What Being a Dance Mom is Really Like

     Not only is being a dancer a difficult yet rewarding thing too but we often forget the people who might even have a harder job than we do, our moms. If it wasn’t for them putting us into that initial dance class, who knows where we would be today. They put in a lot of work to make sure that we were always on time, helping us with our hair, makeup, and of course paying for us to take these classes. In reality, being a dance mom is nothing like the TV show “Dance Moms”. There isn’t as much drama, there aren’t as many fights, and your dance teacher really does care, a lot!

     I had the opportunity to interview some wonderful dance moms about their experience being a dance mom. Emily Ketsoglou, Carol Buccino, and Debbie Meyfohrt; these wonderful mothers have always been very supportive of their daughters and have always pushed them to pursue their dreams. All of these women are very dear to me and I like to think of them as my own mom’s. I would like to thank them as well as my own mother for always supporting me in all the decisions that I make in life.

     For Caro, her favorite part of being a dance mom were the recitals. Recitals weren’t just big for her two daughters, Lisa and Dana, but they were big events for the whole family. “Watching the recital always made me so proud of my daughters. It always made me smile from ear to ear. It was also very exciting for the entire household on recital week. My husband did the scenery and lighting. I was a backstage mom and would sew all the costumes for my girls. Just a fun and exciting time. I miss those days. I wish they were still little (laughing)”. Although these moms loved doing their job, Debbie says one of her least favorite parts was “having to make adjustments to costumes”. When your child is constantly growing, they might be one size when the costume is ordered, but by the time the costumes come in he or she could already by the next size up.

     Despite their least favorite parts of being a dance mom, they do remember the sweet times as well. Emily remembers one time “when Paige was 3 years old, it was an open house at her dance school. She was so shy and she had to hold her dance teacher’s hand on one side and her blankie on the other. It was adorable!” Carol recalls something similar “When Dana was about 3 she was in a talent show at the library. She was all rehearsed and ready. When it was her turn to dance she came out all excited, started her dance with a big smile and after about 15 seconds into the dance she froze looked around the room and ran as fast as she could off the stage. Everyone laughed and stood up and cheered for her. It was just adorable”

     All these moms tend to have some things in common. They all hate seeing their daughters get hurt. All of their daughters have hurt their ankle and these moments seem to be their worst memory. No mother likes to see their child get hurt, especially since their feet are what they use to dance which makes them happy.

     Debbie had no idea her daughter would be as involved in dance as she is today. When she first enrolled her daughter into she said to herself “We will see how long this lasts”, but that was 19 years ago. Carol enrolled her daughter into dance because “from a baby Lisa had excessive energy, always dancing around and singing. Lisa loved it right away.From early on she was the leader of the pack, memorizing every move only seeing it one time.” She knew “pretty early on that dance would probably always be apart of Lisa’s life and possibly a career.” Emily knew the same thing of her daughter. She said “I  knew all along Paige would grow up and be a dancer. She was so tiny but determined.”

     For about 20 years these women have been dance moms. They have experienced many things over the years, so for all of you new dance moms, they have some advice for you. Emily says “let your dancers lead their own lives and make their own choices. Support them but don’t lead them. Be there when they have disappointments and explain that it’s part of life and encourage them to get up when they fall, and never try to live your dreams through your child.” Carol thinks you should “start out just enjoying watching your child have fun and building confidence- it is a great way for a young child to make friends, follow directions and get some exercise at the same time. As time goes on you will know whether your child has natural dance talent. If not, let them continue dancing just for fun and exercise. It builds confidence, give them a chance to perform on stage and over time they will make great friendships.” Debbie said something similar, “Don’t stop her/him from doing something they love, and let them be creative without too much interference”. All of these wonderful give similar advice and must be doing something right because all of their daughters are doing amazing things and are living their dreams.