How 413 Dance Shaped My Daughter

If you had told me my daughter would be pursuing a dance career in Los Angeles at the age of 18 when she was born, I would have laughed myself into a coma along with the rest of my family members. First of all, our family comes from a long line of sports jocks and musicians and if there were any physical interest in movement type of activities, it certainly would have manifest itself using a ball of some sort – golf ball, soccer ball, softball, basketball – you get where I am going, right? What other choices are there? Hummmm, coming from a softball playing mom and baseball playing dad, not many.

But, as good parents are supposed to do, we introduced all the “other” stuff like piano lessons, art lessons, and dance to quickly eliminate these early so we can move on to the good stuff, let’s say , soccer for a good example. And yes, I mean early. At age 2.5, I took my daughter to “dance lessons”. What did that mean? I really didn’t know at the time. I certainly had never danced before and all I knew was she looked so cute in her leotard and it gave me an hour or two to run errands. No big deal, right?

After each Spring dance recital, I would ask my daughter, “So, are we ready to move on to the next gig say gymnastics, soccer, golf?“ And, she would cry. Yes, CRY. Not understanding seasons, breaks, and semesters, she would cry after every recital thinking dance was over. And, my husband and I would give her a big hug, take her waffle house, and explain that she can take dance again in the fall when it starts back up.

So, at the time, we think we are eliminating a “sport” but to our surprise, it was only flaming a fire. A huge fire of passion in my daughter’s heart. Year after year, she would beg for more dance with me still not understanding her intense passion. My husband and I thought at the least, for now, this a great hobby with great exercise components. Nothing more.

But, as she turned 6, 7, 8 years old, the passion became stronger and by the age 9, we saw her take another level of commitment. She came home every day from dance class doing more stretching, asking for more classes, and loving dance competitions. My husband and I were surprised, but still thought she would burn out and move on to another “sport.” Instead, her drive evolved to what some might describe as insane. She constantly begged to go to weekend workshops, masterclasses, and vacations all around dance events.

Also, by this time, we were captivated by the beautiful dancer she was becoming. We could not believe the physical challenges of dance and as the training got more intense, so would our daughter’s focus on excellence even through the injuries, bleeding feet, and a staph infection.

Once we realized dance was here to stay, we began to research where could God possibly want our daughter in this world of dance? Is it just a hobby or could it be a career? We always thought we were level headed but this was fast becoming a big investment of time, money, and energy. Yes, it was time to take it serious. How do we guide her to be the best she can be to honor what God has given her and to use this in her life in the best possible way?

Answers to these questions took a lot thought and prayer. What kind of environment does she need to grow not only as a dancer, but as a unique person? Where is the best place to build her self-esteem, provide enough training, and support our moral beliefs? As the next few years flew by, we discovered a studio that provided all the elements that we were looking for. Yes, it was Studio 413 in Collierville.

In the past, there have been many teachers and mentors that we are grateful for throughout our daughter’s dance journey. But, clearly, Studio 413 is where she soared to reach her potential while at the same time giving her a safe place to grow and learn as a person.

Looking back now that my kids are grown, I wished I had taken more seriously what God was trying to show us early in our children’s lives. My advice would be to seek out training for your child in whatever sport or arts they love keeping in mind what your family’s moral compass is. We are so grateful for the love and nurturing our daughter received while at the same time receiving excellent dance training.

Every sport requires training.  However, what I came to realize through our journey with our daughter was the fact that the character of the trainer as well as the training environment were of equal importance.  Similar to how a child needs to feel loved, accepted and safe at home to grow up to be a healthy well-balanced person, a child also needs a safe, accepting place to grow as a dancer.  We are so grateful for not only the excellent training our daughter has received, but also for the loving and nurturing environment through which it was received. Thank you, Studio 413

Studio 413 is an award-winning dance studio offering training and performance opportunities for beginner and advanced dancers. Located near Memphis in Collierville, TN, Studio 413 opened in 2004 and trains dancers in a variety of styles including Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Hip Hop, Tap and Contemporary/Lyrical.

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