October 20 10

When I first sat down in front in front of my screen, it was to write about my two tiny dancers, who, unlike their mother before them who took ballet for many, many years in the basement of a bowling alley and danced, poorly, for many many years learning to do things like play mice in The Nutcracker while her mom perfected her pick-up on a 7-10 split, take a ridiculously good weekly hip hop class. And recently, my first-born came to me and said, “I want to take competitive dance.”

Who? What? Where? What’s she talkin’ about Willis? Competitive dance? Is there such a thing? Is she talking about, like, JonBenet Ramsay type competition here or, like, a Bring It On-esque cheerocracy? I didn’t know children danced in competition. I thought they danced for fun. And for the exercise. I told her that I would look into it…but, really, the only thing I looked into were pictures of me in leotards. Because that’s how my brain works. I was too lazy to get my ass up to start googling “competitive hip hop dancing Toronto what is this craziness” so I thought, what better way to distract Emily from this crazy idea than to show her hilarious pictures of LittleAli in tutus and dance get-ups.

And what I found was so much better. Because in addition to tutus and leotards and various dance wear, it seems clear that my love of  hoodies started at a very young age…

Emily was not as thrilled as I was about this treasure trove of hoodie pics that I discovered. Instead, she brought me my laptop and wanted to look into competitive dance. She also demanded that we find video evidence of when Mikey calls Brand “Josh” in the Goonies (We found it!) and that we look at brown belted puffer coats (We found one!). What we didn’t find, however, was any information about competitive dance. I don’t really know how I feel about that, actually.

You see, this whole competition thing is not something I had ever thought about. My boss Jen‘s kids competitively play hockey, swim, run and they love it. I don’t know, there’s something about it that I find very appealing, since my kids (well, Emily for sure) are pretty competitive in nature, and it could give them a competitive outlet, a place to compete, so they wouldn’t have to compete with the world (or each other) over anything and everything. And I imagine on the right kid, it’s super positive for building healthy self-esteem. Although on the other hand, it’s putting a lot of pressure on kids who are already under a lot of pressure with school. So, on the wrong kid, I can imagine it being super negative for the self-esteem.

The thing is…how do you know which type of kid yours is?

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  1. I think from everything I have read about Emily, she is the type that would definitely THRIVE on competition. I was that same kid growing up and once my parents saw that (probably around age 8?) they threw me into whatever they could find. And even though I was in competitive sports, there was one that Iknew that I wasn’t the best at, but I tried hard and enjoyed seeing myself get better. Plus I knew that my strengths were in the other sports I played.

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    Comment by Julienne on October 20, 2010
  2. emily will thrive in this environment. i think it will end up being a case of you needing to pick what sports/dance/etc she competes in, because i could see her wanting to do everything :-)
    and wont josh end up in travleing hockey, being canadian??
    i cant beg miss bella yet. stay tuned.

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    Comment by obabe on October 20, 2010
  3. I like the jazz hands photo. And the one where your dad appears to be getting choked! (That is your dad isn’t it?)

    You know, I think all kids thrive in it. Some, like Emily, will be perfect because she is already competitive. But even if you’re not, I think having them compete and be in team sports/activities is just good all around!

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    Comment by Kristabella on October 20, 2010
  4. Also, I think you need to take some new photos so that the penis silly band isn’t staring at me every day!

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    Comment by Kristabella on October 20, 2010
  5. Kristin..you have met my dad!!!
    That’s my grandfather…grandpa lou.

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    Comment by ali on October 20, 2010
  6. My 5 yr old daughter was recently asked to join the competition line at her studio (where she has danced recreationally for 2+ years) and I was very skeptical. It’s a pretty big time commitment and I thought it was a lot of pressure to put on a kid. Turns out she loves it and it’s teaching her that you have to practice and work hard to be good at something. I’m NOT crazy about some of the hoochie-mama moves and am scared the costumes will be too skimpy but this studio is BIG into promoting a healthy body image and respect so I’m hoping that’s the message that wins out. If not we’ll bow out after a year. Now I have to go watch that Goonies clip!

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    Comment by rkmama on October 20, 2010
  7. My girls dance competitively & love it. They have a lot of fun. I personally think it is a bit silly, I prefer rec dancing. However the kids, prefer to compete. It can get expansive if you do a lot, but if you do only a few you get the experience without the crazy expanses. Every studio does it differently, some stay pretty local, others travel all over the states. I found that my kids have learned a lot more from studios that compete, they seem to take dance more seriously. We usually compete in the spring (around march – june/july). You have to be committed, but if she is asking then I’d let her try it out if you can budget it. I work for a non-profit that makes donations to my dance studio to pay for it.

    On the commitment part, the competition classes are basically in place of what my kids would have taken in rec. Our studio does 4 competitions a year, so we only have 4 weekends that we have to put on hold. Most studios around me tend to do 3 – 5 competitions a year.

    Good luck!

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    Comment by Ginny on October 20, 2010
  8. Well, she must be the type if she asked to do it! And if it doesn’t work out, or it’s too much, you can always make the decision to do something else.

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    Comment by Laura on October 20, 2010
  9. Your kid and my kid are like long lost twins. Sheesh. Morgan just said this too me last night. She does take dance. It’s a hip-hop/jazz mix. A once a week class that she’s been doing for six months at least. Yet this past weekend she had her first performance and the competitive, be on stage bug hit her. I know she could do it, the girl has the skillz…but dam it’s a lot of work and money and time to do it competitively. If I had only one kid, sure, but three kids and just one me? Not sure I can.

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    Comment by Issa on October 20, 2010
  10. My guess would be when they ask you to sign them up for some competition-y sport, then that’s how you know what type your kid is. I never wanted to compete in any sports, so I never asked to.

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    Comment by Home Sweet Sarah on October 20, 2010
  11. I’m with Laura and Sarah. If she asked you to join, she obviously knows she can handle it. I, on the other hand, would never have asked specifically to be in something competitive. I hated that environment growing up. Mainly b/c I was never that great and got suckered into running the 1 and 2 mile events my Freshman and Sophomore years in high school track b/c I was too slow for sprints and apparently weighed 10 pounds too much (thanks for that self-esteem boost, coach.) Sorry, in summation, I’m sure Emily would be perfect in that environment…unless, of course, you just put on a persona of her that is completely made up to show off for us.

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    Comment by Gamanda on October 20, 2010
  12. Gamanda…I am not sure if you were joking or being serious that you think I might be putting on a persona of emily that is completely made up…but I assure you, the kids you see on this site are MY KIDS. anyone on here who has met them can attest to that.

    Why would I make them up?

    That being said…I think the reason I’m not sure is because emily heard about competitive dancing and wants to do it, but neither of us know what it entails. we don’t know what sorts of hours it means, what sort of $$ goes in, how much time away from friends etc. she’s 9, I don’t know that merely ASKING to do it is enough to assure me that it’s for her…does that make sense? I don’t know…that’s why I took it to my blog..to ask more about it.

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    Comment by ali on October 20, 2010
  13. Oh man, Ali, I was completely joking. I knew I should have inserted an emoticon! I know your kids are just as you portray them. I was trying to be funny, I’m not always good at that.
    I understand your concerns. It’s definitely something to look in to. But from how you’ve described Emily on here, I definitely think she’d do fantastically well with competitive anything. She seems to strive with excelling. Of course you need to find out the logistics, but I say go for it.

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    Comment by Gamanda on October 20, 2010
  14. oh, GOOD, I like joking and sarcasm!!! You are my kind of girl! :)

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    Comment by ali on October 20, 2010
  15. I did competitive dance, but we competed state-wide. So I’m not sure how that would work in Canadia. (yay for Step by Step references!)

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    Comment by Cass on October 20, 2010
  16. That last photo of you? ISABELLA. Wow.

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    Comment by Angella on October 20, 2010
  17. I really like the brown puffer coat & the fourth picture.

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    Comment by Kristen on October 21, 2010
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