It takes a certain kind of attitude to be a Dance Mom. Now – I’m not talking about EVERY mom who has a kid taking dance. Just because you drop your kid off once a week for half and hour doesn’t make you a dance mom. You’re just a mom (or dad) with a kid in dance class. Just like if you drive a motorcycle you’re not a gang member, but there’s that percentage in every group that does nothing better than cause trouble.
I thought directing traffic brought out the true stubbornness and stupidity of the human race. Dance Recitals are right up there, and you don’t have to face down cars at fifty miles per hour.
Firstly, there’s the complete inability to follow any sort of directions. Parents can bring their kid to the theatre fifteen minutes early. That means parents. Not parents, uncles, cousins and “grandma needs to come in, she can’t stand for fifteen minutes”. Really? Grandma can sit in the corner, because she’s not coming in until 6pm. Of course, this type of “I’m special and privileged” type of thinking leads right into the silliest of all behavior, one not limited to dance moms.
People, STOP “saving seats”. This is the adult world, not kindergarten. It’s one thing if the dancer will dance once and come back and sit with you, fine, throw your purse on the seat. Same thing if husband is parking the car so you wouldn’t have to waddle your rotund behind half a block and risk losing that figure you worked so hard to develop at McDonalds. But coming in and sitting on an end seat, and throwing a BLANKET over the next six, and holding them for half an hour? You people are ridiculous. If you want to sit together, arrange to meet together. Otherwise, the eight of you will be spread across the theatre. Telling a grown person, “I’m sorry but these seats are saved” should earn you a punch in the throat.
You can recognize a true dance mom by all the extra stuff she carries, usually a rolling trunk of some sort with all the extra crap they carry. It usually appears they are moving in (and the REALLY scary ones have personalized the trunk with all sorts of glittery stick-ons and crap). The truly stubborn think they are above everyone else. I’ve even had one hide in the bathroom with the kid, between shows, so she has a leg up on all the other parents for changing room and makeup purposes. Seriously? Its a dance recital, not a competition. There are no awards for having perfect makeup. There are no talent scouts from New York watching your twelve-year-old doing two minutes of hip-hop. Get over yourself.
You would think with all the money people spend on Dance stuff, they would budget an extra thirty bucks for the DVD. There were several signs in the theatre: “No video recording”. I don’t know how much more plain it could be. No recording. Period. It’s announced by some guy over the sound system too, “No video recording”.
Here’s the problem – Modern cameras and cell phones can record video as well as taking pictures. So it’s often hard to tell who just like taking sixty-five pictures of their kid (momtographers – but that’s another paragraph), and who is recording. Another problem is – how to tell these idiots to stop without causing a scene. It’s often the case these cheap bastards are just recording their own child, and once their kid is off the stage, the camera will be put away for the rest of the show. If they even stick around. Most of this ilk are parents of younger kids, who think they have to record every minute of their pre-six-year-old’s life, and are disrespectful enough to jump up in the middle of the next routine and walk out, talking loudly about how good their child did.
So, when someone is very obviously recording their kid, and they are accessible (say within a few chairs of the aisle, and not directly in front of a crowd) it’s my job to tell them to stop. Most of the time I’m met with scowls and huffs, not unlike some who is speeding, and knows they were speeding, and can’t believe they got stopped. Usually that is the end of it. Very rarely do I have someone follow me to the back of the theatre a few minutes later and need an explanation.
“I can’t believe you told me to stop recording my child, when all those other people were recording their children!”
(Good Dance Mom selfish thinking – and also a great lesson to teach your kid. Breaking rules is okay as long as everyone is doing it) “I’m sorry I singled you out, but it’s hard to tell who is doing what, but you were obviously recording the dance.”
“I was only recording MY kid’s dance!”
“DVD’s are available for thirty dollars at the door.”
“Well I want to thank you for stopping Me from recording!”
“Well, miss, you are very welcome.”
I figured she would be a problem later, but no, typical selfish person attitude, she spent the next routine getting her stuff together and blocking the view of several other parents, and finally left the theatre, taking little Miss America with her.
Thankfully she did NOT stop at the back of the theatre with the other momtographers to take a thousand poorly compaosed pictures of her kid standing in the back of the theatre. I’m sure thats what all the people in the back row like to experience while they try to watch the show. Between the talking loudly and the “Douchey Dads” yukking it up in their country club wear, and the sixty-five flashes, I wouldnt be surprised one day if somebody leapt over the back seats and made a run at these people. It’s also my job to get them to move the Hell out of the way, which I attempt to do. There are a lot of people, “just waiting”. They’ll spend the entire show leaning against the rail and “just waiting” if you let them. Why the heck do people come into a venue with 800 seats and want to spend the whole show leaning against a column at the back, I will never understand.
Thankfully tonight at least, I didn’t have the rotund ones coming up to me complaining about the air conditioning. Actually, I prefer the Air Conditioning set a little high. It encourages people to leave the theatre when their kid is done. On previous occasions I have had a number of the “Body by McDonalds” crowd come up to me and complain about how hot it is. The air is set on 70, it’s 70 in the theatre. I’m sorry they get hot, but they are sitting in cushy chairs surrounded by their own insulation, of course they are hot. I’d trade places with them in a minute. Sit in a chair and watch some dances and not have to deal with morons wanting to talk up the lobby, or record their children because they’re too cheap to buy a DVD, or save a row of twelve seats because everyone in the family is coming to watch the kid stand dumbly on stage looking to the left where the instructor is trying to lead them through the dance.
I’ll gladly be a little warm to avoid dealing with that, but the truth is, it pays well, and I’ve become sort of an expert on dealing with dance moms and dads. There’s a fine line to walk between letting them do whatever the hell they want, and zapping them with a Taser, which some of them desperately deserve. And since I’ve spent years developing my sarcastic and smartass ways, I can often deliver my retorts in such a way that parents will come to accept I called them stupid, without whining and complaining to the dance teacher.
But, overall, the dance recital went off well for me. No one went to jail, no one got tossed out (which I was kind of looking forward to), and despite rumors of someone coming to cause “a ruckus”, no ruckus occurred. I was really looking forward to belittling some spoiled brat in the office until his parents got there, and banning him from the theatre. My daughter had a good time…and that’s what’s important. I think my mom even recorded her dance, I’ll have to check. After all, $30 is a lot to spend on a DVD.