She Dances!

Hula Girl started pre-ballet in June, when she turned three. She attends once weekly, on Thursday mornings. Her teacher is a wonderfully patient woman who just loves teaching ballet. She is so very kind to the girls in the class.

There are three little girls in the class- A, B, and Hula Girl. B is exactly a year older than Hula Girl, which means Hula Girl is the youngest in the class by at least a year. This is not a bad thing. Hula Girl is quite tall for her age, so she is just barely shorter than the other two girls. She is less talkative than the other girls. Some would call her shy, but I say she’s slow to warm up. She and I talk about how she feels nervous sometimes and it’s okay, but she does need to say hi to her teacher and her friends in class. She does this well now.

Hula Girl is great at listening and following directions. She keenly observes everything Miss S. does, and tries hard to do the same thing, even to the point where Miss S. puts on her glasses and Hula Girl mimes the same movements. Hula Girl hasn’t quite figured out how to put her hands on her hips. They end up wrapping around her little belly most of the time. It’s pretty cute.

She is very serious about her dance and tells me that she adores ballet all the time. (She uses the word “adore” because she has heard it in Fancy Nancy books. Love those books.) Her love of dance is apparent. She spends at least an hour a day practicing, singing the songs from class, and insisting that Jonathan and I watch her doing the same steps over and over. Of course, her little 3-year-old body is nowhere near perfect when it comes to technical skills yet, but she really knows what she wants to accomplish and she is dedicated. What I love most, however, is the way she lets dance invade her life at all times. For example, we were walking through the mall the other day and she cried out, “Mommy! Stop!” I thought something was wrong. I asked her if she was okay, and she said, “I just need to practice my demi-plié.” Then she put her little hands on the sides of her tummy, shuffled her Crocs into first position, and opened her knees into the telltale diamond of a demi-plié. Once she did it a few times, she said, “Okay, we can go now.” Well, there ya go.

Beyond the technical skills of dance, pre-ballet has its benefits for a very sheltered daughter of a crazy stay-at-home-mom like me. Hula Girl has had to experience being under the direction of a teacher and has had to listen to a different voice of authority for the first time in her life. Her previous storytime and swimming lessons experiences still involved parents as authority figures; this summer Mommy has been on the sidelines. It was terrifying for her at first. But today she took Miss S.’s hand and walked right into the studio without even a backward glance. I am glad I’m homeschooling so I can smile at this blossoming independence rather than feeling like it’s the beginning of a new era!

Socially, Hula Girl is still a bit awkward. Part of it is her age. A year is still a big gap at 3-4 years of age. The other girls are much more interested in each other than Hula Girl is. She looks at them like they’re crazy when they have trouble following Miss S.’s directions perfectly the first time. I know that part of this is that she’s very obedient by nature, but it cracks me up to watch her silently scolding her friends (she would never dare to speak out of turn in ballet!!). She is also meek and therefore loses out to the louder, more opinionated voices of the other girls. For example, today she arrived first and Miss S. seated her on the middle tape mark. B arrived last, and was therefore placed on the end. When I peeked into the class midway through, B had taken over Hula Girl’s tape spot, and Hula Girl was standing behind her, silently willing her to move over so she could get back to the place assigned by Miss S. Finally B turned to her, pointed to her old spot on the end, and said, “I’m here now. You can go to my old place.” Hula Girl obliged because a new dance was starting and she wanted to participate in their “ballet marches, right in place!” I am very interested to see how her social skills develop as we continue on with dance!

I wasn’t sure we’d be continuing with dance past the summer, but Hula Girl really loves it. I did not expect to find something she loved this much until a bit later in life, and I don’t expect it to be a lasting love, but as long as she is interested, I will keep taking her. She has also expressed an interest in gymnastics, but those classes are offered at 2:30 on Fridays (in the middle of naptime!) so we will be holding off on those until next summer at least. We will be adding real swimming lessons (with an instructor, not Mommy or Daddy) this fall or winter. This is not something she has really expressed interest in yet, but I want to feel more comfortable taking both kids to the pool now that Gelato is walking. I will need to be VERY attuned to him, and I want to know she could make it to the edge if she needed to.

Anyway. I couldn’t be more proud of my beautiful little ballerina. Seeing her dressed up in her pale pink leotard, tights, skirt, and shoes, with her wispy blondie hair up in a special ballet bun (reserved for Thursdays), makes my heart swell with happiness for her every single week. I just know she’s doing something she loves, something which makes her feel proud of herself, and something she can use throughout her life.

And you guys. I do NOT want to be a “Dance Mom” ever, but if this is her dream, you know I’m buying a Bedazzler.

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2 Comments

  1. Kristy said,

    August 9, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Awww, miming putting on glasses! What a sweetheart! Even though I am indignant for her sake that B had her go to the last place, these will all be learning opportunities for her. With her parents’ wise guidance to help, of course. 🙂

    • August 12, 2013 at 2:37 pm

      It was funny because this past week, B’s mom said she talked to B about making Hula Girl go down to the end. B said, “Miss S. told me to be in the middle!” Ha! Aren’t they funny?


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