There were five main ‘Dance Moms’ when the first season aired on Lifetime in 2011. But there are so many more dance moms that didn’t feature on the high drama television show. These other dance moms still cheer on their children, across many dance genres, and their devotion to their children’s dance education can border on insane. Luckily, my own dance mom was much less extreme; so this is a public ‘thank you’ to my wonderful mom for pitching in with various ‘dance mom’ duties over the years.

Thank You for When I Was a Kid

I think you were happy when I signed up for dance class, so that I could have a physically active hobby like my brother. (And I bet you were also relieved that you could stop practicing tennis and baseball with me, since I clearly didn’t have the necessary hand-eye coordination to succeed.) While you were already used to being a ‘soccer mom’ for Drew, perhaps you hadn’t realized that being a ‘dance mom’ would require a bit more work…

Thank you for ferrying me from school to dance class, multiple times each week, until I could drive

– and thank you for bringing me home after each class.

Thank you for cooking dinner while I was away

– and thank you for making sure there was still some food upon my return, when you re-heated it for me.

Thank you for taking me shopping for dance shoes

– and thank you for sewing on my ballet elastics and my pointe shoe ribbons.

Thanks Mom, this dance transformation wouldn’t have been possible without you!
Note: I didn’t actually start dancing until I was 10. I just borrowed a friend’s outfit here, so this is what I would’ve looked like as a baby ballerina.

Thank you (and Dad) for paying my dance tuition

– and thank you for paying for the goofy dance recital costumes and dance photos of me in said goofy costumes…

– and an extra big thank you for when you sewed new dance skirts for my entire Irish dance class, so we didn’t have to wear the embarrassing stringy skirts that the teacher chose.

Thank you for watching me practice my simple dance routines over and over in the living room

– and thank you for coming outside to watch me tap dance on the blacktop driveway at home and at Grandma & Grandpa’s house.

Thank you for sitting through two hours of boring recital routines to see me on stage for five minutes…

– and thank you for volunteering back stage, ushering dancers between the stage and the dressing rooms, to make sure the show ran smoothly.

Thank you for buying me flowers after the recital

– and thank you for making me feel so special after my dance shows, like I had achieved a big accomplishment.

Thank You for When I Was in High School

Thank you for sitting in the freezing cold during football season to watch the same pre-game ‘dances’ to marching band tunes for four years

– and thank you for staying until half-time to see the performances that repeated for weeks on end.

Ditto for basketball season during winter.

Thank you for driving all the way to high school dance team competitions, even though we both had an inkling that my team would never win

– and thank you for continuing to talk about dance, critiquing the other teams with me after a looong, tiring day.

Thank you for coming to watch the final day at the Universal Dance Association camp

– and thank you for sewing on my ‘All Star’ badges and Varsity sports team letters on my leather high school jacket. (It’s on my list of things to bring back to London with me, since it’s very uniquely American.)

Thank you for putting up with the other dance moms – while some were great, I know some were a huge pain in the ass. (And, unsurprisingly, their daughters were also the ones who were a huge pain in the ass.)

Thank you for helping me to curl my hair when required

– and this is an extra big thank you because Asian hair wasn’t meant to curl, no matter how much hairspray is used…

– and although I thought it was unnecessary at the time, it was really cool when you changed policy so that half of the performance days required straight hair, instead.

Thank you for giving me your dance corrections and notes, even if I occasionally protested ‘But you’re not a dancer!’ because you definitely knew what you were talking about

– and thank you for trying to do the moves or to emulate the style, because I almost always understood what you meant without your demonstration, but your impressions entertained me.

Thank you for regularly taking me to musical shows and to the ballet because it helped me to appreciate the performing arts and made me feel at home in the theatre, as an arts patron

– and thank you for taking me to the cultural festivals in Milwaukee, such as Irish Festival and the Asian Moon Festival, to see multiple types of dance and musical acts.

Thank You for Supporting My University Dance Major

There are plenty of moms who wouldn’t support a dance degree, since they don’t understand the place of dance in academia. But I am thankful that you supported me as I rounded of my undergraduate career with a dance major, staying at university for an extra three semesters.

Thank you for flying for hours to see my university shows

– and thank you for continuing to come even though many of the dance pieces by the faculty were markedly more abstract than any dance you had previously seen.

Thank you for sending me little gifts throughout the holidays to boost my well-being during tough semesters with an exhausting rehearsal schedule. By the time I left university, I had a great wellness kit: a foot bath, a handheld massager, a foam roller and massage balls, epsom salts and more.

Thank you for letting me come home and hibernate during university breaks because I needed to re-charge

– and thank you for dragging me to Zumba with you in the morning. We got a good workout and you’ve really found your own groove!

Thank you for understanding when I’d spend weeks away at dance intensives, rather than coming home

– and thank you for watching the dance videos that I would regularly send you.

Thank You for Supporting Me, Now and Always

Thank you for helping to teach J how to waltz before our first dance as husband and wife

– and thank you for dancing up a storm after dinner with the rest of the party.

Thank you for visiting Dance Dispatches when I ask you to look at all the work I’ve poured into the static website pages and latest dance posts.

– and thank you for listening to me prattle on about how I will grow the site, for checking the media pack and for occasionally proofreading articles.

Thank you for everything.

You introduced me to a hobby that has brought me great joy and you have continually nurtured me throughout my dance journey. I know it wasn’t always easy, but thank you so much for being a great dance mom and for being a wonderful mom in general.

Love you.

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