The Parents Show: Getting Ready
By maxine, Nov 23 2016 01:43AM
Hello everyone! We're proud to present a series of posts that will help all of you as dancers and parents to make the most of these formation years and your experience with our academy. We will focus on tips, advice, and all the tools you might need to make this time the absolute best in your life.
So dive in! We hope we address all of your doubts and concerns, but if there's still anything that you need to have answered, or another topic that you would like us to discuss, please feel free to comment here or write to us - your voice is the most important. Enjoy!
Participating in a show is a perfect way for your child to celebrate their hard work throughout the year, and it’s also a wonderful way to create lifelong memories with your family. While shows are a ton of fun, many, many parents worry that large performances may be stressful, especially parents with first-time dancers. We have put together this series to help overcome your worries or concerns. Shows are a busy time, but they are also an exciting fun time, and an experience that should be enjoyed by parents and dancers alike!
It’s all exciting, but a stressful affair, so here is some advice for the perfect parents’ experience:
TEARS, TANTRUMS AND TUMMY ACHES… and that’s’ just the parents!!
Joking aside, these are some of the symptoms that can accompany your child when they have performance anxiety.
Young dancers may need a lot of reassurance to overcome nerves and develop self-belief. We want to put your minds at rest that we are planning to make this a great experience for everyone – one you will not forget! If it’s your dancer’s first show and you find yourself feeling nervous, you’re in good, good company. This is quite normal - I will tell you a true story about a girl called Tia.
Tia's parents and grandparents were initially excited when they signed Tia up for the show. But seeing Tia getting very anxious about taking part in the show got them worried. She attended classes in the same way your children are doing now.
Coaxing Tia into her costume on photo day was a challenge as Tia would not put on her costume for anyone. Tia was in no way a naughty child, she was just very anxious and unsure of what the whole process was due to it being her first show. But I will tell you a little secret, as teachers we don’t just teach your child to dance, we bond and build up a trust between us. The trust we had with little Tia was the reason Tia put on her costume that day and had her photo taken...and a stunning photo it was, too!! Just one of the hurdles we overcame and a stepping stone to preparing Tia for the show.
Most people think that children love to dress up and for most this is true, but some children are very aware that photo day is a little different and wonder what all the fuss is about. Tia’s photo made the programme that year, and as you can see she not only looked super cute, but just look at her crossed fingers, something she had done herself and a sign of her apprehension of that day.
Show day soon came round and I will always remember seeing Tia’s parents sitting in the audience with the grandparents, all looking extremely nervous and worried. I went to check in on them after noticing their worried faces. The first words from their mouth was “do you think she will go on stage?”. Now, we can never guarantee a child will go stage, but so far, fingers crossed (in true Tia type), we have never not had a child go on stage.
Tia was already signed in and backstage in her dressing room, not knowing how worried her family was that she wouldn’t go on stage. That year we had the best back stage helper who was marvellous with the little ones. She had them sitting in a circle reading them stories, and much to our surprise, the babies’ changing room was the calmest of them all! I would steer clear of the seniors’ room lol they were preening themselves and stretching themselves to the max. It’s not uncommon to get a leg in the face when you pass the seniors... but not our babies: calm, collected and super cute.
After dressing in their costumes, it was time to go backstage. The babies remind me of sheep when we line them up: once into a line they just follow the person in front of them, but before they know it they are on stage in full costume and lights shining brightly on them. Tia did just that and SHE MADE IT ON STAGE. I’m not sure Tia's parents could see a lot through their tears of joy and pride (even though they had the best seats in the house) but that's just a reminder for you all to bring tissues.
So Tia did it! She made it on stage due to the whole process and buildup of the show. Remember, this is why the photo day, weekly classes, technical and dress rehearsals are sooooooo important.
Once on stage and performing, we don’t have complete control, although the children are not entirely on their own; as teachers are always on stage with the youngest class. We have had children dance holding a teacher’s hand (in fact my own daughter attached herself to Miss Alex’s leg on her first performance), we have had children shout out and wave to Mummy in the audience, children have mental blanks and costume malfunctions. However, most of all what we ALWAYS have is the biggest round of applause and cheers from the audience, and we encourage this.
Now you know how happy your child can be when they are being encouraged and praised and how good it makes them feel. Well, now think of it 1000 times bigger. You may not see your child's best performance on stage, but what your child gets from the whole experience is CONFIDENCE. And who doesn’t want a confident child?
So to round up, yes, it’s a long day, yes, they may be tired, yes you may be apprehensive and your child may be anxious ……. but the rewards far outweigh all of that. So get excited and most of all get your child excited!!
As for Tia, she’s now 10 and performs on stage as part of our competition team. She dances solos, duets and trios and as part of our troupes. She has the biggest smile and her enjoyment of dance has just grown and flourished. You’ll see her on stage this time in her third show with us!
Tia is only 9 lol