On Being a Real-life Dance Mom

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Up until last December, Lifetime’s Dance Moms was my Monday night guilty pleasure. The bitching and in-fighting was tiresome, I would baulk at some of the costumes and if Boo’s dance teacher ever acted like Abby Lee I’d be whipping her out of class quicker than you could do a double pirouette. (Nothing and no one should make Boo cry but Disney films and pavements.) But the sheer talent of the girls on the show – Maddie and Chloe in particular – would just draw me in and wow me. How do children so young do that?!

But then Husband went and spoiled it all by cancelling Sky. Bye bye Dance Moms.

But life as a real-life dance mom is a million miles away from the savage cat fights and snarky comments of the Abby Lee Dance School anyway. Unless you have a tantruming toddler with you that is. (Thankfully Noodles has been a lot better more recently.) Or unless you’ve slept with the husband of another of our group. Then we’ll tear you to pieces and never talk to you again. As one mum learnt to her cost recently. (And now the husband in question wants to go back to his wife and kids…except she’s moved on. Silly man.)

For one thing, our teacher is no fiery dragon like Abby Lee. Instead she’s meek and hates to confront parents about anything. When a tidal surge threatened to break the flood defences and the police forced an evacuation of the theatre just before a performance, she herself was in floods of tears. With only 2 days notice she arranged a re-scheduled performance so people wouldn’t miss out.

And yet most of us parents are still slightly scared to approach her. Maybe it’s because we’re British. Dance Moms UK would be a lot more boring calmer.

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The topics of conversation are more variable than ‘my daughter’s better than yours’ and ‘isn’t Cathy a bitch?’ too. Over the past few weeks we’ve covered our past (pre-child) lives, past lives (of the spiritual kind), the expense of dance exams, cancer, useless husbands, Frozen, Ofsted, being judged by teachers, reward charts…Oh and ‘isn’t Dee a bitch?’ (But like I said before, we don’t take it lightly if someone sleeps with and steals the husband of one of our own. Especially when our friend is literally the nicest person on the face of the planet and it happened in the run up to her wedding.)

Essentially we’re a bunch of (mostly) women thrown together by the sole fact that we’ve got children of similar ages who all live to prance around in tutus. Yet it’s some of my favourite time of the week. I think it’s because we’re so used to having our thought processes interrupted by small, persistent voices that to have the space to make coherent conversations, albeit in the confines of a claustrophobic changing room and without the aid of alcohol, it is something to relish. Which is possibly why a tantruming toddler is not a welcome presence.

To be honest, much as I loved Dance Moms I love my dance moms more.

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3 thoughts on “On Being a Real-life Dance Mom”

  1. She must be extraordinarily talented. I wish I lived closer as I would love to see a performance. My girls live for that show and frankly, I was under the impression all that drama was scripted? Very fascinating post!

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