Right from the start, my girl loved to groove. Perhaps it was the wonderful Music Together classes, which she attended first in utero as her brother made music, and then in the flesh very shortly after her arrival. Our family has an epic brief video of my daughter at 18 months, clad only in a diaper, giving it all she had to Call Me Maybe.
So I probably should not have been surprised when she begged to go to dance class at three years old. This, however, was totally out of my comfort zone. But I recognized that this was not about me. So, all year, she danced. She made great friends and had a ball. She loved her costumes. The recital weekend wiped all of us out for days, but she LOVED it all.
At the end of year two, she received a trophy:
But things changed during her third year. For the first time, we were juggling dance with soccer and softball, newer activities my daughter loved, which more naturally matched her skill set. During the Spring, she was less engaged in dance. She just did not look like she was having fun. Still, she enjoyed her teachers and her friends, but it was clear to her that it was her last year of dance.
Until the recital. After a great weekend, dancing, playing with friends for hours and hanging with the older dancers, my daughter decided she would be back the next year.
Over the summer, she went back and forth about whether she would continue with dance. She ultimately decided she would, but admitted that she loved the recital, but not the classes.
I explained that we would not go through a whole year of classes if she did not enjoy them, just to perform in the recital. So we made an agreement: She would try dance for a month or so. If she was having fun in the classes, she would continue. If she was not, we would stop doing dance.
At this level, the dancers started using the barre for the first time. My daughter ran out of the first dance segment all smiles, raving about how much she LOVED it! It looked like she was hooked. For the first month or so, she was happily engaged.
The classes started getting more technical. After a ballet segment focused on the dancers standing on their toes, involving lots of correction, my daughter came out to change into her tap shoes and told me in no uncertain terms: “I don’t want to do dance anymore.”
I waited until the next day to start a conversation about it, after my daughter had a little distance from the experience. She said she was frustrated, that the dance class was really hard and she just was not getting it. She wanted to stop dance.
On the one hand, I wanted to run with that. Our Saturday afternoons would free up all year. We would have fewer conflicts with her other interests and be able to see more of my son’s activities. But was it the right decision, quitting when the going gets tough?
So we talked. We came into dance this year with the understanding that we may decide not to stick with it. But I explained that I did not want to leave because she was frustrated with one class. We agreed that we would try a few more times, and if she still decided dance was not for her, we would instead focus on other things.
I have to give the girl some credit. She showed up each week and gave it a go. She did not complain. She tried. But while she had fun with her friends and talking to the teachers, I could see her heart was not in it anymore.
After a couple of weeks of this, her position was the same. She did not want to do dance anymore. It was no longer working for her. And that was okay.
I am proud of my girl. She voiced her opinion, stayed open minded and tried hard. In the end, she is excited for new opportunities. And I, for one, cannot wait to see what she does next. She is only 6, after all.