It has been nearly four years now that my little girl has been dancing. Her mother and I first exposed her to dance when she was 3 years old, solely with the intention of simply getting her around her peer group to continue to socialize her. It was a weekly Saturday morning beginning ballet class for toddlers, sponsored by our local municipal community center. At first, she was timid and unsure, but always curious about observing. Slowly she began to participate more and more. As I reflect on her dance beginnings I am reminded of how adorable she smiled and constantly looked for Mommy and Daddy when she was participating in the group activity.
I remember one moment fondly, as the instructor was preparing the little girls for their first recital, my little girl had to muster up her courage and stand alone on the front of the stage. She was for the first time, not obstructed by another dancer in front of her. Where often she seemed to find herself. She gravitated to this position, as this was her comfort zone. Now she was suddenly exposed for all to see her practicing her newly learned dance moves from her Rio Rancho Dance Classes. I remember seeing a fragile little girl very nervous about her new position, but also very excited. I thought to myself... “Well let’s see what she does. Will she cry and not want to do it? Or, will she stand tall, smile and be a little dancer for all to see?” Dance practice continued on and my little girl, who was ushered to the front of the class because she was the shortest, seemed to really relish the position of front and center and she performed really well. It was a big deal for us that Saturday morning dance lessons for kids practice and it was as well for our little dancer, as this was her first real step in finding her self confidence in front of so many people. We were so proud of her and showered her with praise.
This beginners toddler ballet class practiced for two months every Saturday morning leading up to the community center’s big spring dance recital. Our little girl attended every practice and began to really enjoy dancing and she was excelling. Finally, Friday night rehearsal came, as the scheduled recital was the following Saturday afternoon. We hustled to the community center that night with our little girl who could not wait to go up on the real stage. In the car on our way there, she asked us repeatedly of who was going to come watch her dance on Saturday. We were more nervous for her recital rehearsal than she was for herself. She got on stage and in her position and as practice started she became a little apprehensive at the new stage perspective. I remember thinking to myself... “Uh Oh! She is not liking this being in the front stuff.” She froze a few times and just gazed out to the crowd. We made it a point to be in her line of sight, so she could see us and feel comfortable. After a few takes she began to warm up to the idea and the new perspective and she began dancing with the other ballet toddlers. It was so cute. I could not handle it! All these little toddler ballerinas, dressed up with little curls in their hair, smiles, giggles, funny unsynchronized movements. Pure and innocent comedy. What a treat for the parents and families!
Fast forward now four years and three different Albuquerque Dance Studios later and our little 7 year old is really becoming quite good at dancing. We are excited for her and see that she is truly enjoying her dance classes in Albuquerque. After, last years dance season concluded, the dance school where our little girl was dancing had closed for business. It was a serendipitous event actually for us that it closed. As this dance school seemed to be lacking the type of leadership we were wanting for our little ballet dancer. We wanted her to have the opportunity to grow and be in dance classes for kids environment where there were older teen dance performers excelling and refining their dance skills. As most parents will admit to wanting the best in all things for their children. As parents, we know all to well that sometimes in life, it is so easy to get caught up in the minutia of day to day tasks, appointments, meetings, bills, struggles. So having an outlet to be creative and the ability to shift your way of thinking is as important as eating healthy in my opinion. For children, I feel it is imperative that parents allow or provide for extra curricular activities that help to stimulate their children’s creativity. As these creative experiences really help to teach them the necessary skills and opportunities to cope and make decisions on their own. My wife and I have made it a point to continue to search for and surround ourselves and our children with people who have a positive outlook on life and who strive to do their best everyday at everything they do with passion and excitement. We want our children to be challenged, encouraged and coached to be curious and creative, to have a work ethic instilled in them that is inspired by a growth mindset.
This 2017 Dance Season we have found a true dance home, and a dance family culture here at Triple Threat Performing Arts one of the best Dance Studios in Albuquerque. Owner/Director Cindy Sikelianos is an extraordinary Dance Instructor and Dance Coach. She and her staff of qualified and professional dance instructors really seem to teach with a true passion for their craft. The dance learning environment is always encouraging growth and is supportive of the skill level of the student dancer. Many of the student dancers have been dancing with Miss Cindy for many years now and their live dance performances really help to showcase their respective dance talents and the amount of attention paid to the to the dance fundamentals of molding a true performing dance artist. I have witnessed my little dancer grow a tremendous amount these past 6 months. She is really blossoming and gaining confidence in herself and her dance skill set. She has made friends and is growing socially at her comfortable pace. She asked Mom and Dad if she could perform a solo dance routine this year. At first mention of this, my wife and I did not think she was ready for it. However, we consulted with Miss Cindy about our little dancer’s ambitious inquiry and Miss Cindy said... “Absolutely! I think she is ready for that challenge.” Our little dancer got her wish and was assigned a musical theater dance solo routine. She has spent many hours learning the dance choreography and practicing her facial expressions in earnest. A couple of weekends ago she performed live, in front of an audience on stage. She was, “A little nervous.” she said. To be honest we were nervous for her too. However, once her music came on she did not hesitate. She went out there on stage confidently and with great passion and delivered an awarding winning performance. We were so amazed at her, seizing her opportunity and CRUSHING IT! It was a very special moment...one that I will never forget. She ended up receiving a judge’s choice award called “2017 Miss ShowBiz -Ruby” for her age group and dance category. She also got a “High Gold” medal and a Top Ten winner award for the regional dance competition. It’s hard for me to follow. Each dance competition company has their own award structure and I find them all to be a bit confusing. We were floored by her dance performance and so surprised and so very proud and happy for her. Most importantly though, she is learning from the quality people at Triple Threat Performing Arts, dance studio Albuquerque the valuable life concepts of dedication, sacrifice, hard work and what it means to be a team mate. All the same values we want aligned with our own values at home and which we strive to impart on our children everyday. We know that these life skills will only help to increase her confidence, her self esteem and her ambitions to dream big, work hard and sacrifice to achieve all of her heart’s desires. We really appreciate Miss Cindy Sikelianos and all of her tremendously talented dance instructors. A special thank you to Miss Cindy from our little Eliana who absolutely adores you and respects all you have done to help her and for believing in her. May the 2017 Competition Dance Season be the best season yet for all of the Triple Threat Performing Arts Dancers!