It is Concert season and all around the globe Dance teachers are hearing the same thing, “why do our kids have to perform, it takes so long, why another rehearsal?”
At most reputable schools performing in annual concerts will not be compulsory – students who have annual holidays booked or that very important trip to visit Granny should feel comfortable having that life experience and still be able to be involved in their weekly classes. So why should students (of all ages) perform?
Put simply, because it is not natural, it is not second-nature. It is a skill that takes practice and resilience (but when parents are feeling stretched and anxious for their child, sometimes even they forget this). As adults we perform everyday;
when you are driving home in a thunderstorm and your child is in the back of the car – “everything’s fine, lets sing a song”, when we head into a job interview, when we need to speak to the school about our child, when we are feeling sick but have to go to work, or even walking up to new mums in the playground. Each and everytime we are performing, we are faking it.
For students of all ages from 2 years to 18 learning to have resilience is their greatest challenge. By having the opportunity to perform annually in a safe and supported environment, students realise that they CAN do it and therefore continue to develop their resilience . They discover that the butterflies they feel in their stomach are normal and that everybody feels the same nerves.
As a parent, what is the best thing you can do?
Trust your stomach, if you know your child is safe in this environment, don’t be afraid to let them protest a little, cry sometimes – they are nervous but you know that this is good for them. Do not negate their feelings, they are very real to them. Instead remind them that they felt similar last Christmas but had a great time and couldn’t stop talking about it after. Ask the teachers if there is a “buddy system” that way you can talk about “Jack” and what his costume looks like or what he is doing … but most importantly Stay Calm for your child. They are feeling out of control and they need to feel like you have got this!