Let’s put you in their shoes for just 1 moment. You have the most beautiful costume on under the stage lights with all your friends from dance class. You take the stage and hit your beginning pose. The stage is dark and the audience is quiet waiting to see what the next number on stage is going to bring.
Your heart begins to race and the butterflies in your stomach begin to feel like bats at this point. The lights slowly begin to rise and the music begins. HOLY COW! There are a LOT of people staring right at me! I am going to make for the next 2 minutes of my life. What if I mess up? What if I freeze? What if I am amazing? These are all valid questions and feelings your dancer might have.
All this will occur to your dancer within a .02 second time frame. Some dancers will freeze, others will dance gracefully, and others will just stand there and wave. Whether your dancer is 2 or 22 y/o, the same things can occur no matter how many times they have been on stage.
Now let’s imagine you are sitting in the audience patiently waiting through 20+ dances to watch your dancer. Your tired of waiting. But, you are just as nervous as they are. Your heart also begins to race and your palms begin to sweat. Here they come, they take the stage and are ready to begin. Slowly the lights come up and the music begins.
Little Sally freezes and does not do a thing or she stands in one spot and waves to all the people watching. Instantly your feelings of nervousness have changed to anger. The thoughts begin to flood your mind. “I paid how much for dance lessons, this costume, and those shoes! All for what? For her to just stand on the stage and not move! I am furious with her!”
Let’s set some realistic expectations.
Your dancer is beautiful. Your dancer has worked all year long in their class and learned a LOT. Not just dance skills, but social and life lessons. Your dancer is an amazing person inside and out.
Just because they didn’t perform at the exact moment or maybe messed up a step or 2, doesn’t mean they have completely failed. They have really accomplished a LOT!
Just getting up on stage in that sparkly costume, under the bright stage lights, with all those people staring at them is a challenge in itself.
Always be supportive of your dancer and their accomplishments. All dancers progress at different rates. So when you pick up your dancer from backstage once the show is completed, use kind words, give big hugs, and tell them they are special. Because they are going to be hard enough on themselves if they make a mistake. They will look to you for comforting.