Dancers have it tough enough as it is.
We have to train our bodies like athletes, and feed our minds like artists. We take classes, train with teams, rehearse for competitions, and spend so much of our time and energy on our passion.
Some of us have to do all of this without our parents’ support or even with their outright rejection of dance.
Pursuing something you love is exceptionally difficult when the people who are closest to you aren’t on your side.
This situation is a bit tricky. You want to respect your parents’ wishes but feel like you absolutely cannot let go of dance.
It’ll take a bit of compromise and extra work, but take these tips to find a way to dance that works for you and your family.
Tip 1: Identify the reasons your parents don’t want you to dance
It’s not that your parents hate dancing. They’re just worried about certain effects it might have.
If you show that you can handle those effects, it’ll be hard for them to find a reason to keep you from dancing.
For example, a common concern is that dancing will distract you from your school life.
It’s a completely legitimate concern. If your parents see good grades as a mark of success, they’ll be weary of anything that threatens to take time away from studying or doing homework.
Show that you’re able to be a good student while dancing.
See Related Video: How To Balance School And Dance
This goes for whatever other reason they have for not supporting your dancing. Take care of that first, then treat yourself to dancing.
Tip 2: Be transparent about your dancing
Let’s say you don’t have anything to hide on your phone. But if you snatch it back whenever your girlfriend or boyfriend tries to see it, it’s gonna look mad shady. Hmmmm..
A lot of the times, a situation is really not that bad – but being secretive about it makes it seem like it is.
Don’t sneak around to rehearsals or classes.
If you think about it, those are really good things to be doing – you’re becoming better at something you love, and learning a lot from being a part of an organization. Better than getting TU every night if you ask me.
But if you’re constantly coming home at 2 am without an explanation, your parents will assume the worst. It’s just how their minds work.
Let them know that you’re going to practice, or want to take a class from a choreographer you admire.
Dancing should be seen as any other sport or hobby. Going for a run or knitting a scarf isn’t going to be reprimanded, so neither should you sessioning with your friends.
Tip 3: Financially support your dancing
This one’s the trickiest. A lot of us are still students, or are working but don’t have a ton of cash to spare.
But if you’re going to do something your parents don’t really want you to – you better be able to pay for it yourself.
It’s already pushing it to continue to do something your parents are hesitant about, so asking for money for classes or competition fees will make them even less keen on supporting your dancing.
Be frugal about dance. You don’t have to splurge on the trendiest clothes or take back to back workshops. There are ways to train that don’t require a lot of money.
See Related Article: 7 Cheap Ways To Become A Better Dancer
If you’re able to support yourself to be able to dance, your parents won’t be able to hold the financial cost of dance against you.
Tip 4: Be happy about dancing
Yes, our parents nag and worry. But most of the time, it really is because they want the best for us.
If it’s apparent that dance has a positive effect on your life, doesn’t get in the way of school or work, isn’t causing huge financial strain, then it’s hard for them to find a good reason not to support it.
Especially with our urban dance community, people outside of the bubble simply don’t understand it. It’s not as straightforward a hobby like playing the piano.
What we partake in is a whole culture and lifestyle. Personally, I had the hardest time convincing my mom that, just because I do “hip hop,” it doesn’t mean I’m battling on cardboard on the streets. I don’t even know how to do that lol.
It was just easier to keep things to myself, but that’s exactly why my mom couldn’t wrap her head around it. Why was I coming home sweaty and tired, spending weekends away at competitions?
Everything changed when I started to let her in to my world of dance.
I showed her performance videos, expertly shot action photos, events that my team would organize to fundraise, and generally just how happy dance made me – and she started to understand.
The fear of me dancing wasn’t so much a fear, but just unawareness as to what I was doing.
People fear what they don’t know. And that’s the sad part – dance is so awesome and has endless positive impact on our lives, but if your parents don’t see how much good it’s doing for you, they will continue to feel uneasy about it.
Don’t just be open with them, celebrate with them. Invite them to your shows, show them class footage of you killing a piece, be vocal about how inspired you are by other dancers in your life.
The first time my mom has ever seen me dance was at Body Rock 2014. She was so impressed by the talent, the positivity, and the level of professionalism that the dancers carried ourselves with. She started to recognize dance for what it was – a gift, rather than a threat to my well-being.
See Related Article: Why I’m Thankful To Be A Dancer
Now, there could be so many other reasons your parents don’t support your dancing. But by practicing these tips, you can start to pinpoint those reasons and address them.
You shouldn’t feel guilty about dancing. Ice cream is a guilty pleasure, but dance is a healthy pleasure – if done right. So do it right, both by your – and your parents’ standards.
Have you struggled with family members who don’t support your dancing? Comment below and share with us!
An easy, cost-effective way to train is taking classes on STEEZY Studio!