My cute kiddos and I!
photo by Christy Dorrity
Mothers and fathers who have children in Irish dance, and are dancers themselves, know of the joys that come from sharing Irish dance together.
There are real advantages to having family members dance together. Here are a few:
1-Saving time and money
Can that be a typo? How could anyone think that including more children in dance would ever be less expensive?
Families who have many children understand how hectic life can be when each child is going in a different direction--soccer on Tuesday, dance on Wednesday, piano on Thursday, and so on. When a majority of the family does the same activity, there is less running around and juggling of schedules.
Many dance schools offer family discounts and most feiseanna have a family maximum on fees.
Expensive shoes and costumes can be passed down to younger siblings. Melissa Cleverly, an adult dancer, and mother of dancers in Utah says, "I just put shoes that are too small in a bin, and when a younger sibling needs a pair of shoes we go to the shoe bin to get pair of shoes."
2-Family bonding time
Not only do parents and children enjoy one another's company at practices and performance, but even the travel time can be a perfect opportunity for sharing and quality heart-to-hearts. Many families turn competition weekends into vacations, or family vacations into competition weekends. Rachel Joy, adult Irish dancer from Beaton School of Irish Dance in Maryland, says, "Driving to and from feiseanna is the best time; parent/child competitions are fun too!"
Performing together in recitals or in parent/child competitions strengthens relationships. Each family member feels the rush of cheering for a sibling or child and sharing in their triumphs and pitfalls.
Dancing by its very nature encourages parents and kiddos to get up off the couch and do something active. Dance class fosters stamina, perseverance and endurance. Even practice time at home counts as a calorie-burning, heart-helping activity. When children see their parents doing something active to stay healthy, you can bet there are healthy habits forming.
How great is it for kids to see their parents making goals, then working toward them with vigor? "We all practice together and are at dance together," says Cleverly. "It is so fun to have this common interest in our family. Everyone in our family has something in common with one another." Adults who go to practice and work toward a future goal give their kids the gift of ambition and the belief that they, too, can do anything they put their mind to.