Confessions of a Dance Mom

By Nanci Neighbors-Scarpulla:

She enters the stage and positions herself for her first competitive solo. I hold my breath for a second. What if she falls? What if she forgets? What if….

The music starts and without missing a beat, she knocks out every kick, turn, twirl, and jump as if she had lived this routine all her life. She finishes, throws a kiss and exits the stage. Walking down the stage stairs, she gives several the onlookers high fives and giggles then runs straight to her mom.

That is my 9 year old daughter, and I am her mom. I am a Dance Mom.

The dance mom is getting a bad rap these days and it is totally with justification thanks to a new reality show. If you have seen the new Lifetime Series, “Dance Moms” then you know that the insane parenting cousin of “Toddlers and Tiaras” has been met with train wreck attention.

Moms screaming at each other, teachers screaming kids, kids crying, moms crying, inappropriate dance costumes and more make-up than a Mary Kay convention.

Reality shows are not always reality and “Dance Moms” is definitely not my reality.

Dancing has been a part of my life, all my life. So when I welcomed not one, but two little girls into my world, dance classes just came natural. We tried other things, soccer, karate, cheerleading, more soccer, but I was meant to be a dance mom.

The world of competitive dancing has itʼs ups and downs. The dancing part is relatively easy especially since the girls enjoy it and I can rarely go down a store aisle without having to stop them from pirouetting into the mayonnaise display. The rough part is when they are sitting in the back waiting to go on stage and they see other dancers backflipping and doing moves that seem physically impossible. That is when the nerves hit.

So the last thing I need is for a show to expose what NOT to do as a dance mom and play it off like that represents all of us dance moms. I can never imagine telling either of my girls or any child for that matter that they needed to get better or scream at them for an imperfect kick. I can assure most moms that if your child is willing to practice most of the week, dreams up dances in her naps, and immediately starts grooving to every song on the radio from Gaga to Dvorak, she is probably giving it her all.

Dance can be expensive. It can be costly in money, time, and accessories. It sometimes means we forgo other activities but at any time either of my girls says “No! I donʼt want to go anymore” then I have to decide if my wanting them to dance has become my
desire for them. I think this is a valid question that most moms need to ask themselves when it comes to extracurricular activities or recreation.

Moms need to encourage but there is a fine line between pushing your child into something and encouraging them to participate. It is up to you to look for signs that your child might not be as enthusiastic about it as you.

For now, I am a dance mom. We spend a lot of time at the studio or with our furniture moved to the corner of the living room so the girls can dance “on stage” in front of the TV. I cherish each moment and movement as I watch them improve each step, kick,
and twirl but I know when they reach up, they are reaching for the stars, or at least enjoying the chance to do so.


One thought on “Confessions of a Dance Mom

  1. What IF she falls? Then you, my sweet friend, will teach her the greatest lesson of all……how to get back up.

    That’s how you roll, babycakes!! You are an awesome friend and an awesome mom!!

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