Dancing Is Not Cancelled! Thanks to Debbie Allen Dance Academy!

81178884-6b8a-4572-9c16-b60a92780360My daughter excitedly asked, “When does dance class start again, Mommy?” She was ready in her comfortable workout attire eating for it to get underway. Yesterday, we got the chance of a lifetime to dance with choreographers from Debbie Allen Dance Academy live through Instagram. At first, Quinn was doing it by herself because it was advertised for three to seven year olds, but the dance instructor said, “Mommy’s and daddy’s join in too!” As I was watching from afar in the kitchen, “Quinn yelled out, “You can do it too, Mommy! Let’s dance together!”

Though I had on jeans, not the most comfortable for dancing, I quickly raced into the living room where I had the Instagram live feed mirrored to my TV. In knowing this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, I decided to record us dancing together. We moved, wiggled, giggled and even breathed heavily at times as we tried to keep up with the dance moves of the choreographer. Afterwards, my six year old said, “I think Kenzie (her thirteen year old cousin) could have done that dance too!”

We both struggled a bit trying to keep up with the fast paced African dance routine, but it really was so much fun. Plus it was great exercise too. Yes, now has been quite a trying time. There’s so many limitations on what we can do, so I’m so glad that Debbie Allen and her dance studio put together such a wonderful online event with thousands and thousands of people tuning in together. In times like this that we must remember the Zimbabwe African Proverb If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing. My daughter keeps me moving which in turns keeps my spirits up!

All the best,

Tanya

Hip to the Hop and You Don’t Stop: Dancing into a New Season with my Daughter

2c0bbea1-1927-4613-82df-7ebdfb711c16There’s something wonderful, perhaps even magical, about dance. It can put a smile on one’s face and even provide exercise. I even located a “Ted Talk”on why dance is just as important as math, science and language and may even help raise test scores. Last year, my daughter was eager to take jazz and tap. This year, after observing her big cousin and developing her own personal interests, she asked, “Mommy, can I take a hip hop dance class next time?” “Of course, I said,” but I had to find another dance school who offered hip hop classes for six year olds.

After doing some researching, I located a nearby dance school, Zero Gravity Dance Company, who offers a variety of classes, including beginner hip hop for children as young as five. Quinn was very excited as was I. Though I didn’t need to purchase any special “dance” shoes, she helped me shop for different dance class outfits along with “cool” sneakers to wear for hip hop class.

This past Tuesday, Quinn had her first class, which lasted an hour. Her teacher, Miss Dez, was not only personable but offered good instructions for children Quinn’s age to follow. My six year old followed along confidently and immediately told me after class that she can’t wait until the next one.

While Quinn has many more classes to go with the season ending in the late spring, I’m eager to see her growth as a dancer. I’m sure she’ll be able to teach me some moves. Actually, there’s an adult class offered, and I’m considering taking hip hop dance classes too. Maybe we can just have a fun time exercising and practicing together.

All the best,

Tanya

My Heart Danced to the Rhythm for My Little Girl! A Lesson in Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone with Persistence, Confidence & Positivity

 

“Are you excited about the dance recital, Mommy?” my six year old asked. To which I replied,  “Yes, I’m excited but a little nervous. How about you?” Quinn said, “I’m a little nervous and excited too!” In September, I enrolled my daughter in a local dance school for tap and jazz, and for months, they’ve been preparing for the dance recital which was just held this past Friday and Saturday.

About a couple of months ago, a notice was sent out recruiting moms to do a dance routine as a part of the recital.  As soon as I mentioned it to Quinn, her eyes lit up, and her smile widened. “Mommy, can you please do the mom dance? That would be so cool if we both were in the show!” Initially, I was excited because the song selection was “Rhythm Nation” by Janet Jackson, and the wheels were already turning with how I’d put together my outfit. But when I realized that there’d only be five rehearsals to learn the choreography, (a modified yet still involved version from the video) the anxiety set in big time.

Even though I loved being on the stage many moons ago rapping and doing spoken word,  I was extremely nervous. As a child, I was rhythmically challenged and lacked confidence. I’ve gotten a little better as an adult, but I still consider dancing to be out of my element and not my strong suit. But, I’m proud to say that I did not allow my nervousness to overwhelm me causing  me to bail out of the dance number.

It actually was an experience full of lessons, some old and some new, allowing me to grow as an adult. Even if I do not believe I am the “best” dancer,  I still gave it my all and remained confident on stage even if there was a missed step or two in the routine. Believe me, this was tough for me with my type A personality constantly critiquing my practice performances, but I, for the most part, remained positive and did have a lot of fun.

It felt good teaching by example and making a conscious effort to live by the lessons I try my best to instill in Quinn. What made it even more rewarding was seeing my little girl step out onto the stage full of confidence with a smile on her face.  I hope that as she rewatches my performance in the years to come that she will not just watch me dance with the group of moms but will actually listen to the lyrics of the song, “Rhythm Nation” as they still apply today and still will for many years to come.

“People of the world today
Are we looking for a better way of life
We are a part of the rhythm nation
People of the world unite
Strength in numbers we can get it right
One time
We are a part of the rhythm nation”

All the best,

Tanya

Can’t Stop the Feeling! Mommy’s Little Girl Loves to Dance

“I got this feeling inside my bones. It goes electric, wavey when I turn it on…” was not only the lyrics of the song playing for my four year old’s dance recital but how I felt as she did her tap moves with the other children in her class. “I Can’t Stop the Feeling” of excitement, nervousness and being a doting mommy as Quinn tried her best to keep in rhythm and do the steps she memorized for the past few months. Since she was about six months old, I’ve been enrolling her in classes at The Little Gym, and while some parents may choose to enroll their children in a facility that focuses exclusively in dance, I love it here because it is all about the children having fun, and there is not as much pressure to become “professional” dancers. Like her mother, my daughter has an inherent quality which may be a gift and a curse. She tends to be a perfectionist and will keep trying until she gets it just right or even becomes frustrated if she is unable to get it right. With this in mind, the environment at The Little Gym is ideal to help her relax more.

Nevertheless, I would not be totally truthful if I didn’t admit that I was proud that my daughter followed the instructions of her teacher, did not run off during the performance or suffer from stage fright and cry. Also, something that really put a smile on my face is how she handled a mishap with her tiara for the ballet routine. When she did a spin with her partner, it was knocked off of her head. In that moment, I was more anxious than she was as I wondered what she would do next. She simply reached down and put the tiara back on her head to the best of her ability and continued to dance. Now that really put a smile on my face. Even after the performance she said with a big smile on her face, “My tiara came off when I was dancing, so I had to put it back on, Mommy. But I kept dancing!”

After the dance portion, she and the other children displayed some of their skills on the gym equipment. Even though Quinn also inherited her lack of flexibility from her mother (me), she still keeps trying and had a fun time. This summer, Quinn’s going to try out karate at The Little Gym for a new and different experience, and then we’ll return to dance for the school year. This was a wonderful experience for the both of us.

When we prepared to leave, I just couldn’t get those lyrics out of my head, “…Nothing I can see but you when you dance, dance, dance. A feeling good, good, creeping up on you, so just dance, dance, dance…” It’s moments like these that make my heart dance and will stay with me always.

All the best,

Tanya

Mommy’s Monday Moments: My Little Girl’s Dancing Without Me, & I Couldn’t Be More Proud

Dance Class

Quinn in Her First Dance Class (The Other Children’s Faces Are Intentionally Blurred)

Yesterday, I posted a blog entry on my three year old transitioning from our mommy and me class to an independent class at the Little Gym. I was a little nervous since this was her first class without me, and I knew I would miss our class together. Today was her first dance class, and my little girl made me very proud as she followed the instructions of the teacher (at least 90 percent of the time) and danced around eagerly in her little tap shoes and then ballet shoes along with the other children.

Her former teacher at The Little Gym jokingly commented on how I was nervously pacing the floor looking into the classroom through the glass window while Quinn was full of smiles and probably wouldn’t have even noticed if I stepped out of the waiting area. While part of me wanted her to miss me and long for my presence in the classroom, it makes me feel good that Quinn is growing up and becoming more independent. Though I could see what was happening though the large glass window, it was a different experience for me because I could not hear all of what was going on in the classroom, and Quinn certainly could not hear me over the music and instruction from the teacher with it being in a separate room.  This is a perfect example of the experiences to come. Sometimes there will be limitations on what I can do as Quinn’s mommy, and I may be forced to just observe as she makes decisions as my big, little girl. Here’s to fun-filled classes for Quinn and her continued growth and development socially, mentally, emotionally and intellectually!

All the best,

Tanya