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Sep 28, 201104:48 PMHoneybee Mama

Life is what you make of it; make honey.

Exploring Extracurriculars - Dance Class

Extracurricular activities are new to me as a mom. My littles are just now 4 and 5, and we are just on the brink of exploring their interests. Last year, my five year old participated in Amazing Athletes, which is a fantastic program, and he loved it. The program exposes kids to several different sports in a fun and positive environment. I will probably enroll my youngest in the Spring.

What I'm most concerned about while my boys are so young is exposing them to as many different opportunities as possible so they can get a feel for what they're really interested in. Also, I mainly want them to have fun while learning new skills. Since neither of them seem particularly drawn to one sport yet, I didn't want to commit to massive amounts of expensive gear, and figuring out how to manage weekend games around alternating visits with their dad. But I do want them to have something to engage in and get exercise.

Do your kids watch The Fresh Beat Band, Shake it Up, or the Backyardigans? Mine do, and every time they hear music with a beat, they're busting their moves. Remember our breakdance session at the dollar movies? Yeah, so it seemed a pretty natural assumption that my boys would enjoy a dance class. Music, movement, stomping and making noise if there are taps involved? Perfect for two boys who like to boogie if you ask me! I asked them if they'd like to go and try out a class to see if they liked it, and they were so excited!

I used to dance at Nancy Clarke School of Dance, which is no longer open since Nancy retired recently. When I called up my old ballet teacher, Debbie, she told me that she had opened her own studio, and I thought that would be a great place to check out. I'm sure I'm biased, but hey, the woman coached Jennifer Berry-Gooden to her victory as Miss America in 2006! I think she's got skills, and so does the rest of the staff at Footprints.

I found out they had a Ballet, Tap, and Acro class for the boys' age group on Tuesday evenings, so we stepped up to the plate to try the place out.

When we walked in, my five year old saw girls in skirts and asked if they would have to wear pink skirts too. I told him no, that girls and boys dance in different clothes, but that the pretty girls can't do all their beautiful moves without strong boys to pick them up and twirl them. "Oh, that's cool!" he said.

The littles fit right in with the rest of the class and had a blast jumping,

and practicing walking on their tip-toes, "Mommy, boys walk like this with their hands on their hips, and the girls put their hands over their heads."

You see that grin on his little face? He was so proud of himself, and kept looking at me in the window, mouthing the words, "Mommy, am I doing good?" and showing me his thumbs up. I assured him every time he was doing great.

We are lovers of Peter Pan in our house and one of my littlest's favorite songs is "We're Following the Leader." You should have seen the look on his face when Ms. Kim paired the kids off, turned on the song and told them to follow the leader. They skipped and jumped and log-rolled, and giggled while they took turns being the leader.

It was decided, they had so much fun, and couldn't wait to sign up to come on a weekly basis. Aidan did mention that the didn't get to pick up any of the girls though. I assured him that if he continued dancing, that when he gets bigger and stronger he will have plenty of opportunities to carry and twirl all the pretty girls in pink skirts!

I also had a few minutes to catch up with one of my heroes, Ms. Debbie. I get a little teary looking at the picture. I heart her - and have got to figure out a way to make it to her ballet class and see if I'VE still got what it takes! I do still have my dance bag you know, with my favorite leg warmers, a few leotards, and shoes for each genre of dance (nevermind the last time I used them was freshman year in Wheaton Dance Company and I've had two babies since then).

We talked long enough apparently that the boys had time to get engrossed in a video game! Great to know though, for days that older siblings need to come along with us. I love that they have this and other books to keep the kiddos occupied in the waiting area.

Fast forward to this week, when we went to purchase tap and ballet shoes before returning to class. Just look at the excitement on little man's face!

I LOVE this picture. Alec moves to the bar to tap out some beats, while Aidan grins in the background getting his own shoes fitted.

Before we know it, he's going to be a Riverdancer!

We're officially enrolled and leaping through the second class of the year!

And even nursing our first injury. Just after I snapped that last picture, Aidan twisted his ankle on the landing (please tell me it wasn't due to my flash blinding him!). He didn't stay down for long though. Before I knew it, he was back up with his shoes on dancing with the other children.

My little men have so much fun at dance class. I'm thrilled for them to have an activity they can do together that they love. I really like them doing something with girls as well. In dance, they will learn to be gentlemen, which I feel is a skill all too lacking in our society today. Even if this is the only year they do it, I think it will have an incredibly positive impact on them as young men.

Since he woke up this morning, my 5 year old has been asking if he can put his tap shoes on and practice his tapping in the garage (even wore his cowboy boots when we ran errands today because they make a tapping sound!), and just reminded me a few moments ago upon waking from his nap that I promised him he could do so! It looks like I have a date my friends; I must go get my dance bag and lace up my own tap shoes and go spend some time with my future star!

See you around town!

Missy

www.honeybeemama.com

Old to new | New to old
Sep 29, 2011 10:37 am
 Posted by  Hannah M.

LOVE THIS! My 5 year old boy takes tap and ballet. While he LOVES his class, he is acutely aware that other boys make fun of him when they find out. We try our best not to mention "Ballet" around the other boys on the playground -- they really do make it hard for our little guy -- while still encouraging him to stick with something he loves. Funnily enough, our 8 year old boy takes Hip Hop and gets no flak for that at all. Kind of sad that there's still such a stigma that ballet is for girls. I wish parents would take a little time to educate themselves and their kids. In the meantime, I'm going to show my little guy pictures of your little guys dancing and remind him how cool dancing boys are!

Sep 29, 2011 02:07 pm
 Posted by  honeybeemama

Thanks for your input, Hannah! I'm so glad to know your little man is loving dance. It is such a unique and dynamic art form! What's wonderful about dance right now is there are fantastic shows highlighting dance and beautiful, strong, masculine male dancers: So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars and numerous kids programs. Keep exposing him to the classics too! Thanks for commenting; hope to hear more from you!

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About This Blog

Having always said that life shouldn't get in the way of living, Missy strives to find adventure with her children even when things get hairy. Missy and her husband, Marc, have four children. With busy schedules and a small business to run, Missy is not lacking for things to occupy her time. She understands the challenges of being a single parent and is learning to be a stepmom. A Tulsa native, this mama loves exploring fun activities locally and shares her experiences with you in her blog. Upfront and honest, she doesn't pull any punches about meltdowns in the mall or potty accidents at public events. She carries her unique perspective into every challenge she encounters, sharing insights with her readers along the way.

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