Dance Mom Handbook

Your guide to the in's and out's of the dance world!

So you have enrolled your son or daughter into dance classes, and you’re reading the information on your studio’s dress code thinking, “What is that? What does this mean? Are you sure that’s okay?” It’s completely normal, all of that and more! There are infinity tips on being a dance mom… it would take me 20 blog posts to get through them all, at least here are 10 for you to review for now.

  1. Youtube is your best friend. When you aren’t quite sure about how to do your child’s hair, or what to wear for classes, or how to start doing makeup for competitions, you can always find great tips on Youtube! Try this out before going to the teachers and studio owners with questions on this. Dance teachers and studio owners are swamped with things to do for the business, that these things can be hard to deal with 24/7. So we recommend using internet resources to explore your options, and if you still aren’t sure about something, then of course approach your teacher or director.

  2. Your child is not the only student in the room. This is a big one, and it can be a sensitive topic. We all know that your child is the most important thing to you in the world! As a dance mom, you will have to work on patience and acknowledge that there are literally hundreds of other students engaged in the studio and training in classes. Teachers have a lot on their plates to get around to every student to correct, engage and facilitate.

Learn to trust your teacher, their methods, and their decisions when it comes to dancing.

Tamra Chace

3. Trust your teacher and director in decisions on teaching and choreographing. Your child’s moment to shine will absolutely come in time, and this doesn’t happen overnight. Students have to train for long hours to reach the spotlight. Most important, students grow and improve at all different rates, and some slower than others. The thing for them to learn is persistence wins the race! Keep training, working hard, and your child will get there on their own time, and at the right time. So there are going to be times when your child is not always in the front, and times when they will not always get every solo. It works both ways, and we really try to balance it out so everyone gets a shot in the spotlight, so long as they are ready for it.

4. Let your dancer be independent and responsible… you don’t have to hover. This is also one of the reasons for not having parents watch every class. Your dancer needs to learn to explore and be on their own, while still in a safe environment. Having your dancer learn to remember to pack certain shoes, and what they are supposed to wear for each class also helps them to learn responsibility. They should know that it’s okay to dance on their own, and mom will be right there after class.

5. Dance-Bag-Essentials. You can never have too much hairspray, hairpins, shoes, or an extra pair of tights. We always say pack for everything just in case, you never know what can happen and what you might need for class, and even more so for competitions and performances!

6. Pack the apple, not the chips for lunch. Your dancer should not only be taking dance class, but embrace the whole lifestyle, and that includes consuming whole living foods. We don’t believe in promoting packaged foods, even at the studio. You can’t sell chips and chocolate from a vending machine at a dance studio, that’s counterproductive and sending the wrong message to students. And your dancer looks up to you as her mom to provide her with the best nutrition to keep her energy levels at peak performance for dance.

7. Some parents like the foo-foo, but our parents like the structure. While we want to keep kids young as long as possible, growing up is inevitable. I don’t teach in what I call a foo-foo manner. Meaning, my classes are 100% structured challenging exercises, and I speak to all students like they are grown adults (yes, including the pre’s). I don’t believe in going soft on them, and talking down to them like babies. It’s important to treat them with respect and acknowledgment, and they notice the difference! As their mom, you want to make sure they are entered into a studio or classes that are challenging them. You’re not there to pay for them to hop around with imaginary unicorns for an hour… If that’s your game that’s fine, you can find that at another studio, but not here in our program. Our pres get ONE creative dance game per lesson, the rest is all work. Your dancer must learn if they want to have success in life, they have to work for it, and work doesn’t come easy.

8. Let them loose, it’s a bruise- not a tattoo. Your dancer will not win every award in the studio or at the competitions. It’s important to teach your dancer to lose with dignity and grace and be happy for the one who did win the award. I firmly believe you never have a right to be jealous of someone else that has won something, they obviously did the work to get there. So instead of complaining and playing victim, figure out why they won, and how you can have your dancer implement those steps as well. If they really want it bad enough, they will work hard enough to win it. And losing is fantastic character building… We have to get knocked down a few times in order to appreciate the highs.

9. Welcome to the dance world, it’s a wild ride. The best thing you can do for your tiny dancer is to support them every step of the way. It’s a huge learning experience, and there are a lot of ups and downs. Just being there to hug them for the wins, and hug them more for the losses, is what ends up meaning the most in the end.

Oh yes… and start a savings fund for dance training!! =)

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