I have just delivered Miss 9 to her first dance competition. I have left her in the capable hands of her dance teachers for hair and makeup. Two hours from now I will see her along with two others from our school dance their first competition. A Lyrical Trio.
Our local arts centre is a buzz with young dancers, anxious dance teachers and mothers. We all want the best for our daughters, we have all invested a considerable amount of money and time getting them there. The atmosphere is tainted with external competition and internal questioning, judgement, being good enough, being better.
I admire my daughter, she is not a diva and I am no dance mum, should that be mom? Miss 9 has overcome terrible stage fright. Her father once jumped up mid concert to collect her from stage during a catatonic fit of hysterics during an early performance of Robot No 1 – her first tap number. She went on to finish the concert with great success and we told her right there and then that she didn’t have to dance another step. We would find her something else to do. Our five year old should not be stressed over a two minute tap routine.
Miss 5 wanted to dance. While she did not give up we did change dance schools. Miss 9 finished last year performing a solo jazz dance at the end of the year concert. We were all nervous, and so proud when she finished it beautifully. Perhaps proud is not the right word because I was already proud of her for not giving up. For dancing because she loved to dance. Finishing the dance, performing on that big stage all by herself, that was her battle won. No one, not me, her dad, or even her teachers could of helped her once she stepped out centre stage. She did it, all by herself.
I asked Miss 9 how she felt today she told me that she was nerv-cited, a mix of nervous and excited. She knows that we love her no matter what. But I think that because she loves herself, that she wants to test her own boundaries and face her own fears that she is going to have a great time at comps this week. She wins in my book just by turning up.
What have I learned? Show up! Love yourself enough to give yourself the chance to do the things that you want to do. Silence your own inner critic long enough for your song to play.