Firstborn briefly attended ballet school. Actually, it was a ‘conservatoire’ let us pause for a minute to embrace the supreme scent of wankery in that title.
(British noun: conservatoire; plural noun: conservatoires)
1. a college for the study of classical music or other arts, typically in the continental European tradition.
“she studies piano and violin at the Paris Conservatoire”
Granted If your dance school sits on the Rue du Gard, in the shadow of the Eiffel tower where Danse Director, Madame le Bon Bon, bangs her stick to keep time, then I think you can get away it. However, When you are operating in Perth, Western Australia on an industrial estate, sandwiched between an adult shop and a garage, maybe not so much.
“Not for all”
The sniff of elitism in the land of ‘pie an saws’ is decidedly unpalatable. As one of the glowing reviews of the school noted, “it is not for all.” We lasted three terms. Then the chants of “good toes, naughty toes” from my four-year-old in the back of the car began to grate on me, (be thankful you have feet child!) When I had received my third hand written note for “unrestrained hair wisps,” I realized we were probably the wrong side of the ‘not for all’ divide. When I asked my daughter if she wanted to do a fourth term she kind of nailed it. “mummy, I just want to dance about in a tutu, I don’t want to do steps or be serious.”
We eventually did find our dance school spiritual home. It’s a relaxed affair, no one spouts terms like ‘elite’ or ‘crème de la crème.’ When our teachers arrive in the car park, they are not so much banging canes as banging out hip hop tunes on Spotify from the sub woofers of their Hyundai’s. We don’t have a dance school uniform,we have ‘gang colours’, if you possess an item of clothing in electric blue, or hot pink you’re pretty much in. The dance moms here have each other’s backs, were gonna wrangle that wiglet like a pro for you newbie, and never fear, we got a big can of whoop ass ‘Priceline’ hairspray to nail that fecking wispy bit of your kids hair, so it stays stuck to their scalp for a month. So, today when my kids are making a complete train wreck out of whatever song they are killing at the end of term dance concert I will feel perfectly relaxed. Yes, our dance teacher realizes that it’s perfectly ok to have the end of term dance concert in week three of the new term, because end of term is just too batshit crazy. Absolute Legend.
A cursory glance at any mums and bubs forums under the heading “dance schools” reveals what I have always suspected. Levels of Oxytocin during pregnancy render us all criminally insane for the next five years. It’s not our fault. We are conditioned that our offspring must leap from the womb destined for greatness, and it is our job to nurture them and provide every opportunity, so they can achieve their full potential. Isn’t that the way it goes? Here’s the thing. I have had to reassess my life expectations for my kids and for me as a mother, because, my confession. I am an adult woman and I don’t think I achieved my full potential. I fell way short of what my family and other people thought I should have achieved. My life has been one long, messy, wonderful, conundrum of epic fails, co incidences, serendipity, and interventions of fate. I have a suspicion that many of us could hold up our hands to not fulfilling their potential in a resounding ”No I’m Spartacus” show of solidarity.
Nobody puts baby in a corner
There will undoubtedly be a time when your kids are grown, when they tell you, the way you raised them was wrong, whatever approach you took. I am expecting it, my goal is just to get them there in one piece feeling ok about themselves and the rest of humanity. Until then, I am just going to put on my big girl tutu and jiggle about a bit. There will be no cries of “if I can’t be a ballerina, I won’t dance here,” because the music is too beautiful to ignore. If you are scared of being judged by the people who are watching, turn off the lights and dance ‘a la Springsteen’ but don’t forget the joy of moving before you knew the steps.