You would have thought I had all the time in the world to write blog post after blog post during the pandemic. It was actually the opposite for me. When we went into lockdown and “homeschool” mode, I had so much to say but no desire to do so. Like everyone else, I was exhausted. The one thing that didn’t slow down during the pandemic, was dance for my girls. My girls are both full-time dancers and on a competition team. They take jazz, ballet, hip-hop, contemporary, turns, tap, lyrical, acro, and spend additional time with their team. When they aren’t at dance classes, they are dancing around the house and choreographing their own pieces. This is exactly how we turned into a dance family.
I haven’t talked much here about dance and what it means for our family. I think we all know I have two left feet, although Doug can cut a rug when he wants to. I think I have been waiting to see if the novelty of it was going to wear off. Both of my girls started to dance a few years ago with one or two recreation classes but nothing serious. It wasn’t until the pandemic, when they were taking all of these classes online, that they really became interested. In late 2020, we slowly made our way back into the studio for in-person dance lessons. The next thing we knew, we were auditioning to be part of a team.
Most of the girls on the team have been dancing for years. We felt we needed to get them more exposure to ballet if this is really something they wanted to pursue. This is how we ended up auditioning for the Joffrey Ballet summer intensive. Before we knew it, both girls would be off to summer dance classes in New York City. The dance bug had got us hard and before long, we were a fully committed dance family.
Since last summer we have invested in private lessons and solo performances on the team to get the additional experience they needed. Again, they didn’t start off dancing at 4 or 5 years old like most kids. In fact, I started taking Emma to ballet when she was 3 years old and it did not go well. She repeatedly said, “I hate balletttttt” throughout her entire class resulting in us being asked not to attend again. After that, I really had no desire to take either girl to dance classes ever again.
We’ve gone from two competition dances per girl to fourteen. Emma is dancing in 8 numbers this year, Addie in 6. The girls are so different in their personalities and skillset that we get so much joy out of watching both of them. Our competition season is winding down now but we can’t wait for next season and what it has to offer. And as for our summer plans, it looks like New York is going to be on our summer list for several years to come. Both girls will be attending a two-week Joffrey program and all of us are thrilled and excited to see where this takes them. Not only will they be going to NYC with Joffrey, but they will also be attending their Cirque program as well. It’s the summer of dance for us.
There’s a lot about dance that has me questioning our sanity. Our spring weekends are filled with competitions, we have little time for anything else anymore, and we’ve started GreaterInk up again as a way to absorb some of the expenses from this full-time hobby. Like I’ve been saying for years with Girl Scouts, we will be 100% committed as long as the girls want to keep doing it. But honestly? I never in a million years thought we’d be a dance family. However, we are so thankful that our girls found something they are so passionate about.
For those of you who are in it just as deep as we are (looking/blaming you Emelia) you know what the commitment looks like. For those of you just starting out, make sure you have a studio with amazing dance teachers and families. You’ll be spending a lot of time with these families on the weekends. Sometimes for a week at a time in a city away from home. Great dance families can really make this experience fun for both you and your kids.