Discipline and dance

Discipline in dance is essential, but it’s hard for a natural dancer to keep still when the body impulsively moves to any rhythm.

Charlotte doing 'head isolation' exercises

At the end of a week’s dance workshop, in preparation for her next American Jazz exam, Charlotte’s class was opened up for parents to watch. We were definitely a distraction, especially with Alice toddling around to the beat. I had to take her out in the end, when Queen’s, ‘We Will Rock You!’ saw her stomping her little feet, beating her hands in rhythm on her knees and nodding her head along with the strong call to rock. All very cute, but sadly there’s a time and a place.

We found freedom in the waiting room and corridor, where we could still hear the music and peek in at the dancing through the window. We rocked along in carefree abandon.

Alice watching her big sister's dance class

Charlotte and her fellow students took it in turns to perform their various exercises and dances. Whilst they waited they had to stand still, backs turned, like statues. Charlotte kept getting the giggles. She clasped her hands together and twiddled her thumbs, trying to contain the urge to move to the music. She understands the importance of discipline in dance and waiting her turn – but her body fights it!

When she dances she really flies. Watching her is an uplifting experience. If she had wings she’d soar.

Gallops and leaps through the air

Her smile is contagious. I watched her with an inane looking grin on my face, giddy with parental pride and a shared passion for dance. I know that feeling. That toe tapping, inescapable urge to move. The carefree abandon of self. I was often the first on the dance floor. I had no need for dutch courage. The music fed into my veins like a drug from the day I could toddle.

Smiles and character

But the discipline I understand too. Admiration caught my breath as the girls diligently did their exercises at the bar. Over and over again they stretched their limbs and feet in precise movements, teaching their muscles the required pattern. Muscle memory.

Diligently practicing exercises

We loved watching Charlotte’s progress and, as we watched, Dan, Sophie, Alice and I, we felt proud and in awe. Dan had made the special effort to make the class, pedaling on his bike from a game of indoor soccer. After class he bid us farewell, as he returned to the office. I took my dancing girl and her sisters home, where we could turn up the volume and dance with carefree abandon. Rock on!

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