Before I was a ballet mom, I was a ballet sister. Amherst Ballet has been in my life in one capacity or another for the better part of 40 years. As a ballet sister I had to sit through many shows, watch my sister receive beautiful bouquets, and make the newspaper more than once. I might have been just a bit jealous of her strong and graceful body and her complete passion and dedication.
My daughter Mia has been dancing since she could walk. At 18 months she started her first ballet class and I became an official “ballet mom”. I had to learn to navigate the world of tights, leotards, ballet slippers and buns. As she got older that world expanded to dinner on the go, late rehearsals, stage make up and balancing homework, sore muscles and family time.
As a family having a serious dancer impacts us in many ways. We often schedule dinner around Mia’s class and rehearsal schedule, sometimes eating early, sometimes late and sometimes all separately. Her younger brother has gotten used to waiting during class and rehearsals and has the advantage of seeing a show come together start to finish.
As a parent I have enjoyed volunteering back stage or helping with costumes. I love the nervous excitement in the kids, being there to bring a bandaid for a sore toe, to give a pep talk to a nervous dancer or to help fix a last minute costume. Being involved in the dance community has given me the opportunity to spend some extra time with Mia and to get to know her friends and cohorts. Ballet keeps her away from home a lot and this extra way of spending time together has been welcomed.
As Mia has gotten older she has learned to tame her crazy curly hair into a tight bun, apply make up with more skill than I could ever dream of and has even become an expert on putting tights on in the car! The biggest issue we face these days is finding time to get to Ludlow or Easthampton for the pointe shoes she needs every few months!
Like any activity dance requires the cooperation and dedication of the whole family and community and has enhanced my life as a parent in immeasurable ways.
Lisa Gallant, Parent