Melissa Mastrosimone: Why I Love Competition Dance

Taylor 3When Taylor was 2 years old and started dancing at Charleston Dance Center, I never would have guessed that eight years later she would be going en pointe and competing her first solo.

I will never forget her first recital when she was 3. She stood on the stage and sobbed through the ballet and tap dances. The pictures are hysterical. She loved dancing, but was crying because her hair was messed up.

When Taylor was 5, Ms. Buffi convinced me to let Taylor audition for Just Dance! She made the mini company, but I wanted to take it slow and start on the recreational team. Before I committed, I made sure I knew the time and financial commitments required… I didn’t want to have any surprises in the middle of the season.

Learn more about Just Dance! auditions.

Taylor danced on the recreational team the first year, then was part of the mini company for two years and this is her second year as part of the petite company.

Growth I’ve Seen

Taylor LeapDance has taught Taylor so many skills that most 10-year-olds don’t have yet. She’s learned grace, confidence and dedication – if her goal is a handstand, that’s how she’s reading and practicing spelling words.

I love that her teachers are encouraging her and helping to build her confidence and self-esteem. I’ve seen the most growth in the past year – not just in her skills and technique, but also in her confidence. She’s tackling things that she wouldn’t have tackled before.

She’s happiest when she’s dancing and her best friends are at the studio.

Advice for New Dance Moms

Taylor ReviveMy biggest piece of advice is to know what you’re getting into. And to know that it’s a family commitment, not just your dancer’s commitment. For example, traveling for competitions impacts our entire family’s schedule and our time together.

It’s not only important for your child to make friends, but also for you to make friends because you’re going to be spending a lot of time with the other parents. These are the moms who do Taylor’s hair when I can’t and who I rely on to bring Taylor home when my son has baseball.

My last piece of advice is not to let your child give up when she is critiqued. Quitting is the easy way out. Keep encouraging her to do her best and help her to improve.

Read what other Just Dance! parents have to say.