After much thought, overthinking and discussion, we made E’s biggest wish (well, at least for this month anyway) come true this week — we started dance lessons.
Thank you so much to everyone who weighed in on To Dance or Not To Dance? post. Your input, experiences and advice was really helpful and very much appreciated.
After asking around, I found a place that is near our neighborhood, has a convenient schedule for us and seems to have the right philosophy for E’s age group. A friend of mine, who is one of the most reasonable, down-to-Earth and no-nonesense moms I’ve ever known, has been sending her 4-year-old daughter there for a year and I trust her judgment.
Without much warning, we were off to try our first dance class. E. could barely contain her excitement the whole drive there.
The entire drive there, she peppered me with questions: What is the teacher’s name? What will her new friends’ names be? How many dances will she do? Will Angelina Ballerina be there?
We got there early so I could fill out some paperwork. I thought it would be good for her to watch the older girls in the class ahead of her for a bit. She was mesmerized.
Since we only found out she’d be going to class that afternoon (while I was at work), I didn’t have time to get her proper ballerina gear. But the teacher told me she could wear whatever she wants, even if it’s dress-up clothes. My parents got her this for Christmas and it’s her favorite outfit ever. I was a little nervous it’d be too much, but I was excited to see that in her class, most of the girls had something similar on.
And the tights? Well, it was just dumb luck that I had a pair that still fit her from last winter’s Christmas outfit. We didn’t have shoes yet, but she didn’t need them.
It was finally time to head in. Sadly, I wasn’t allowed in! At least I could spy through the windows, hence my scary, stalker paparazzi-style pictures below.
He immediately started with roll call. And if those kids didn’t say “here!” they did not move on until she or he did. He’s a stickler for rules. I like him already!
Then, it was stretching and warm-up time. Look who was trying to be teacher’s pet already.
I know she’s my daughter, but I think this girl was born to dance.
Finally, the class ends with some gymnastics. This week, the teacher brought out some large exercise balls. Remember how I told you he’s strict? As he’s passing out these enormous, fun balls, he told the kids that these were not toys to be played with. We thought, there’s no way a group of 2- and 3-year-olds listens to that. But amazingly, they did! He showed them how to roll their backs on them against the wall, and then they laid flat on their backs and held the balls in the air between their legs. This is totally how Russians make tough kids, right? I’m on board!
E. rocked it all, and somehow, loved it even more at the end of class than she did at the beginning.
So, even though DadJovi is still very skeptical about the whole thing, we’re in it for now. Someone may have called my mother and said his heart was made of stone because he wasn’t convinced it’s worth the money … even after seeing her twirling across the floor in her tutu. And my mom may have put a check in the mail today to ensure her only granddaughter still gets to go to lessons. But I can neither confirm nor deny that.
The funniest/saddest part of the whole evening came after we left class. She rode home with DadJovi since he’d met us there from work and says to him, “I want to go to ballet school every day.” He told her that she’d still go to her regular school the next day.
E: “No, no more new school (yes, one year later, she still calls her school ‘new school’). I go to ballet school now.”
He explained to her that she’d still go to her regular school during the day and once a week, she’d go to ballet school, too. Cue the waterworks. This child, who adores her teacher, her friends and her school, was willing to cut them out of her lives without a second glance back.
She’s like the black swan already.
Note to self: never show her this movie/TV show:
We even got free shoes at her school! There’s a basket of tap and ballet shoes that older kids have outgrown. I suppose that’s a little gross but I’m
cheap practical. One of the moms there told to expect to pay about $40 to $50 for the ballet shoes and tap shoes (together, not each). Since E’s feet are always growing, I have no qualms about her wearing hand-me-down shoes.
Besides, we have recital costumes to start saving for (shhh! don’t tell DadJovi!).
Now that I’m raising a prima donna, what else do I need to know about the world of dance? I’m a stranger in a strangeland here.