- OnStage New Zealand Columnist
It was a diverse group of dedicated parents and children but they all had one thing in common – dance.
Coming from a variety of careers in the rural sector, teacher, journalist, engineer, caterer; these parents went that extra mile (literally) to ensure their children danced.
This wasn’t a group of supporters of the arts. None of them were standouts on the dance floor.
It was never about that.
The fundamental belief that a dance experience would enhance the development of their children amongst the sport, the music, the speech lessons, the chores and school. They believed it was important.
They were right.
This was a group of Ballroom and Latin American enthusiasts. The parents took turns at the 320km (200 miles) return trip for weekly and at times twice weekly lessons. It was a 6-hour mission on a Friday afternoon and included feeding the troop.
Additionally there were 1000km round trips to competitions and the flights to compete further afield. Time and money squeezed out of already busy life styles but for an important purpose.
Funding the shoes, the costumes, the travel and lessons was difficult to say the least but this group of focussed parents found a way. Amidst their fulltime jobs they fundraised. They ran dinner-theatre evenings cooking, acting, decorating and cleaning up. They put their hand up for local grants and community support. They got it.
So what was the point?
Was there a point?
The experience of competing, the discipline, the creative experience, interacting with others, the posture, the strength, the confidence; all great skills learned for life.
Today any of them can jump up at a social gathering and jive, waltz, samba or foxtrot with the best of them. One continues to be highly placed as a competitive dancer. One choreographs.
But it was more than that. The confidence and exposure to so many life skills is immeasurable.
Now adults they are making a success from their lives and are all over the globe; the nurse in London, the builder in NZ, the newly graduated teacher, the postie, the business graduate, the principal of a school in China and the Traffic Manager.
All have the memories and unique valuable skills from a time gone by that lives with them today.
Dance. It’s worth it.