Sometime back in 2002 my son Keegan wanted to take a hip hop class. There was a dance studio just down the street from our office so it was no big deal to run him over there for an hour. Selah watched with big eyed excitement and asked to take dance too. Caiden was still in diapers, but she danced every beat on the sideline. Before I knew it Keegan was done with dancing and my girls were hooked on it.
One hour of dance classes turned into two hours a week and then three. As the years rolled on as we stayed on the fringe of the dance world. And then one day the girls both said they wanted to join the dance company. I wondered, “What is a dance company?” I read up on the commitment and talked to the owner of the studio. We decided the girls would spend the year training so they would be prepared for the auditions by summer.
Even with my careful research I had no idea what we were getting into. I couldn’t have imaged the time, money and resources that would go into the following years. Or the chiropractor and orthopedist trips we would take. Or the way the girls would summon the strength to dance through any pain.
I never dreamed of the drive dance would instill in my girls, or the strength and courage it would built deeply into them. I didn’t know about the goose bumps I’d experience watching them gracefully take the stage over and over again as the years passed.
I had no idea how much pointe shoes cost or how quickly the girls would wear them out one day. I couldn’t have imagined being at competitions until midnight and dragging home with just enough time for a nap before returning the next day.
I never imagined being good at stage makeup. I remember the panic I had when I had to learn how to make a ballet bun and apply eyelashes with glue and everything right to my kid’s eyelid. Terror seized me. I can now line kids up and quickly do any hairstyle, any makeup and eyelashes with ease.
In 2015 my girls only take 2 days off per week from dance. They are at the studio for hours on end. They are focused, determined and driven teenage girls. They are graceful and powerful athletes. The little girl who was awkward and ungraceful now carries herself with poise and grace. The child with a swayback now walks with perfect posture all the time. The child who was fearful after an early injury now conquers every fear, every injury and every set back fearlessly. Butterflies in the stomach seem to fuel them both.
I never could have imagined how hard they would work. How much we would spend. Or how priceless the lessons of dance would become in my girls lives.