Don't do it, don't send her to that first dance class, you have no idea what's to come!
Dear would-be Dance Moms,
If this were a film, instead of an open letter I'd probably appear as a premonition from the future, covered in bruises and desperately trying to fit myself into an old leotard (of course I'd be played by Lindsay Lohan) and I would wail:
‘Don't do it, don't send her to that first dance class, you have no idea what's to come!'
Whilst I lack the funds for such CGI ventures, the truth about the life of a wannabe dancer needs to be told.
If only, IF ONLY I could warn of the pain which comes with a childhood of dance lessons. The start is always so promising as well: Saturday mornings spent slipping about your local church hall, switching from being flamingos with good toes to elephants with naughty toes. Cherish those memories, because years later, when your daughter is lying on the kitchen floor, screaming because Sophie, a girl who only takes tap classes, got picked to be Sleeping Beauty, you will yearn for the days when dance was simple.
Because, dear mothers, like with any hobby, dance becomes an obsession, especially in the hands of girls trained from a young age to be the best. Every opportunity to dance in public becomes a competition. School discos will leave your children confused and disheartened; what do you mean nobody else knows the routine to ‘Reach For The Stars'? Why did someone wriggling about the floor win best dancer? Why don't they appreciate how hard it is to pirouette? Social interaction that involves movement will always be a struggle.
But the troubles don't stop at the school discos. Just wait until your little princess hits puberty and realises the horrifying truth; ballerinas don't have boobs. Well technically they do, but heck, one look on google image and you'll wonder how those girls survive the hours of training. All those pounds spent on pointe shoes, all those trips to see the royal ballet and now she's giving up for street dance.
But what if they do succeed? What if your spawn is the one in a million who is destined to take to the stage and spend their lives in tights? Well then welcome to a life of servitude, a life as a taxi driver, as an audience member, your earnings flying out the window every time their feet/body grows again. It will be you who has to lace the shoes, you waiting in the car park and you who will spend hour scrolling through internet ads after a slip in the dance studio ruins your child's career age ten.
But even after the classes, after the shows, the legacy of being a dance child will never leave you. Every time someone compliments a part of their body they will say, ‘oh thanks, I'm a dancer you know.' Clubbing, dance mat, and aerobics classes become competitions. Everything is a competition and sequins stir up FEELINGS.
So I close this letter by saying; choose something else. Choose anything else. Take them to football, gymnastics, extreme frisbee. Just don't put your child through the pain of dance.
Rachael Krishna (Ballet 7 years, Jazz 10 years)