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The Ballerina or Skater

The Ballerina or Skater

One of the best things you can do for your daughter is to help her discover what is deep inside her and to encourage her to grow into what she is meant to be. Remember the words of Oscar Levant: "It's not what you are, but what you don't become that hurts." Therefore, you will never know what your daughter could become unless you validate her early wishes and accompany her as she tries to follow the path of her innermost passions. In the case of a girl who is drawn to being a ballerina or skater, you are fortunate. You simply supply what she needs and watch her advance.

Fact

More than three centuries ago, the French courts started a formal ballet tradition, which prompted Louis XIV (1643-1715), who was a great dancer himself, to establish the first Academie Royale de Danse in 1661.

Turns and Axels

There are so many ways in which you can foster your girl's interest in dance steps or skates, whether they're meant for an ice rink or a skate park. Classes abound in ballet, jazz, rhythm, tap, modern dance, and all forms of skating. The great thing about getting your girl involved in these activities is that they increase her flexibility, poise, and gracefulness. Her body, and her self-confidence, benefit greatly as well. Another plus is that these activities are available in many locations in your community. Thus, if your daughter enjoys them, check out the many dance schools and sports complexes in your area. Then allow her to take a trial class.

Alert!

Do not insist that your daughter continue to take dance or skating lessons if she loses interest. Children change their minds about what they like many times, so it is always best not to pay for a program far in advance. Go with a week-to-week payment plan and have another activity in mind that you can introduce.

Costumes for dancing and skating can cost huge amounts, not including the fees required for the various lessons. No matter how determined your girl seems in wanting to be a great dancer or skater, start slowly. Often after-school programs offer introductory movement classes. In middle school, dance may be offered as a subject, and she can try her skating flair at a public ice rink before getting too deeply involved. Always leave the door open for your daughter to develop an interest in something entirely new. So much has to do with the development of her body and spirit. Growth in a girl's talents is rarely straightforward. It may involve side paths to other interests. But that is what makes parenting so fascinating. It broadens you just as your daughter broadens her interests. She may decide that dancing and skating are not for her. Instead, she may suddenly want to take up tae kwon do or some other sport.

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From The Everything Parent's Guide to Raising Girls Copyright © 2007, F+W Publications, Inc. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Publications Company. All rights reserved.

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