In January of 2018, my littlest daughter turned 3 years old. She was SO excited to finally be old enough to take a dance class (after watching big sis take classes for years while she watched through a window).
I found a 3-year-old tap/hip-hop class at ________ and signed her up. When we arrived to her first class, the owner of the studio was the teacher, and there was only one other 3-year-old enrolled. I thought, even better! She'll get extra attention and love!
I watched through the window and it was adorable seeing her try to walk across the floor in these new tap shoes, trying to balance on one foot, and occasionally slipping and falling on her bum... she reminded me of Bambi learning something new.
But most importantly, she was trying her best and happy as could be.
At the end of class, she runs out excitedly yelling, "Mama! I'm dancing!" I gave her a big hug and told her I was so proud of her.
But then the teacher walks out frustrated, heads straight to her desk, grabs my check and says in front of all the other parents in the waiting room, "I'm giving you your forms and money back. She cannot follow directions."
I want to say that I had the guts to defend my daughter, but looking back, I'm glad we just walked out because why would I ever want my daughter attending that studio anyways? Thank goodness my daughter was completely oblivious to what had just happened and she has such a positive and resilient spirit. I had to talk to her in the car that we weren't going back to that class, and we would find something else for her. I was flabbergasted. I was confused. I was hurt.
My 3-year-old daughter was rejected from her one and only dance experience, and why? For being a developmentally normal 3-year old. Yes she needs guidance. Yes she needs reminders. Yes she needs practice and consistency and encouragement and LOVE! But how dare that studio owner open a class for 3 year olds and then judge my daughter in one shot, saying she will never be good enough? That my daughter is not worthy of her time or patience?
No, thank you.
I planned on waiting till the next semester to find another dance studio. But I knew my daughter wanted to dance. So I came across Love2Dance Studio in Novato, and hesitantly, I decided to try a drop-in class.
I was so scared. Was I really that "bad parent?" Was my daughter really that "bad student?" Is there such a thing??? Were we going to be embarrassed and disappointed again?
5 months later, my daughter was on stage in her first performance.
My daughter joined a 3-year old ballet class with at least 10 other children who confirmed to me that THIS was what a dance class should feel like. The teacher, Carolyn, was kind, patient, and cheerful, and the kids were dancing happily. Yes, sometimes doing their own thing, needing redirection, listening and not listening, but ultimately, celebrating the love of dance in a SAFE and LOVING space.
My daughter made so much improvement from that first class to learning how to memorize a routine by heart and perform it on stage! She was so proud of herself. I was so proud of her.
Even up until shelter-in-place these past few months, my girls have continued taking dance classes with Miss Lizzy and Miss Tara on Zoom. I am so incredibly thankful to Love2Dance for creating age-appropriate classes that instill a love for dance, and create success and joy for these little dancers.
Will you celebrate #MandelaDay with me?
I shared this story because this Saturday, July 18th is Nelson Mandela Day, a day to take action and inspire change. I would like to make our 9:30am PST Stop Drop And Dance class a donation class to continue supporting our fight for #BlackLivesMatter. In searching for an organization to donate to, I decided I wanted to choose a local, black-owned business. That's when I thought of Miss Tara, the owner of Love2Dance, and I cannot think of a better business I would want to support.
100% of donations will go directly to Love2Dance. Once you donate, you will get an Eventbrite confirmation email with the Zoom link to take class. Even if you cannot make it to class on Saturday, please consider donating to this wonderful dance studio.
Win a $45 Athleta Shop Card
As an added bonus, if you donate AND dance on Saturday, July 18th from 9:30-10:30am PST, I will be drawing 8 winners at the end of class to win a $45 Athleta Shop Card! (Winners must be present and cards must be used by July 31st).
If you are new to Stop Drop And Dance, it is a sweaty, cardio dance workout for all ages. The choreography is easy-to-follow and repetitive, and just like Love2Dance creates, the intention of class is just to have fun and feel good moving our bodies together. For this particular class, we will be using an all-black artist playlist. Shoes are recommended and be sure to have water nearby!
Thank you as always for taking the time to read my posts and to help me spread love, joy, and acceptance through dancing. I appreciate you.