As a dance educator and studio owner, I sometimes see a disconnect between dancers and their parents. I remember being there myself as a young girl who loved dance and in my teen years would either just respond badly to my mom or not talk about how I felt at all because I didn’t know how to explain it and thought she just wouldn’t understand.
With this in mind, I polled my dancers ages 9 – 18 and had them answer this question:
” When It Comes To Dance, I Wish My Parents Knew…”
Their answers were beautiful and funny, some heartfelt and others random. But they were all things I know they have probably not really discussed in detail with their parents. Their answers hit true to home to what I felt as a young dancer.
So here are some of their top responses and I few I added as well. I have written them so that you can imagine your dancer saying them directly to you. The next time you look into your dancer’s eyes may you have a deeper understanding of what dance really is to them.
When It Comes To Dance, I Wish My Parents Knew…
1. I wish my parents knew how dance makes me feel.
Dance means more to me than I think you will ever know. I wish you knew how amazing and beautiful I feel when I’m dancing. I wish you could know the freedom I feel as my spirit soars and my soul sings when I move with the music. I wish you knew that all of the cares, drama and bad things of the day fall away when I come to dance, it’s my time to really be me. When I dance, I am inspired to be a better version of myself and I know I will accomplish big things one day.
Nothing compares with the feeling of dancing on stage! I love feeling like I am a part of something big and grand. It is amazing to know that my love and passion can touch the hearts of others when I dance. When the music, lights and steps come together, I can leave my heart on the stage and know that I have been a part something truly important and bigger than me. When the audience responds, the energy is electric – even if it isn’t applause. You know how you cry and your heart swells watching me dance sometimes? Well, imagine feeling like that but times a hundred and you will have a taste of what I feel when I dance.
2. I wish my parents knew that I want to dance all of the time.
I know that you think I dance a lot already, but I wish you knew that if I could, I would want to dance everyday. I want to dance all of the time because of how it makes me feel, and because I want to be really good at it. Being a good or great dancer takes a lot of time and sometimes I watch videos of professional dancers or I watch the advanced dancers at the studio and I want to be like them. I want to be the best that I can be and sometimes I am afraid that if I don’t dance enough, I may never reach my dreams of becoming a great dancer. Also, dance is my happy place and who wouldn’t want to go to their happy place every day? I love my dance friends and I love how I feel when I dance. Sometimes, even when I am not at dance, I am thinking about it and wishing I was there.
3. I wish my parents knew that dance class is hard sometimes.
I wish you knew that sometimes dance is easy, but sometimes dance is really hard. I wish you knew that even learning the names of the steps and what directions to face in ballet can be hard because it’s all in FRENCH! I wish you knew that dance is not just about learning the steps and combinations, but that we have to think about a lot of things all at once to do the steps correctly.I wish you knew that while we are dancing and trying to remember the counts and steps, the teacher is calling out things we need to correct at the same time. Small things like “Keep your chin level” and “Straighten your knees” and all the while we have to keep dancing and smiling!
I wish you knew that a lot of the steps look easy, but are really hard to do well. It takes a long time to get somethings to look right or even be able to do them at all and that’s why I’m glad they don’t let you watch until we have perfected everything for the stage. I don’t want you to see how much I struggle sometimes.
I wish you knew that dance is hard some times, but that’s why I love it. I love finally getting a step I have worked hard for. I love when the teacher notices and me and gives me a compliment for working so hard. I love that there is always a new challenge with dance, always something to aspire to.
4. I wish my parents knew that dance training is very demanding physically, emotionally and mentally.
I wish you knew how demanding dance is physically. I work hard to get stronger and more flexible sometimes to the point that I am shaking and it’s not uncommon for me to be sore the next day. I wish you knew how hard I try to balance school, dance and all of my other commitments. It can be emotionally draining at times to continue to give so much of myself and work so hard and still have some bad days where it seems that I can’t do anything right.
But I really do love it. Even when I come home crying and exhausted, sometimes the last thing I want to do is talk about it because I can’t explain that I still love it with all my heart and would never want to quit.
I wish you knew that when I come home from a bad day upset or discouraged, I don’t always need you to fix it. Sometimes I Just need you to help me remember everything I’m good at and that this was just one bad day cause deep down I know that tomorrow will be better. Training is just really demanding sometimes.
5. I wish my parents knew and understood some dance terminology.
I wish you knew some of the names of dance steps and what they are so that when I come home excited about getting a new or hard step you would understand what I am talking about. I wish you knew more about what happens in dance class because it’s really hard for me to try to explain it all sometimes!
6. I wish my parents knew I don’t try to kill my pointe shoes or ruin my tights!
I want you to know that I don’t try to kill my pointe shoes, sometimes they just really don’t last that long…especially when I am dancing in them a lot. I also don’t ruin my tights on purpose, they just easily get caught on things and I try to make it better but the hole usually just get bigger!
7. I wish my parents knew how much dance means to me.
I wish you knew that dance is a really big part of my life and a big part of who I am as a person, even if I don’t have plans to dance as a career. My dance family means a lot to me, they are some of my closest friends and I look up to my teachers so much… their opinions really matter to me.
I can’t really explain it well, but I know that I am supposed to dance, that I have an important part to play in my dance community and family and that I am a part of something that touches people’s lives. That’s why it means so much to me, I know I belong and matter when I dance.
8. I wish my parents knew that I am thankful for their support.
I may not always show it, or even know how to say it, but I am so thankful you let me dance. I wouldn’t get to experience all of the amazing joys and wonders of dance if you weren’t there to bring me to class, get my dance clothes, pay for classes and help me get ready for performances. Thank you for understanding that I need to dance and doing everything you do so I can live and pursue my dreams. Thank you for supporting me.