Why I Dance: Real Me Monday

Real Me Monday

Today just happens to be the day of dance recital. We get to rehearse in the morning, then come back this evening to perform.

My Princess danced in her first recital at Christmas. After it was over she cried and said, “why didn’t we start over again?” She would have done the whole performance a second time that night if she could have.

After crying when she had to leave rehearsal the other night and asking me every day if she gets to go on stage, I’m sure this recital will be much the same.

Since it’s recital day, I wanted to share some of our dance story. How My Princess got started and how I got back into dance and why.

 

Dance costume

My finale costume. So pretty!

When I was a little girl, my brother, sister, and I took dance and music classes with other homeschoolers at a local dance academy. We did ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, choir, etc. I liked ballet for awhile, but as I got older, I became very self-conscious of my body (we weren’t allowed to wear skirts–tights and leotard only). Also, my teacher was very strict, yelled frequently, and made me feel even more self-conscious than I already was. What once was fun became overwhelming. I would go to class and leave after a few minutes feeling sick to my stomach. I often stayed out for the rest of class. I don’t remember how long that last, but I know I was about twelve when I quit taking classes.

I began taking a couple classes again for one more year when I was thirteen to fourteen. I don’t remember much about it. That was a hard year for me overall.

I pursued other things after that. I took piano for a few years and worked a lot. When I was in college, I did a dance that was student-directed/choreographed, but aside from that, I hadn’t done any dancing for years.

A few months after My Princess turned two, we watched the Nutcracker on netflix. She was hooked. She danced everywhere, all the time. Despite being quite clumsy in other areas of life, she was the most graceful fairy princess when she danced. I knew that as soon as she was old enough, I was going to put her in a dance class.

My Princess ballet lesson

My Princess at her first ballet class

I researched local dance academies and found Sonshine. The teacher, Miss Kathie, was someone I had worked with doing a show as a kid. I knew she would be wonderful with My Princess. I also knew she would focus on classic ballet technique and performance rather than dance competitions. I wanted my daughter’s love of ballet to grow and not be distorted by some of the things I have seen come out of the competition circuit.

She started the summer she was two and a half doing dance camp for five days in a row. To say that she fell in love was an understatement.

Ballet teacher & student

Miss Kathie showing her the beautiful ballerina pictures on the wall in the studio

During that time, her teacher kept encouraging me to try dancing again. I thought it would be fun, but I was nervous to try. It had been thirteen years since I had taken a dance class. I eventually just bought my ballet shoes and tights so that I wouldn’t chicken out.

Ballet shoe & tights

The first couple weeks were hard on my body. I was so sore, but I was inspired by how much I remembered. I improved every week. It has now been nine months since I started back and…

This is why I dance…

1. Body

I have had three children and gained and lost the weight with each. While, I didn’t feel overweight, I didn’t feel like my body was very strong. Each pregnancy took a lot out of me. Dance has helped me tone up and not just lose weight, but turn fat into muscle that is actually helpful to my body. I have noticed that I don’t get sore as easily when doing physical things, and I have a lot more endurance.

After years of chiropractic, my body is finally adjusting better than ever, and my last scan was the best I have ever had. I knew that stretching and exercise would help with that, but I had never been motivated before. My chiropractor said the difference has been noticeable since I started dancing and stretching regularly.

2. Mind

Before I started dancing, I had embraced the “old.” I claimed being “old” because I had already had three children. I was older than people I was around frequently because of working with the youth. I felt my mind deteriorating–I joked about the kids sucking the brain cells out of me in the womb.

Learning new dance moves and routines, moving my body and getting the endorphins flowing has helped my mind become more clear. I feel young again. I may have three kids, but I don’t have to be old. I want to be able to run around with them without getting too tired. I want to keep up with them mentally as they grow and learn new things.

It makes me say “I can” instead of “I can’t.” I can do this tap dance even thought I haven’t tapped in fifteen years and the recital is a week away. I can do the floor routine even though I have a weird tailbone that sticks out and hurts when I roll on the floor. I can do it because of adding padding to my rear, and I can decide not to be self-conscious at all about it because it’s worth it.

3. Spirit

God made my body. God gave me desires in my heart. I can fulfill His purpose in me by giving my time to dance. I am renewed every time I am able to go to class. I have opportunity every time I dance in class or on stage to glorify Him because He made me. I think He smiles when I move my body joyfully and gracefully.

I can give Him honor as I set an example to the other students to have a good attitude and encourage others. I give Him glory when I honor my teacher with consistency and loyalty.

This is a desire that He has obviously placed in my daughter as well. She beams with excitement when she sees me put on my tights and leotard and tells me I look beautiful. She watches with admiration as she sees me dancing with my class. This is something that we can share together for years to come and is a connection point that I believe is God-given. It’s something we can do together and talk about. I can set an example of how a dancer should act.

I am so thankful for my husband who encourages me to dance, and even though at times he wishes I were home, he stays with the kids so that I can be renewed in this way. He sees how much I love it and sees how much it has helped me. In fact, he supports his girls so much that he volunteered to help call the show for the recital tonight!

Miss Kathie says you are never too old to take a dance class. So if you used to dance or have never even taken a class once, give it a try! Try ballet or tap, ballroom or even zumba! Get your body moving–it will be good for your body, mind, and spirit.


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