All three of my kids, two sons and a daughter, take part in competitive Irish dance. I don’t have them in dance to become professional dancers, however if that was the path they chose I would support it.
I have them in dance for the life skills it teaches. Skills that can be learned in soccer, hockey, skating, gymnastics and many extra-curricular endeavours.
They have learned how to practice when they don’t feel like it. How to lose gracefully. How much work it takes to reach a goal. How when you are standing up in front of seven international judges, you have to leave your nerves at the door and perform like your life depends on it.
Not to mention gaining an appreciation for the arts and learning how to colour outside the lines.
My hope is that they can bring those skills with them to high school, to university, to scholarship application processes, to job interviews and to professional networking.
And most of all, I hope they remember what dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov said: “I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself.”
That is a life lesson that is a priceless game-changer.
Dancing is a metaphor for living. Do you do it with abandon? Do you choreograph your own steps? Do you worry that you will look foolish?
As Albert Einstein once said, “We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams.”
Expressing your unique self, and dancing like there is no one watching, is the only way to live. May you never stop hearing the music. And make all your dreams come true.