Admittedly we are a sports family.
I play soccer. My husband is a runner. We love watching sports and attended soccer’s FIFA World Cup tournament for our honeymoon.
When our daughter was born, I counted the days until I could sign her up for tot soccer. I wondered— Would she love soccer just like mommy? Or maybe an individual sport like tennis?
She finally hit the minimum age and we signed her up for her first soccer class. She loved it (and I was quietly overjoyed)! At the same time, I knew not to get too excited and to try other activities until she settled on her favorites.
To my complete surprise she fell head over heels in love with ballet class.
Being that no one else in our family was a dancer or capable of any sort of move that would be deemed graceful, I waited for the day she decided that ballet was maybe not her thing.
I’ve been waiting two years now and she is still dancing her little heart out! (She still loves soccer too so all is right with the world.)
I’ll tell you though— Coming into the dance world with only a sports background was like walking into an alternate universe.
Ballet etiquette, strict dress requirements, stricter instructors— there was so much I was unfamiliar with and learned to navigate through.
Perhaps you are also a sporty parent about to sign your child up for their first dance class. If so, this guide is for you and I hope it helps you prepare for what you are about to encounter!
Common Ballet to Sports Translations:
The instructor’s name is Miss or Mister “Insert First Name Here” (Not “Coach”). They are to be called by name respectfully in this manner. Hey “Insert Last Name” is not going to go over well.
The dress code is just like a uniform except uber strict. You will need a leotard, tights and ballet slippers which all must be a certain color and/or style. Check the class dress code requirements before going overboard buying masses of adorable, frilly items they won’t ever get to wear.
You haven’t known perseverance until you’ve tried to put ballet tights on a squiggly toddler. If you have any prior tackling or wrestling skills, you’re going to need them.
No individualistic hairdos are allowed. Hair must be in a simple bun or pulled neatly off the face for class. Once you have this down for class, different requirements for the recital will be sent home. These will be on a whole new level and will require a curling wand and wizardry skills.
Absolutely NO street shoes in the ballet studio EVER.
Children may not enter the ballet studio before the instructor invites them in. There is no pre-game warmup.
No cheering or coaching from the sidelines— sorry I meant lobby. Even if there is a window that looks into the class, parents shouldn’t be a distraction. Don’t be that embarrassing parent that gets the blinds closed on them by the instructor.
Get ready for a world filled with curling irons, sparkles and makeup. Nothing prepares you for recital makeup requirements.
You will witness some of the most adorable cuteness you have ever seen! Even if you’re not digging the whole dance scene, your heart will absolutely melt at first sight of the tutus and butterfly wings.
One last word of warning— Dance Moms are a thing. Get ready. But really they’re not too much worse than hyper-competitive sports parents.
So don’t worry— You got this!
What other activities have your kids participated in that you have had to learn to navigate?