Find happiness by rediscovering your inner dancer

By Astrid Van Den Broek
Woman dancing Masterfile

I practically grew up at a dance school. From the time I was four years old, I was tapping in my Capezios, working on jazz squares and learning to execute a pas de bourrée. When I hit my teens, I started to earn extra cash working as an assistant teacher at my dance school. Soon, if I wasn’t there working on my own tap combinations, I was at the mirrors working with line of tiny tappers in front of me. Eventually, my dance life ended — I turned 18 and moved to Toronto to attend university. My dance life stayed behind in my closet along with my shoes, costumes and leotards.

Speed ahead 20 years and I’m a full-on dance mom. My daughter’s at a dance studio two days a week, mastering spring points in ballet and cramp rolls in tap. My younger son is learning the basics in his boys' dance class and much of my time is spent sitting in the hallways, chatting with parents and listening to the teacher cueing music and combos. Once in awhile, I remember what it’s like to whirl so freely around a dance studio.

It occurred to me a few weeks ago that, rather than just sitting there longingly, I should dance too. While I’ve taken hip hop off-and-on for the past year, this week I dusted off those old shoes and headed back to class. "You know me, I’m still that little girl in a dance studio," I told my husband.

So I ponytailed up and choked back the nerves ("What am I doing? What if they’re all better than me?"). I stepped into the same studio that my daughter taps in and tackled barre work and pirouettes, catching up on the routine the class had clearly been working on. The pirouettes were admittedly shaky, and my turnout was less than stellar, but I was from work deadlines and putting the kids to bed, I was a dancer in a studio once again.

The result? I won’t be recital-bound anytime soon, but I do have a dancer’s high — sweaty, sore and seriously happy that I’m once again spending time with my little girl dancer inside.

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