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For all the “don’t call me a dance mom” dance mums

You know who you are.

You’re mum to a dancer.

But you’re not one of “those” mums who is pushy and rude and wants your child to be a dancer more than they do.

You’re a down-to-earth dance mum, who loves your child more than anything and just wants the best for them. So much so, that you’re willing to learn to navigate this strange and wonderful dance-world to help support them through it.

One day they’ll come to thank you for it, maybe even today…

Because the dance world needs down-to-earth dance mums like you.

You’re the kind of mum who saw your little one spinning, twirling and jumping and gave them a chance to dance. And they thrived on it.

You might not have known exactly what you were getting yourself into, or how much this dance-world’s rhythms and routines would impact your family’s rhythms and routines. But you were willing to give it a shot to give your budding ballerina a shot.

You learnt how to tie rebellious hair into buns and find the right shade of lilac for your studio’s uniform. You navigated your way through the institution of school performances and sewed more than a few sequins in your time.

But those hurdles were only the beginning.

Then came the competitions and the summer schools and full-time training and no matter how beautiful your child, how hard they work, how well they dance, soon enough you found yourself having to come up with answers for questions like:

  • Mum, am I fat?
  • Mum, what if I don’t make it?
  • Mum, how come Ashley got that part/won that competition/got that mark and I didn’t?
  • Mum, why do people tease me for doing ballet?

And so on long drives home or skype calls from afar, you do your best to mold your love into words and show this beautiful creation of yours that you believe in them, that you feel it with them, that they’ll find their way through it…

And because they’re young and focused on their dancing, they don’t often notice the way you worry about them and just hope you made the right decision in supporting them to pursue dance, knowing what they’re giving up to do so.

Yet you feel it, the tug on your heart of, “did we do the right thing?

When you see your budding dancer struggling with self-doubt or faced with teachers who tear down rather than build up…

When they get nervous, and I mean, really nervous, about going on stage, or taking exams, and you start to wonder, what happened to the free, beautiful confident thing they used to be?

Yet you stick with them.

And yeah, you’ll say the wrong things.

You’ll misjudge their independence and that fine line between being supportive and interfering. Then the next minute you’ll be accused if you even care at all… (Ah, the joys of parenting young people!)

Yet you stick with them.

And that is your biggest gift, real dance mums of the world: sticking by your dancers. Because they need you. Whether they are able to admit it at this point in their life or not.

No matter how old or young they are, [pullquote position=”right”]every dancer needs a mum (or a mum-figure) to help them nut out the stresses & fears and complexities & incongruences of the dance world[/pullquote]

and work out their part to play in it.

You are doing the best thing you can do for your dancer, just by being a sounding board, even when you’re separated by states and continents and time zones. You get up at 2am to reply to that text… at 6am for facetime. You’re there at performances. But more than that, you’re there behind the scenes.

Not because you’re trying to live through your dancing daughter or son. But because your trying to help them live through their dancing without losing their sense of self.

The biggest gift of dance mums is always believing in your dancers.

Whether they believe you or not, they still need to hear your voice. Whether they are able to say it to you now or not:

[pullquote]THANK YOU down-to-earth dance mums, for not being all about the show, but for being all about the people, the hearts & souls behind the performers.[/pullquote]


THANK YOU down-to-earth dance mums for not forcing your dancers into their careers, but supporting your dancers into and beyond their careers, for giving them the courage to give it a go no matter what the outcome is.

THANK YOU down-to-earth dance mums for not getting hooked on the rivalry and industry-in groups and the latest ways to get ahead, but for keeping your dancer hooked in reality, grounding them with some old-fashioned, homemade love and perseverance.

THANK YOU down-to-earth dance mums for just. being. you. and navigating your way through all this for the sake of your children.

I take my hat off to you all!

And yeah, I know you real dance mums are human and you need some support sometimes too. So, share your experiences with each other in the comments. If you have any questions you’d like to ask, come let’s wrestle through this together!


(And a special shout out to my own wonderful mum for always being there, and still being there, through thick and thin. I love you mum!)

🙂 Philippa


DanceMumCardFreeIf you’re a dancer, let your mum know you love her: download 3 free printable Mothers Day Cards for your Down-to-earth Dance Mum.


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