|Waiting patiently for class to start|
Today Anna danced. She danced in a blue leotard with pink tights. She decided on the blue leotard, and she alone made the decision to take a dance class.
Months ago, after watching a Super Why! episode where one of the characters was learning how to dance, she declared that she, too, wanted to take a dance class. Shortly thereafter, a Living Social deal came through my inbox for a little dance studio in Dexter. I cringed just a little bit as I dialed the number to sign her up for Happy Dancing Feet, a combination tap, ballet, and tumbling class for toddlers. Dancing is a wonderful art and sport; it's just that it's so often the breeding ground for body image issues in young girls. I know it's silly when she's only 3.5 years old. Given my history, though, it's where my head goes. BUT, she wasn't asking to take a martial arts class or yoga or golf lessons. She wanted to dance.
We visited the class just before the holidays to be sure we knew what she was getting into. We watched a very patient teacher wrangle 6 or 7 toddlers around a mirrored room, and despite the intermittent craziness, Anna insisted she wanted to try it. As the first class crept closer, she grew more and more excited, and a little bit nervous. Last night she was up constantly, yelling down the hall, "Is it morning, YET?!" Or she'd exclaim, "If I slip or fall down, I'll be OK," and "I can't wait to meet my dance teacher." She articulately informed us that, just like with our first new playgroup yesterday, she might be a little bit nervous or worried at the beginning, but she would feel more comfortable later on. She was absolutely right.
Blake had the day off today, so we both sat in awe, peering through the one-way window to see her tapping, shuffling, galloping, and hopping. She participated in everything, tried everything, and didn't give up even when things were challenging for her. It was so very different from swimming lessons. She was absolutely focused on everything the teacher instructed and took to her quite quickly. She was still her reserved-in-groups, observant, attentive self, AND she was determined and brave and more comfortable in her own skin than I've ever seen when she's with other kids. She even held hands with some little girls she didn't even know when they formed a circle...something she has not done in other settings. She was serious about learning AND she was having so much fun. Blake and I were just so happy for her, happy that she was happy, happy that she truly enjoyed something and felt good about herself in doing it.
After class, we treated Anna to a special spaghetti lunch at a restaurant in town, since she's been wanting to "eat at a restaurant for breakfast, lunch, or dinner." She shared what she learned and what she loved, and she reminded us what we've always told her: "I can do anything I set my mind and heart to."
Yes, Anna, you can.
Oh, and here's a cute little video of the girls doing their pliés...