Confessions of a Dance Mum... Part 1... Do's and Don'ts....
We dance. When I say 'we', I mean 'she' and I get to go along for the ride. Or is that the sway, or the swing, or the Grand Jete`?
Here is an introductory list of some do's and don't of dancing that I've learned in the last ten years:
1. One must volunteer. A lot. Ones' chances of having any inkling whatsoever of what the heck is going on, are greatly improved by volunteering to perform such mundane tasks as cooking the sausage sizzle, sewing beads and sequins to shiny lycra stuff, gluing things to things (said 'things' being stuff like beads to headpieces, feathers to bustles, glitter to shoes, and texture to backdrops), acting as bouncer at the backstage entry so as to prevent 500 Mums being backstage, with no paying audience to watch the kids from the front, and making mercy dashes to the pharmacy for Ice Spray, panadol, sick bags, jelly beans and strapping for ankles.
2. When one is volunteering, one must zhoosh oneself up a bit. Dance is all about the glamour and ones' child does not appreciate one turning up in ones favourite 3/4 denims, tattered and imminently comfortable and suitable for a 10 hour stint on ones feet type Birki sandals and tshirt emblazoned 'I HEART PARIS'. No. One must wear designer type gear and the latest in cute, strappy sandals even though ones' feet will be killing one after flopping around in these for aforementioned ten hours.
3. One must always be smiling and accommodating when volunteering. Even when it's 1pm in the blazing heat and another Dance Mums' little one can't decide whether they want Tomato Sauce or BBQ Sauce on their sausage on bread, and there's 35 other Dance Mums with their kids waiting for a Saus-on-bread queued up behind them. The words 'Hurry thyself up for this be not a life changing decision' must not pass ones lips.
4. One must learn fifty different ways to feed a starving Dancer backstage during dress rehearsals and concert, lest one have to abandon one's hard earned parking space, only begotten by arriving three hours early to the venue, to source sustenance. Therefore one must learn to make fried rice appetising even when stone cold, sushi appealing when at room temperature, and fruit salad in it's own juice in a plastic tub, sound like a feast fit for fairies.
5. One must derive ones own sustenance from caffeine in a can, and whatever the Dancer will not eat.
6. One must turn a blind eye, and the other cheek, when one follows the Dance Teachers instructions to the letter regarding number and placement of bling on costumes and not fret when one arrives to find that every other Dance Mum has clearly been up all night with the glitter, sequins and crystals, fixing these items to any vacant spot visible on costumes. One must not listen when ones little Dancer hisses 'SSSeeeee!' as an admonishment for not doing same as instructed by Dancer the night before.
7. One must carry breath mints, lipstick and mini perfume on ones person at all times. Preferred method of carriage being in ones bra. This ensures that one is sweetly and delicately scented and ready to kiss ones dancer when dancer exits the stage, so that Dancer doesn't say 'Pee-yew Mum, you stink'. Yes, well Mum just ran down three flights of stairs and back up again to retrieve the headpiece and tights that Dancer left behind in the dressing room, and which is required to facilitate the quick change side stage.
8. One must grin like an idiot the whole entire time that ones Dancer is dancing, whether for performance, rehearsal or exam preparation. Failing to smile, or even simply looking blank, results in ones Dancer rushing over and asking 'What's wrong?'. How does one say 'well, if I see one more Pirouette or Ronde de Jambe today, I'll scream'? One does not. One simply grins gaily, and embraces ones Dancer, assuring her that she is the most beautiful thing in the world and one's brain simply switched off for a nanosecond.
9. One must like ALL the other Dance Mums. One must not involve oneself in catty sessions on merits of other dancers or the parents of other dancers. Ever.
10. One must prepare oneself to forever be running out at the last minute for something. This will not be ones' fault as one is ever the organised Dance Mum. But ones Dancer will suddenly grow out of Pointe Shoes the day before concert. One's dancer will lose one tap shoe. Ones dancer will forget to mention that she needs fishnet stockings, or fingerless gloves, or a nude bodysuit.