Don’t mind me, just having a mummy moment that I want to share. I was going to put this on my instagram but I’d quite like the freedom to waffle on more than an insta-caption allows so this is the perfect space! Do any of you remember my old blog? I used to post every day about all sorts! Feels nice to come back here and have a low pressure chitchat. If you’ve clicked on looking for booker prize level writing, click off! Ha! You’re about to be sorely disappointed! This is just a mama who’s blogged since 2009, flexing her fingers (ooer) and sharing a slice of life. I don’t have a content plan or know quite where this will go but I do know I’ll enjoy tip tapping the keys and seeing where we go.
Darcy is my eldest daughter and is ten now. It’s true what they say about time. ‘The days are long but the years are short’. How did I have a baby a decade ago? Wow. I digress. When she started school, they offered the option for her to do ballet and I just said ‘yes’ thinking it’d be fun for her. I did ballet at school and really enjoyed it, so figured she’d quite like it too.
It was always a summer highlight going to the ‘A Dancers World‘ shop, buying the new kit each year, seeing her twirl out of the changing rooms feeling all swish. I also loved it when the school did lessons you could go and watch too. Darcy seemed to have this confidence about her as she danced which I didn’t see elsewhere. If you know her in real life, you’ll know that my little Doodles is quite a sensitive soul. She can over think or over worry and so to see her just being so free and enjoying the moment is lovely. Since she was happy doing it, I carried on booking the in-school lessons.
After a couple of years, her school ballet teacher rang me. She said (and I realise this is so braggy but if you can’t have a moment on your own blog then when can you eh? Eeep), ‘Darcy has something you can’t teach‘, and encouraged me to put her in a club or extra dance school. I don’t know if she says that to all the parents but it meant a lot to me. I looked into it but there was nothing I could make work with our split custody timetable and when I spoke to Darcy about it (I’d have found a way to make it work if needed), she just wasn’t that bothered. She said she wanted to carry on with the school lessons but didn’t mind either way about any extras. I dropped the subject and she merrily carried on at school.
Then, as I’m sure every single person reading will recall what happened early 2020, the pandemic hit. School was closed and when it re-opened, they had paused any external teachers coming in, which included ballet. Dance was off the cards. At the time, we were just grateful that a limited version of school had been reopened and we focussed on that.
By Autumn Darcy was really missing dance. A couple of her class friends were attending an external dance school and raved about it so, we gave them a call and asked if we could check it out. We did, loved it, signed both Darcy AND Pearl up. Darcy’s Dad was really onboard too and has been fantastic supporting her, driving her to lessons on his days and giving her loads of encouragement. Hurrah for #DanceDads too!
Then though, BoJo put us in another lockdown. Dance paused. They opened back up for a few weeks in Christmas but it all ended in tiers (ho ho) and it was paused. We had one day almost open in January and then guess what? Paused again. What a time!
By April, both the girls were so, so happy to be back dancing! Pearl does a weekly pre-schooler class where she dances tap and ballet (she’s also done baby ballet when she was younger, shall I do a whole post on Pearlie soon?). Darcy does a bit more because of her age and mostly, her enthusiasm. I haven’t seen this kiddo so excited for anything as much as she is dancing. If she could dance rather than walk, she would!
A wonderful bonus about all this is the friends we have made (I’ll talk more about my #DanceMum life another time if you’re interested?) and the fun we’ve had together. One of the other Mummies told us about a repertoire workshop the Royal Academy of Dance were holding in May so we excitedly booked to do that and had an amazing time. I actually vlogged the whole adventure, which you can watch HERE.
After we did that, Darcy auditioned for a summer programme at another one of the London ballet schools and was successful! We have that booked in for later this summer and I’ll no doubt share it all too! (Once she’s finished, I’ll also share which school if you are interested for your little one, always just a bit safety conscious <3 ).
Both the girls are performing in the dance school end of year show (which is being covid adapted so no audience but they’ll film it for us and we’re still pumped!) and they are VERY giddy. I’m not sure if it’s the dancing or the fact they get to wear makeup and glitzy costumes, ha! I’m a bit nervous about doing double french plaits but we move, we move. On top of that, Darcy has also been invited to join the competition team so soon we’ll be entering the world of dance festivals too! Yowzas!
So, that’s the big shiny happy side of it all! Of course though, nothing in life is perfect and they have been some challenging bits too, that we’re using as good ‘learning moments’. AKA, turning a negative into a blessing.
Just last week Darcy took her Grade 1 ballet exam and, well, it went a bit wonky. She’s done her pre-primary and primary at the school club and it was never a big deal to her. I don’t even know what her grade was other than a pass (maybe it was just a pass, this is how chill we are about it). She was delayed in taking the next exam (again, covid) so by the time she was able to do it, she was pretty gee’d up. The problem was, this time it mattered to her. Remember, Darcy is a sensitive soul. She REALLY cares about things and REALLY wants to do her absolute best.
She was ready for the exam, dances rehearsed, her teacher had worked so hard on extra lessons, Mummy had done the best she could with a ‘pancake bun’ (learning new things every day here haha), and she went in smiling. Twenty minutes later though, she comes out in floods of tears. The sort of crying where you’re hiccuping through it. It was heart breaking. Unfortunately, she forgot a step and it just broke her. I think it knocked her confidence from there on out and she felt like she hadn’t danced as well as she normally can. I was gutted for her.
After a lot of cuddles and reassurance from her amazing teacher, she calmed. We talked about how as much as we love this, it is JUST a hobby, just a thing we do for fun. We talked about what we can learn from it (mental preparation, resilience, determination) and how we can move on (by keeping enjoying dancing, accepting that you can’t ‘win’ everything etc) and Darcy seems a LOT better now. I think having other things to focus on, like the competition team, her summer programme and the show, is plenty to keep her happy.
We haven’t had the exam results yet but even if it’s not a pass, it’s ok. For Darcy dance is about feeling free, learning new moves, strutting about with her pals in the dance school cafe (very cute to watch) and doing something JOYFUL. For me as a ‘Dance Mum’ (hehe), it’s about her enjoying something, building confidence, making friends, learning skills like humility, the value of team work and dedication. Pass or fail, we still get all those other things and those are the real wins.
Ultimately, this is such a sweet stage of life and I’m loving each minute (even the ones spent watching the hair tutorials haha).
I’d love to talk more about our dance life, it’s such a big part of our weeks and I think it’s lovely to share. Is there anything you’d like to know? Let me know in the comments or contact me on any of my social media platforms, @LouisePentland.
Thank you for reading!