Friday, January 28, 2011

Tiny Dancer

This week at our dance studio is Parent Watch Week. It is the one time all year that we get to watch our kids practise in their class. We don't get to watch them until they are on that big stage. I was excited to see what else Annabelle had learned, last year was her first year dancing and she was one of the youngest in the class. Most of the other girls had danced before. She had never been away from a relative before. No preschool or day care, no strangers telling her what to do. She was/is a shy girl but she did as much as she could (which was not much, she takes after her mother and is less than graceful) and had fun doing it.

Just look at this sassy little girl from last year's recital!

This year though, it is a whole different story. She had been saying for weeks now that she didn't want to go to dance class. I thought it was just that she was tired and she's much busier with school and play dates and class time falls at a weird time for us. Once we were there, she would head into the room and she wouldn't complain afterwards. But after watching her at dance class yesterday, she just does not have the joy she had last year. You can see it on her face how much she hates it. She wouldn't pay attention. She made fish faces in the mirror, was sitting or lying down when she was supposed to be dancing. And when she finally stood up, she just stood there, no actual dancing was being done.

Before class started. She was supposed to be getting into the circle to start their stretches but she just lied on the floor.

Then instead on paying attention, she stared at herself in the mirror. I can just imagine what she's thinking, "I'm a princess. I'm so pretty."

She did her princess walks. Last year she couldn't walk on tippy toes so she has improved in that area at least.

Now she should be standing in her spot preparing to show everyone her new dance moves. They are dancing to Mickey by Toni Basil.

Now she finally gets up but doesn't dance. She's just so over it. You see the other girls, hands behind their backs, ready to perform but not Annabelle.

We talked with her a little bit after dance class and she says she just doesn't like it anymore. And then after talking with Mark, I think we have figured out why. Her class this year is very big compared to last year and they are also completely out of control. The parents were letting their kids run all over the place. One parent gave their kid a sucker and sent her over to dance. Miss Deanne had to take it away, safety concerns, which only made the child scream uncontrollably for the rest of the class.

I don't blame any of this on Annabelle's dance teacher, I blame the other kids parents. They didn't try to discipline their kids and it seemed as if there is little discipline at home. Also they don't seem to know how to follow directions. You aren't supposed to bring other siblings or grandparents to watch the class. It is stated that only parents can come. But there is a whole group of sister's with children around the same age. They had all of their other kids there plus parents and in-laws in tow. It was chaos and unfortunately Miss Deanne didn't say anything about it. Annabelle does not do well in chaotic situations. She will shut down and that is what is happening right now.

So I think we are going to pull her instead of forcing her to keep dancing. I want her to love dancing and the interaction that you get from being in some sort of structured activity. I think that making her finish out the year will be a bad idea. While I don't want her to think it's OK to quit things if they get tough, I also don't want her to be miserable. After class she took my hand, pulled me down to her level and asked me to not take her back there. I think I'm going to listen to her on this one. I think it may be the right thing to do.

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