Dance Moms' Abby Says: No Recess for You!
In a recent “Dance Moms” episode, Abby is frustrated that Mackenzie arrives at dance practice already out of breath. She screams, "You've been playing at recess again!" like it is a huge crime for a 9 year old to be playing! Running around, no less! At recess! "This is why you need to homeschool them," Abby admonishes mom, Melissa.
This episode also had Abby informing Mackenzie that the tiny dancer was getting "too old" for cute. So, yeah.
In a way, though, I sympathize with Dance Mom Melissa's dilemma. She has two super-talented dancers who love performing and have huge opportunities. Still, they are only children--especially Mackenzie who is younger and seems less driven than her older sister, Maddie.
I have to admit, today, I made sure my kids went swimming before lunch so that they wouldn't be exhausted at their afternoon piano lesson. I can understand the frustration of both the teacher and the parent when late day activity leaves a talented youngster too exhausted to practice--or even injured and unable to compete.
From my own childhood, I remember breaking my finger playing basketball at camp...at music camp. For the rest of camp, I learned music theory and played jazz piano but I couldn't work on the flute technique I had come to study.
Still, I am a huge advocate of play for young children. When I heard there was no running allowed at recess, I convinced the school to open up a different playground where the kids could run safely. I want my kids to run, play, and get dirty.
Ideally, kids have a little of both--time to pursue excellence in an area of talent and also time to explore other interests and just have fun. If Melissa did hire a homeschooling tutor, the girls could play in the morning and have plenty of time to rest before dance practice. Or would Abbey insist she cut out playground time altogether in favor of more rehearsal? Dance all day might make for stronger performers but would it make for happier kids and more well-adjusted people?