Friday, February 14, 2014

Are there positives to Dance Mom?

I wrote a post yesterday that got quite a bit of attention on Twitter. That post can be found here. I wrote, to the best of my ability, why I have gone from a loyal Dance Moms fan to someone who won't watch the show anymore and is sad at the state of affairs.

There are a few things I'd like to clear up...

1. A picture of my daughter sitting on the steps at the ALDC was discovered on my TwitPics and people questioned it. Yep, we visited the ALDC in March 2013. As I clearly stated in the start of my post, I have met Abby at her studio. It was a fun trip and we enjoyed ourselves! If you remember, the episodes airing at that time were not nearly as crazy as episodes lately. :)

Want to see my cutie patootie daughter at the ALDC? Okay! :)

Goodness is she cute or what?? :)

2. Do I think my post will change anything? Nope. Not at all. I just wrote. I am a writer. I have been a writer for years. I express myself best when I type it all out. I didn't write that post for attention at all. My blog pals and I often write posts, tweet the links and be sure to "@" people or brands mentioned in the post. I just happened to actually get the attention of Diane Pent and Christi...and that's when my phone legit shut down from Twitter notifications. I felt so fancy yesterday!! I'm used to my posts getting like 100 views so 6000 is big time for me. (I'm not lying when I say I'm the forest, people. This is the middle of nowhere. ;))

Now on to today's topic...

Are there positives in Dance Moms?

Yes. I definitely believe there are positives to Dance Moms, especially the older episodes.

As a studio owner, I have had a huge swell of enrollment since the show gained popularity. Girls and boys of all ages are interested in dancing now and want to take class. I love it because I get to share my passion for dance, creativity, performing, music with more kids now than ever before. And because these children are seeking out studios like mine, where positivity and integrity are encouraged, I believe (and sincerely pray) that these children's lives are changed for the better. One year of classes can  make an impact in a child's life.

Another positive? Moms are getting informed. Moms are getting mad. Moms are expecting more. I know that might seem like a negative at first but let me spin it a little for you...

I have more moms wanting to be involved, volunteering to help, taking such great pride in being a DANCE MOM now than ever before. Being a good, positive dance mom is a badge of honors. Moms at my studio are proud to wear their "Proud to be a Studio K Dance Mom" shirts around town because we are setting an example. We are an example of how you can be a good, uplifting, encouraging mom and not allowing a tv show to define an entire genre of mothers.

Moms are expecting more from their dancers. As long as this is done with realistic, age and ability appropriate expectations, it's a fantastic thing. I love when moms see young dancers, like Mackenzie, performing difficult turns or tricks and then wonder why their child can't do those things. We can HELP you get your student there, we can give you the tools, we can teach the steps and moms can help by encouraging stretching, practicing, class attendance, preparedness...that is a major major major positive. It's always good to push your child to be their best, as long as it's moderated and done from a loving place.

Moms are getting mad. Oh baby are they getting mad. I have tons of moms at my studio who refuse to watch Dance Moms because of the way the girls are treated. (Dance Mom Girls, you have more Mama Bears feeling protective of you than you could ever know! lol) These moms are appreciating more the positive, nurturing environment of well rounded studios more than ever before. I've owned my studio for 9 years and always had great moms. (Have there been some crazies? Well of course. Every bushel of apples is bound to have some worms) But recently, in the last 4 years since Dance Moms began and increasingly as the crazy increased on tv, I've had more simple thank yous, nice notes and general feelings of appreciation for my commitment to positivism than ever before. How could that not be a plus!? Everyone wants to feel appreciated for their hard work.

Are there more negatives to the entire Dance Moms phenomena than what I listed yesterday?


I'm really sick of seeing other studios copy themes, songs, costumes, etc straight of Dance Moms. It used to happen with all the SYTYCD dances and now it's Dance Moms. For example, last year at one of our regional competitions FIVE dancers in a row all danced to songs from Dance Moms. I mean...get an original thought. But that's a post for another day...(my students know I have A LOT to say on this topic!! lol)

The two piece costuming and lack of tights on Dance Moms has lead to a giant increase in those two things in competition dance around the country. Listen, dance teachers. Not every student has the body to wear a two piece costume. So what? I'm not a size 2, 4, 6 or even an 8 anymore and I can still tap circles around every kid in my studio. Does that means if I was still a student I should be shoved in a costume I am uncomfortable in because "two piece is what's in?" UM NO. And tights. Tights are designed to smooth your legs, make them appear as linear and clean as possible. Let's be frank, tights hide a lot of jiggle that all women have in the "trunk" region. Booty shorts, on their own, do not. (Again, another post for another day)

But see to me...things like those two negatives are more personal choices for MY studio. It's mine. I put the K in Studio K so I get to decide about costumes, tights and music. It's not a general negative for the entire dance community the way the bullying and poor behavior is. Maybe your studio is full of tiny twiggy girls and you guys can ROCK the two piece costume. More power to you! (Enjoy your celery stick, I will be over at the Chinese buffet ;))

I know a lot of what I said yesterday compared my studio to the one on Dance Moms. And I want to make this perfectly clear...

I do not for one moment entertain the idea that my studio, my students, my dance moms are perfect and without flaws.

Honey, there have been fights. There have been arguments, disagreements, distention amongst the troops. But we've resolved them all. We've moved on, we've learned something and tried not to make the same mistakes again. We evolve every time we step in to the studio. We strive to make the studio the best place it can be and that's all that matters.

I'm not a trophy centered person. Does winning feel great? Of course. Does losing suck? Yep, at times it does. But what I hope my students learn from competition is how to handle defeat, how to look at your score sheet, accept the criticisms and work harder next time. I don't mind at all a second place me it's a reality check that there is always someone better than you at there. You can't ever quit working, quit striving, quit grinding for what you want. There are a ton of lessons to be learned from losing.

The difference between my philosophy and Abby's? Not one of my students, competitive or recreational, doubt for one second they are loved. They know if they make a mistake, I will forgive them. They know I hope they do awesome and want them to succeed at all they do, but I will still hug them and call them a goofy name if they fall on their face, pick their noses and run offstage. I'm just as proud of a bronze medal earned through hard work and determination as I am in a platinum. There's a reason my students call me Mama. Because I love them like a the mom who sits in the rain at the soccer game her son is going to lose by 7 goals anyways. I'm the one who's proud of the overweight kid at field day who was afraid to even try the sack race for fear of being made of fun but did it anyways. She might have come in last, but darn it, she did it.

There are great accomplishments made that will never place in the overall awards. I like those ones better.

Great dancers who are afraid to fail aren't truly great. Greatness comes from falling down, picking yourself up, dusting off your costume and trying again. Success isn't defined in crowns and trophies. Success comes from not fearing failure, releasing your inhibitions, stepping on the stage and leaving everything on the dance floor.

If you are happy, I'm happy.

And that's all I have to say about that.

xoxo, Miss Kate/Mama

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