The toddler dance class is a right of passage for many little ones.
Us wannabe "Dance Moms" dress our offspring up in cute little ballet shoes, tights, body suits and, of course, tutus. Oh my, the tutus.
We unleash our ballerinas with their little potbellies like a pod of pink jellyfish, floating aimlessly under the ballet bar. The instructor appears and the music begins. The jellyfish gather in the centre of the room.
Enrolling your toddler into dance at an early age teaches little ones basic dance steps and creative movement. There are many classes in the Sea to Sky, including those offered at Whistler's Vibe Dance Centre, Brennan Park, Howe Sound Dance Centre and more.
It's also a great excuse to wear a tutu and, even at such a young age, little personalities begin to show.
Since it is a parent and tot class, I enthusiastically and somewhat maniacally prance around the room, willing my toddler to follow along. Instead, I spot her swinging like an ape from the ballet bar. And just like that I am the only one flapping my arms like a bird because the rest of class has moved on to pirouettes.
It's before noon, all of us moms have coffee breath and we're doing our best prima ballerina impressions. Am I the only one sweating? We dance while occasionally glancing at each other as if to ensure we are displaying the correct amount of enthusiasm.
Showing too little makes you seem uptight and no fun while showing too much causes other moms to fear that they are in the presence of a nervous breakdown. The dance world is a whole separate subculture with its own lingo, code of behaviour and cray-cray crazies. I'm just learning the ropes.
Most of the time, my daughter prefers to hold my hand and give other little dancers the cold stare while she assesses her participation level. Sometimes she morphs into a little maniac and goes fully rogue.
Those are the classes when the music begins and my little ballerina leaps out of the starting gate like it's the Kentucky Derby, waving her arms and flapping her legs like she's Shirley Temple hopped up on sugar from her own eponymous drink. Even when the music stops, she's blowing kisses to her fans and leaves the room "krumping" like she's in the last act of Step Up.
She might not have a career in ballet, but my little one is having fun so I can't help but smile. She doesn't care about her enthusiasm level or cool factor.
While watching my daughter dance and sing incoherently like she's on a karaoke stage, I suddenly had the urge to bottle up her enthusiasm. How can I ensure this aspect of her personality never changes? I never want her to lose it. I hope she “dances like nobody is watching” all the way through life.
In that moment I forgot about the other barefoot moms. I started dancing, clapping and wiggling with the intensity of a toddler.
Sometimes it takes a toddler in a tutu to remind all of us that it's OK to get weird every now and then. Maybe I'll go fully rogue next time and show up with my kid's name emblazoned on my back in crystals. After all, I'm her biggest fan.
For musings on motherhood in the Sea to Sky Corridor, check out mountainmama.ca.