Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lessons I've Learned as a Dance Dad

This past weekend marked the end of another dance season for my beautiful daughter.  The girls and instructors from our studio, Prestige Dance Institute were amazing! After the competition, as we packed numerous outfits, crates of make-up, and buckets of hair products into the car one last time before taking the summer off, I thought back to all of the things that her time in dance has taught me. Even if you are not a dance dad, I hope you’ll find these lessons helpful. Here goes….

Lesson 1:  Gold Is Not Best After All

It turns out the Olympics have been lying to us all. Every four years athletes from all over the world gather for competition. They have endured countless hours of training, and have poured out their blood, sweat, and tears, all in hopes of winning the one thing that will make all of their sacrifice worth it, a gold medal. Little do they know that everyone in the dance world gets gold.  Everyone.  A one-legged clogger with a banjo would get gold at a dance competition. The Olympics taught me that nothing was better than gold, but they were wrong. In the dance world, Gold is just the beginning. Gold is nice, but if your timing is a bit better and your moves are more clean, you could win High Gold, or Platinum. Some truly gifted dancers, like many of the girls at Prestige (sorry for bragging, I’m just really proud), can even land High Platinum or Diamond honors for their performances. So, I think it’s about time that the Olympics got their act together! When Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, wins another 100m dash at the next Olympics, he should get the prize he deserves:  a Super Mega Elite Platinum medal and a trophy the size of a lumberjack.

Lesson 2: Glitter Gets Everywhere And Never Goes Away

Seriously, never.  I found some glitter on my shoulder last week from a dance competition back in 2009. You may think you’ve washed it all off, but give it a couple of days, and it’ll be back. Once you touch glitter, it’s yours for life, and in the dance world, glitter is everywhere! It’s on the costumes, the props, the chairs, and I’m pretty sure they blow out of the air vents. The Glitter Industry should say a silent prayer of thanks for the dancers of the world. So, after your daughter’s next dance competition you should probably be ready to hear something like this the following week at work: “Hey Frank, you look a little sparkly today….”

Lesson 3: Always Say Yes When Asked To Help Carry Props

Yes, this lesson will expose you to a dangerous amount of the glitter referred to in the previous lesson, but carrying props helps you address a much larger issue. It’s a scientifically proven fact that hearing Britney Spear’s “Ooh La La” 7 times in one day depletes your body of 94% of all of its testosterone. It is essential that you find something masculine to do to combat those effects. Carrying wooden risers, steps, and chairs on and off stage does nicely. If your dance studio doesn’t use props, you will need to look at other, more extreme options:

-bring your chainsaw along and thin out any trees that may 
be too close to the auditorium.

-Start a fight club with other Dance Dads in the basement 
of the auditorium. (Remember, the first rule of Dance Dad
 Fight Club is to never talk about Dance Dad Fight Club)

-Weld something. (it doesn’t really matter what)

Lesson 4: Don’t Miss The Moments

Remember that every drive to practice, every dinner after competition, and every frantic last minute search for hair pins is a chance to be amazed at how much your beautiful daughter has grown, and how that in spite of all that you don’t know about being a Dad, she is becoming an incredible person.  Absorb every second of it you can because there will come a day when you would give anything to see your little girl wearing her great big smile as she dances her heart out on stage. Also, don’t forget to tell her that she is beautiful before, during, and after each competition, she needs to be reminded.

Lastly, a word of advice to all of the Dad’s out there. If you aren’t a Dance Dad, be a Soccer Dad, or Band Dad, or Spelling Bee Dad. Jump into whatever world your child is involved in. I know you’re busy and I know it’s hard, but these moments in life are rare, and once you miss them, you can’t get them back. So dive in and enjoy every second of your child’s journey, and if you find a way to permanently remove glitter give me a call. 


  1. I'm obviously not a dance dad, but I love this so much. Please, please, go weld something.

  2. As a dance kid back in the day - each and every piece of this goes noticed - even if we don't always stop and say "thank you." B/c without all of our support systems (and yes, there are so many!), we could not do what we love! You're an amazing dad, not only to your own daughter, but the other dance daughters you have helped throughout the year! Congrats on a great year to all!

  3. K - Kristen Barbour - my account didn't verify!

    1. Oh no! I'll check into it, please try again! I hope things are great for you!