The last dance convention we attended, Rosie was seven or eight. I dropped her off with the rest of her team at the Westin Crown Center and wasn’t encouraged to stay because there wasn’t enough space. Picking her up at the end of the first long, grueling day it was clear that she was completely overwhelmed and really didn’t get a whole lot out of the experience except a snazzy zebra outfit that showed her bare midriff (which I was once vehementlyopposed to but now after 9 years in the dance world I give in ).
At the time, we were in such a different world. Our dance studio competed (albeit much more cleanly and age appropriately than others. You can read our last comp experience here) and we were spending a small fortune on costumes, eyelashes, glitter and all the things needed to get on stage and win four times a year. It was wearing us out. Plus, after a trip to the ballet where Rosie watched saucer-eyed and declared “I want to do THAT” we moved to a studio that focuses on professional prep with ballet at the foundation. We love it!
However, I’d be a liar if I didn’t say that every once in a while Rosie gets that competition itch. She still has friends from our old studio that compete and I try and feed her desire to dabble in that world by taking her to see them every once in a while. Gives me a good chance to let her enjoy the performances but point out how stressful the days are. Plus we get to laugh at the blinged out dance moms, scoff at some of the bad technique and revel at the five year old’s who shimmy and shake like strippers. We always come away knowing we’re in the right place.
This year, our studio decided to attend a convention so we signed up. Coming back from a serious injury, I thought it would be good for Rosie to have a fun, casual dance experience before she went back into her technique classes. Plus, when I checked out the JUMP website, there happened to be some really cool people on the faculty like Mia Michaels and Melanie Moore (if you don’t know who either of them are then you obviously don’t watch So You Think You Can Dance). It was the chance of a lifetime to take classes from dance royalty.
As you can see from the smile on my Tween’s face the convention was a hit from night one when she took a partnering class with Nick and Melanie (and got a big hug and autograph from Nick). She barely slept that night excited about the next two days. There’d be Hip Hop, Tap, Contemporary, Leaps and Turns and of course the competition part where she’d get to see some of her friends perform.
The best day was Sunday. She had classes with both Mia and Melanie (and yes, Melanie is just as cute and sweet in person)! What a thrill! When Rosie looked at me with her big blue eyes and said, “Mama, I know the studio won’t do this again next year, but can I?” I immediately said yes. It was a great experience despite all the hairspray fumes and glitter. What talented faculty and so much fun!