Monday, December 12, 2011

Let's Dance

I got an email about the winter community class schedule. Since Elena's in school (and has some other activities), this typically means scheduling stuff for Vivian.

Vivian has been CRAZY for The Nutcracker this year. As in, she knows (almost) the entire ballet (Baryshnikov version, anyway). Out of sheer circumstance, she got the opportunity to dance around (starting off with other little kids) a studio last week while the teacher cleaned up.

Viv stayed there nearly 20 minutes after everyone else had left, dancing by herself.

Oh boy. I better find her a dance class.

What about Elena?

Elena is 6. When we start new activities, with new people, there are so many questions. I rarely shy away from questions, but Elena is in a stage where her disability seems to be more front-and-center than usual, and I want her to enjoy herself rather than be a distraction to the class and a giant elephant in the room. It's a new concept to me...I am typically very open about Elena's disability--it's not a secret, but it's not the most defining thing about her. I guess right now, I see her as more fragile than normal. Not in a seriously fragile way, but in a 'needing a confidence boost' sort of way. Constantly explaining her disability to others is not confidence-inspiring.

Part of it is that I can see her watching her little sister. Vivian is three, and constantly jumps, runs, and kicks. Elena sees that. Vivian is always yelling "Hey Mom, look what I can do!" as she does some sort of jump. Seeing Vivian's pride in me acknowledging her achievements is both heart-warming and heart-breaking, because somewhere I KNOW Elena wants to do the same things, and it's just different. It doesn't come naturally to her.

Let me be clear: I will not keep Vivian from trying activities (dance, tumbling, soccer, etc.) that will highlight her motor capabilities. I know that would not be fair to Vivian. But I want Elena to also enjoy physical activity, sports, dance, and everything else.

Well, I don't have an answer. But I did have an idea.

Elena also loves dance. So I emailed a dance (ballet) club in our college town, to see if I could find a 'dance mentor" for Elena. More of a one-on-one dance "class", where the emphasis would be on fun and movement. I directed them to this blog, so they could learn more about Elena. And you know what? In under 30 minutes, I got two messages from dancers who would LOVE to work with my girl.

It's ON!

To be continued...


Chants said...

my daughter has been diagnosed with mild cp when she was 1 year now she's 20 months and Ive been hoping something like dance could help her. Im so happy to hear this great news for your little girl. May God continue to bless her

Just the Tip said...

I can only imagine we are going to have to deal with this more and more, where it's heart breaking to see things come so easy to Morgan, and harder for Peyton. But then again, Morgan has some fairly significant gross motor delays (and I'd be lying if I wasn't scared to death of her MRI showing an abnormality). That's great you got 2 responses so quick! P has started to get into dancing lately, I don't know how I feel about ballet (she's far too clumsy, and we've worked hard to get her OFF her tippy toes) once our doctor schedule calms down some (haha..when does that happen) I want to look into some type of class, i'm just not sure what yet!

Excited to read your update!

Cary said...

That's awesome! Can't wait to hear more!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I work with Gregg Mozgala so I know you've been thinking of the dancing for E for awhile. I am SO happy you have found some people to teach her! I know E will love dancing. It is such a freeing feeling. I can do things now that I only dreamed of doing before. Can't wait to hear more!