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Josie loves to dance, she loves skirts and dress-up clothes, and I kept seeing her parade around the house carrying a bag saying, "Bye mommy! I'm going to my dance class!"

What satellites beamed this idea into her head, I wondered? I had no idea. Dance class didn't sound very bad-ass to me, plus I've read too much about the evils of princess culture... but eventually isn't it kind of about fitness and coordination? and kids learning to follow instructions and stand in line? maybe this could be healthy.

First I posted around to find a "progressive" dance class, something like world dance, with diverse students and a relaxed dress code. Wichita seemed to have no great options for kids her age, but someone told me there are hip hop dance classes at the community center so I looked, and it sounded AWESOME. Another friend of mine with daughters said the rec center hip hop dance class was a giant hot mess, she knew parents who'd pulled their kids out it was so awful, but I figured what's the harm might as well try it.

I signed up. I waited. Finally the day before the dance class I told josie about it, and she just beamed... she was so happy! And all the next day marc said she was talking about it, we'd go in the evening, it'd be awesome! But with four hours to go I got a voicemail that they'd cancelled the whole session. Low enrollment. I had to tell Josie. It was AWFUL.

I mean I know there are kids who have to, like, flee war torn regions of the world and go without food. But this is the first world and telling your kid that her dance class got cancelled is pretty awful.

With Josie in tears I called my friend back who'd warned me and said "YOU WERE RIGHT OUR LIVES ARE RUINED!" and she talked me down, and told me what to do. and I did everything she said... basically that she was sorry the "cool" dance class was not very well organized, but for a sure thing we would have to go Traditional, because those ballet studios know what they're doing, they're together. and it'll all be okay. sigh.

I called the recommended location near us and they said three year olds could jump into fall class any time, in fact there was one meeting in two days, just get her the shoes. My friend hooked me up with some hand-me-downs. It was looking okay, I was still a little cautious, but the big night came and the class was happening.

And it was actually pretty cool. About 6-7 little girls in their halloween costumes because it was halloween week, and their costumes were not crazy pre-skank costumes, one girl was captain america. they were not all white suburbanites, and not all brought by their moms. everyone just followed the teacher and they ran around and josie caught right on... not with the "listening to the teacher" thing so much, but she watched what the other girls did. peer pressure works better than authority I guess? And I kinda realized that no matter what "dance style" she's learning, the lessons for 3-year-olds are probably about the same: can you put one foot behind you? nope? well maybe next week...

And josie? dance class, at LAST! She was absolutely beaming the whole time, could not stop, she was happy for hours that night after class ended. She loved the teacher, usually josie is a little shy around adults she doesn't know but when the teacher asked the class a question josie had to pipe up and tell her life story or whatever, I wasn't sure what all was going on because we were watching behind a mirror type thing, but it was cute.

we're probably totally sucked in. but it's okay now, I think it's good. and josie clearly approves.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 5th, 2013 01:07 am (UTC)
Ballet is great for posture, flexibility, ability to follow and remember instructions. Yes, it's more traditional, but if she's loving it, there are a ton of benefits. :)
Nov. 5th, 2013 05:04 am (UTC)
good for you and for her! i'm sure she will love it :-)
Nov. 5th, 2013 05:08 am (UTC)
We went through pretty much this exact thing exactly a year ago. It is hard to deny something they love SO MUCH.
Nov. 5th, 2013 06:05 am (UTC)
I'm jealous. Sephie reacted to dance class like it was the Spanish Inquisition. We gave it a good try for four weeks, but skipped out on the fifth and sixth because she just hated being there.
Nov. 5th, 2013 04:27 pm (UTC)
hah that happened with us too.
Nov. 5th, 2013 08:14 am (UTC)
I started ballet lessons when I was 3 and continued for 15 years. Over the last couple of years as I've arisen from the fog of Ph.D.-madness, I've really begun to miss dancing, and I'm considering in another year or so when Gwen is 3 looking around to see if there's a dance studio that also does adult lessons. I'd love to get back in to it, if for nothing more than to regain all the flexibility I've lost!
Nov. 5th, 2013 11:53 am (UTC)
I had a friend who's son did ballet until he was 11 or 12. Until that point he had a lot of fun and really enjoyed going. It was a good work out and a good way to meet friends. Once he hit middle school age, he moved up to a more serious class and didn't enjoy it anymore, but I think that's true for a lot of group things. The moms also got more serious at that age, so my friend was kind of glad she didn't have to deal with them anymore!
Nov. 5th, 2013 02:55 pm (UTC)
My sister and I went to numerous dance classes when we were kids: "tumbling" when we were Josie's age (which was a mix of ballet and light gymnastics), then ballet ages 4-6, then tap ages 7-9 , then jazz ages 10-11. In all of them, we love the class but had serious meltdowns for recitals. So don't be surprised if that happens. But hey, we didn't turn out to be fru-fru princesses, so of course there's hope for Josie! ;)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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