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Dance can give children much-needed confidence

On a recent Saturday afternoon, we had just finished a day of soccer games and had to hurry to get our oldest daughter ready for a dance recital where she would perform a tumbling routine.

We packed everyone in the Suburban and headed toward the school where she was performing. She then informed us hers would be the last performance of the program.

My husband and I looked at each other, knowing we were in for a long night.

If I'm being honest, I had a bit of an attitude as the first dancers took the stage, wishing it was my daughter’s class so that we could pack up and leave as soon as the dance was over.

But as the music began and the dancers started to perform, I found myself not only enjoying it but also being quite overcome with emotion.

The dancers were very much in their element on the stage. There were kids with whom I had come in contact at my children’s school, whom I only knew as being very shy, exuding confidence as they moved to the music. I saw performers both young and old, dancing and moving their bodies with ease and the utmost confidence.

That's when I felt my own insecurities begin to creep in. I have never been a dancer but always wished I could be.

I’ve often dreamed of moving to music the way I’ve seen others do, but my lack of training and confidence in dance prevented me from doing anything that would be considered dancing.

It has even prevented me from helping my own daughter with her dance steps and tumbling moves — something I am not proud of.

So as I waited for my daughter to perform, I worried my lack of confidence and inability to help my daughter would show in her performance. I feared I hadn’t done a good enough job of raising a daughter who could dance, and I began to get nervous.

The curtain opened, and I took a deep breath. Seconds later, the music began, and my daughter began her routine with the other children in her class. To my absolute surprise, she exuded the same confidence as the performers who came before her. Her ability to complete her steps, flips, walkovers and tucks surpassed my expectations.

As the performance neared its end, the teacher got on her knees and helped each student complete a roundoff back tuck. But my daughter motioned for her teacher not to help. And right there onstage in front of hundreds of onlookers, my 9-year-old daughter completed that roundoff back tuck — a skill she had been working on for weeks.

For the first time, I felt my daughter was in her element. She was where she wanted to be, doing what felt the most natural to her.

And it was well worth the wait.

Arianne is a mother of six young children. Her downtime is spent running the trails of the Wasatch Mountains and beyond. Contact her at ariannebrown1@gmail.com or search her Facebook page A Mother's Write or follow her on Twitter at arimom6.