Sunday, May 6, 2007

Happy Feet

Keeping with the recent Dance Fever theme let me tell you about my weekend. Friday night I attended a dress rehearsal for a dance recital. From 4-6 year-olds performing ballet and tap dance routines all the way through interpretive dances by a college student. All in all there were about seventy five or eighty girls dancing. And ONE six-year-old boy. My oldest son.

And let me be the first to say he did a marvelous job.

Last year his class at school was well ahead of their required curriculum at the end of the semester so his teacher, a wonderful lady and a lifelong tap dancer, brought in her tap shoes and showed the kids a few basic steps. My son was hooked. He begged to take tap classes, but when I checked out the schedule out of local community college the classes for his age were full. He was mighty disappointed so when Fall came around we enrolled him the day registration opened. From the first class he was hooked, but then again this is the same kid who gets in trouble at least once a month for trying to kiss some little girl, or his teacher. And suddenly he was the lone male in a class of sixteen girls.

The class was actually a dual tap and ballet. Ballet isn't exactly his favorite, but he endures it until he can set those legs of his to twitchin' in tap.

Friday night when he hit that stage and saw all those people out in the audience .. his chin come up and his chest puffed out as if to say "These people came just to see me and I'm gonna give them a show." Of course only about twelve of us were there to see him, but not in his eyes. Like every other child that age he didn't execute every step to precision, but he did dance his little behind off with a dramatic flourish that made me burst with pride.

What does this have to do with writing you might ask. Not much but you can check out my previous blog on the similarities of a child and a novel here

I hope he sticks with the dancing, because it is obvious he really enjoys it and I truly believe he has a talent for it. My wife and I plan to encourage him, but at the same time I've seen parents push their kids to hard at an early age and ruin what should be just youthful fun. I won't do that.

Somewhere down the line one of his friends or some other boy will ridicule him for engaging in "girly" behavior. I'll tell him the same thing I told some of my friends who asked why I would LET him take ballet. "Hey, if his dad can write emotional laden relationship stories why can't he do a pirouette?" And if he's till dancing when he's older I'll simply tell him to respond with ."While you're outside chasing a ball in the heat I'll be inside dancing with your girlfriend."

Maybe I should teach him how to box too .


A Paperback Writer said...

You dropped a comment on my blog, so I'll return the favor.
I loved the dance story. I have dance my whole life until I was recently told by my back doctor that I must give it up.
Your son also obviously loves performing; there's a nice, natural adrenaline high in that kind of thing. Of course you should encourage him (and boxing, too,, if he likes boxing -- but don't do it to "equalize" the girly stuff with something macho. You could end up teaching him that it's not okay for men to like the arts or that there's something wrong with him as a boy who likes to dance.).
Now, for your friends who thing there's something wrong with a boy taking ballet, remind them that many professional football players take ballet for strength and coordination, remind them that women LOVE guys who can dance -- so this will make your son very attractive once he hits dating age -- remind them that tap dancing has long been "acceptable" as "men's" dancing, remind them that it's really quite possible that they feel threatened by your son's hobby choice only because they are not secure in their own self-image, and remind them to mind their own dang business.
And let the boy dance. Thanks for the happy image.

Travis Erwin said...

I didn't mean I should teach him to box to make up for the "girly dancing" I meant that he might need to learn how to fight when all the other boys figure out he is spending more time with their girlfriends than they are.

But actually I was just kiddding abouthe boxing, because he really is a lover not a fighter. Sometimes a cliche just fits.

A Paperback Writer said...

Ah, so I see. Sounds like there is a future in the limelight for this little guy. Bravo.

pattinase (abbott) said...

My grandson at 16 months is a dancing fool. He was born to it and moves his feet, hips, head and shoulders. He especially likes Gwen Stephani.