up team can be very rewarding and your child will be proud of your commitment and support.
In general, being as unlike the TV series, Dance Mums,
as possible is probably the best advise!