Learning to Dance from My Daughter (Who Can’t Dance)

My daughter says she can’t dance. Every time she says this, I tell her why that is:

  • She isn’t feeling the music.
  • She is so caught up trying to get the moves right she isn’t listening.
  • I tell her to pick an instrument and follow it with her body and she looks at me confused as if there were no music playing.
  • I tell her those stiff synchronized little dancers aren’t feeling the music, they’re learning moves.

Dancing like a banshee with wild abandon to drums, while I can count on one hand how many times I’ve done it, has brought me to Nirvana. I wish this for her (minus the chemical and liquid courage).

So while her friends who have been taking dance since they were three flip around parties doing whips and neigh neighs, my daughter lurks behind them holding their soda.  When she tells me (constantly) how she can’t dance, I panic.  I fear for her self-esteem.  Which is ridiculous, I am so projecting my shit; she is so much more evolved than me.


Here’s the facts:

  • I never danced in public when I was her age, I didn’t even consider it. I certainly wouldn’t chat with my mom about it and ask her to teach me.
  • Two weeks ago, my daughter said, “Mom, my biggest regret in life is saying No when I mean Yes.”   She’s nine. SELF-AWARE much?

  • This week, she is taking her first dance elective at camp (she has avoided it for 3 years) and she’ll learn some hip-hop moves. She’ll probably still look like Elaine in Seinfeld but at least she’s doing it.
  • I have plopped this child into so many different situations from such an early age – she is independent, curious and passionate about learning. She’s a perfectionist but she’s always up for a new situation.  She says NO first but it flicks off quickly.  She’s so strong-willed and adamant, it easy to accept the NO from her as her wish – but she lives for the YES.  I have to learn to let her negative thoughts pass through and out of me – she has a higher tolerance for negativity than I do.
  • My daughter talks to me about her feelings, fears and insecurities on a regular basis – that shouldn’t scare me, that is awesome. I’m doing good!
  • Her cartwheels are so bad they’re good. In her mind, she just skipped a stage – she’s doing round-offs! She always puts herself on top.
  • My daughter is a queen, never a princess.

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