Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Dance Moms

When Heather first began dancing at age 6, we still lived in West Plains, Missouri and she danced at C&C Fitness Factory. I had no idea the day we signed her up what we were in for, but I wouldn't trade any of it for anything. Heather first began tumbling on a specially designed bus from C&C that traveled to her day care once a week. Tumbling had to stop when Marty had his first back surgery and was out of work for a while. Oh how her heart broke then! As soon as was possible we enrolled her in gymnastics at the gym. It wasn't long before she was begging to dance too, so I soon enrolled her in a ballet/tap combo class. She threw a very memorable fit the first night she tried the class and she didn't have tap shoes yet like all the other girls. The teacher had said she could dance in her bare feet the first night to see how she liked it before money was spent on all the shoes required. Mrs. Colleen was Heather's dance teacher and coached gymnastics, Mr. Chris (Colleen's husband) also coached gymnastics, and Colleen's mother Joan worked in the office. Joan always remembered that fit Heather threw. How great to have that to be remembered by! :0)

Heather continued to tumble, even after signing up for dance as well. She was always very full of energy and bounced off walls quite regularly. Marty and I spent countless hours sitting at the gym watching all her classes. The first studio contained a small window where parents could take turns sitting in front of it to see in the dance studio. It was much easier to watch the tumbling going on down below! When the studio moved closer to downtown, there was still an upstairs parent viewing area, but this time no window was required to see the dancers. The dancers were also on the first floor and no ceiling was installed above the dance room so the upstairs viewing room looked directly down into the dance studio.

Countless hours were spent at that studio before we moved to Texas. A lot of parents just dropped kids off and went home to care for other children and spouses or run errands, but there were a few of us who sat and waited through almost every practice. And there were lots and lots of practices between tumbling, ballet, tap, jazz, dance team, show team, cheernastics, etc., not to mention the added hours later for solos, duos, and then the Australia team practices! It seemed for a few years our lives revolved around Heather's schedule at the gym. I'm still not sure how she did it, but Heather could manage to change into her dance clothes and tights, or from them, in the car very quickly without ever having to remove her seat belt! Not sure how she managed that with the tights, but she did!

As Heather formed bonds with the girls she danced and tumbled with, I formed friendships with the parents who also sat and watched their children. Although I've lost touch with most of them, Suzanne and I still communicate regularly, even more so now that we both have blogs! She is even putting together a reunion of dance moms for me when I go "home" for Christmas this year! C&C Fitness Factory closed its doors not long after we moved to Texas. The girls from the dance team all took something they learned from their experiences there with them into their new activities. Some continued dancing and tumbling at other studios. Some don't dance at all anymore, but what they learned from that is still evident in their poise, their dedication to their chosen activities, and their drive to do their best.

The dance moms were my closest friends during those years. We shared many laughs and celebrated many victories. Suzanne, Christy and Angela (and all the rest who were in and out during that time!), I will always treasure the times we spent laughing, sharing, and even crying. When Christy and David lost their unborn son just before his due date, the dance moms were like family, there to do whatever could be done to help. Then later, when Evan was born, we were there to celebrate his arrival. We were room mates on dance trips, travel agents trying to organize plans for hotels, restaurants, and even site seeing when we'd head into St. Louis or Kansas City. I miss you all and can't wait to see you and catch up!

Heather's first dance team: Bravo! Dance Team.
front row: Desiree, Chelsea, Heather, Cassie and Briana (Bravo! Jr.)
back row: Maggie (who also helped teach), Shaina, Mrs. Colleen, and Jennifer

Backstage before dancing at a competition....Flubber Mambo!

How silly they all were!

from the left: Angela's daughter Chelsea, Suzanne's daughter Briana, Christy's daughter Cassie and Heather. This was taken at Heather's going away party.

A quick lunch break before the girls danced "Abba Dabba Honeymoon" in St. Louis. This was Heather's first dance after joining the Bravo! Dance Team.

from the left: Briana, Desiree, Cassie and Heather

Miss Maggie and Heather.

Dance Moms with Colleen.

Me, Suzanne, Colleen, Angela, Christy

Suzanne and Angela with Christy's baby Evan.

Heather's last time at the barre at C&C.
Heather, Cassie, Briana.

One of the times we all headed to my mom's house to get costumes tailored!

from the left Christy, Mary Jo, Cassie and my mom. Thanks Mom!!! You saved us so many times!!!

The girls being goofy at Heather's going away party.


busysingersmom said...

How sweet! I love that Abba Dabba picture! Can't wait to see you in December! :)

busysingersmom said...

And remember how their monkey tails keep getting tangled up? What a hoot! :D

Tammy said...

Oh my gosh! I had almost forgotten about the tails! That was TOO FUNNY!!!

Angela said...

What a great trip down memory lane. We are excited to see you guys in Dec:) I have never before or since had such a fun bunch to hang out with!

Tammy said...

Angela, we ARE a fun bunch aren't we??? I sure miss cutting up with all of you while we waited endlessly on our girls. Oh how the time has flown since then. We all have tons of catching up to do!


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