This weekend saw our girls competing in the second of the three dance festivals they do each academic year – this time at Tadcaster in the lovely Riley Smith Hall. Dance competitions can be just as tough on the parents as it is on those children competing but it’s an experience I relish.
We have four girls who all do lots of dancing, as mentioned before in this blog. The two youngest also do competitions, we know them as festivals, and we love them. Delilah has five different dances and Verity currently has two, but all that is about to change.
Delilah currently dances a modern routine, a ballet, a song & dance, a character duet with her sister and finally a classical duet with one of her best friends J. Verity has a character and her duet with Delilah. This was only Verity’s second time out at festivals whereas Delilah is in her second year now and they both love it.
Whether your little one plays competitive sport or does dance festivals you aren’t going to succeed without practice. We don’t force practice upon our girls, but we do strongly encourage it. They understand that if they are competing they need to put in the training, whether that be at dance class or at home.
They enjoy dancing so much that the practice isn’t a chore for them. In fact, sometimes we need to reign it in a little. But, this is a great mindset to take forward in life; if you want to be good at something then you must work at it. If it ever got to the point they weren’t enjoying the practice then it would be time to find something else.
I saw this Muhammad Ali quote earlier today and I don’t actually believe him. There’s no doubt he’s a champion but I can’t see how anyone can put the hours into something like he must have without enjoying it on some level.
One of the things I enjoy the most about going to festivals isn’t the actual dancing. I know, that sounds odd so let me explain. There are always other children from our dance school there and Delilah and Verity have some great friends. Their shared love of dance is obvious and it’s lovely to observe them watching the sections they aren’t performing in. It’s also great to support their friends in other sections too with whoops and cheers.
It’s not that I don’t believe in friendships built at school, it’s just I think friendships built on shared passions will last longer. Delilah and Verity have some really close friends from different schools to them that they only know through dance. They’ve even become friends with some from other dance schools that they only see at these festivals. That, for me, is just wonderful.
If there is one thing I don’t subscribe it’s the thought of a “non-competitiveness everyone’s a winner for taking part” attitude. I’m not a pushy parent who gives his girls pep talks about beating the other children. But, I do believe that if you enter into a competition then you should give it your all and actually have a desire to succeed.
Delilah did wonderfully in her song & dance (to Spread A Little Happiness) on Saturday and she placed second. It was a great moment as she had not placed with this routine and she was clearly really chuffed and we were so proud. It was a shame that, due to logistics, I had taken her on my own and Helen missed out on that moment with her. But Verity was having none of it and stated on our return home that she would come first in her character the next day.
The next day Delilah had her duet with her good friend J. Due to a lack of junior novice section at this festival they were in a group of 15 acts with some parings being 15/16 years of age – much older than they are. They were up against some very accomplished dancers and was no surprise they didn’t place. But, we’re super proud of how well they performed and being in that group didn’t daunt them at all.
Verity attacked her character routine with gusto. She brought her “A” game and performed to her best on that stage. Before going on she had gone into herself a little and stayed away from us. It was probably nerves but she didn’t show it on stage. She was placed 1st and we’re so proud of her for it. She said she would do it – and she did. That’s some competitive spirit for a 7-year-old!
Festivals weekends are tiring – not just for the children. If they’re on an early slot then we have to be up at 6 am to get there, which can be a challenge! It was not surprising that they were a little less lively than usual this morning at breakfast but by all accounts had come around following a brisk walk to school.
I don’t mind the odd weekend that tires them out. It sure will prepare them for adulthood where I seem to spend 75% of my time tired!
On To The Next
So the next festivals will be Middlesbrough in May. It seems a long way off now but it will be upon us before we know it. But, before that, we have the dance school showcase in just a couple of weeks time. Rehearsals are going well. However, with cancelled classes due to the snow last week they’ve been forced to add extras – even on Mothers Day! Helen has taken it well and it’s only for the morning so I shall treat her to breakfast out.
By the time the new academic year comes around, I am sure they will both have additional dances. Delilah wants to do a vocal, which is straightforward as only one of the three festivals has that section anyway. She also would like a character and possibly a tap dance. Verity is itching to do a ballet so that means yet another tutu in the house. Even the older girls are thinking about doing a dance too, despite coming late to dancing. I think having that to focus on and help build confidence will be great for them.
I might be exhausted – but I am happy!
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