This Sunday the girls get to perform their competitive team Hip Hop dances at the Parent Show. This is the first time our youngest, Elysse, is on a team and the good thing is the rest of her teammates are in the same boat. None of them have ever competed before and it’s nice they’ll all be doing this for the first time.
Celeste is the more seasoned one when it comes to dance competitions. She’s been competing in different dance styles since she was 6 years old. She started her first season of dance at age 5 so by the time competition season actually came around she had just turned 6.
We’re at a different studio now with a different dance company and one of the things I love the most is the change of pace. By the time Celeste hit her 3rd season of dance at the other studio we were at, she was taking 14 classes a week (cringe) – and this was with me just putting her in the absolute bare minimum required by the dance studio based on the number of competitive dances she was in. I know, it’s insane. There were teammates her age doing 6-8 classes more than her a week, so trust me when I tell you the dance world can get pretty out of hand if we as parents don’t keep a level balance. It’s so easy to get lost in that bubble and believe that the only way your child is going to excel and thrive is if they live, breathe, and eat dance. Far from it; unless of course their dream/passion/career is dance. This is commercial competitive dance we’re talking about though, not the Olympics. And let’s not even get into the level of craziness that some moms create for themselves and their kids in that environment. It’s a dangerous circle anyone can easily get caught in if they’re not careful. I could see myself going slightly down that road, and thankfully God and the pandemic really shifted things in a big way and put the real stuff in perspective. When everything shut down for two weeks and then that extended to months, there was a lot of shift going on in our minds and our lifestyle. I think we can all agree the pandemic put many things in perspective.
It’s interesting, when you’re caught up in the middle of doing things a certain way it’s hard to imagine there’s another way that could be healthier. It makes me think of like when people are in a toxic relationship or environment, and all you see is that bubble that’s been created around you, and you begin to falsely accept that this is as good as it’s going to get or the lie that “at least you’re familiar with this rhythm”. Don’t let that suck you in…whether you’re at a dead end job that you hate, or in a relationship/friendship that you know is not healthy or good for you…take a moment to reflect really what the environment is doing to you, your mind, and your health.
The pandemic made us realize a lot of stuff. We knew before that dance season even came to an end (which seemed to have no end in sight because it kept getting extended) that come the new season we would only have Celeste on one team and one solo, if allowed. We’ve always been a family that has dinners together and when her commitment level increased due to the amount of teams she was on, we realized her being at dance while we had dinners without her just wasn’t okay for us.
So on August 25, 2020, after two email exchanges where we asked about a target date for the season and refunds if the season didn’t happen because of the unpredictability of the pandemic (in a normal year the season would have ended in July of 2020); we were told that we were under no obligation to see the season through December 2020 (what it had been extended to) and we could pull Celeste out now before they began practices in September for the extended season. We never expected to get that response. Especially after fully supporting the studio for three years and then during the pandemic by signing up for several weekly private lessons for our girls. I am not one to take commitments lightly, nevertheless given their response we made the difficult but best decision for our family and for Celeste, and we pulled her from the studio.
And here we are now, 7 months later and all the better for it. Was it a big change and adjustment, yes it was. However, I am a firm believer in the resilience our children possess if we give them the chance and also how we teach them to handle change. If I could assure my daughters that the world is always going to go their way and that there will be no disappointments, life would be different. But we all know life is the complete opposite. Jesus himself said there will be hardships in life and we are called to trust and follow him. We all spend so much time (yes including me) fearing change and what that can bring, when we don’t even realize that some of the greatest changes have come from not letting that fear hold us down. Back then I took the time to explain to Celeste how sometimes change comes unexpectedly and can throw us off guard, and then there are times we want the change and are looking forward to it (like when we prayed to get pregnant with her and her sister) and it even then change you anticipate or plan for can still throw you off balance.
So yes, we changed studios and she went to a completely new place not knowing a single friend, and I’m glad she had that experience. One of the biggest things that helped is that when we what made the transition we knew she would be moving to the dance company taught by her favorite dance teacher. Miss Jessica was her very first dance instructor back when she was a little 5 year old, and someone Celeste looked up to and respected. During the year that Miss Jessica taught her at the former studio, she always motivated Celeste with encouragement and positive reinforcement and brought out the desire in Celeste to do her best. Now she’s made new friends, she’s thriving and growing while she learns a new solo and is also part of the Hip Hop team. I’m looking forward to and excited to see what this new season of dance brings for both her and Elysse.
The pandemic has still affected many things and slowed down what can and can’t be done, but that’s okay because in the process we have learned to be patient while we wait and enjoy and grow in the season we are in.