We signed Audrey up for her first dance class last month. She spends a great deal of her time every day dancing and creating costumes to go with her dances. And she’d been asking to take lessons for a few months. I was a bit hesitant as she is after all only four and I’m not a proponent of more/earlier = better for young children. There is much to be said for free play and time to daydream and explore. Don’t get me wrong. She has plenty of social activities. Among two sets of grandparents, play dates with friends, home school volunteer days at a local farm, and all the many informal get-togethers, she has no shortage of social activities to keep her busy. If anything, I have to guard our free, unstructured time as it is a fragile commodity in our busy society.
But she clearly has a passion for dance. For the theatrical in general, really. And she’s always known when she was ready for something. If she was telling us she wanted the more formal setting of a class, then chances were she was ready. So we found a short-term summer dance class for her. Something to test it out and see how she would do in a more formal setting. And she adored it.
The other night at the dinner table when we were all saying one thing we were grateful for (a dinner time routine at our house), Audrey told us she was “grateful to have taken a dance class” and then she looked so sad. That day had been the last day of class. Aaron and I, of course, had already been looking into a longer-term dance class for her after it had become obvious how much she enjoyed it. And we’d mentioned that fact to her, in passing at least. But here she was so sad that her dance class was over. I scooped her up and held her and we talked about how much she loved dance class and about how in a few weeks she’d be starting another dance class, this time one that would last a lot longer. And how she could take dance lessons for as long as she wanted to.
“I can take dance lessons all through the winter and then through the spring and then through the summer? And then keep taking them through the winter, spring and summer again?” She asked, wiping tears from her eyes.
Yes, sweetheart. You can take dance lessons for as long as you want.
In some ways it seems amazing to me that she already has such a passion. And the clarity to vocalize it to us. My little girl is growing up. I feel so honored to be a part of that process.