Okay, so I don’t mean for this post to sound totally ungrateful towards our parents because yes, they most probably made our career possible – as children they spent hours of their own precious time carting us to and from our specialist classes, forking out thousands of pounds for tuition fees, new dance shoes and answering our various other strange requests. Not to mention, they are our number one fans – those flowers we received from them at our very first show, still haven’t stopped arriving at every performance we do, even now we’ve made it in to our twenties or thirties, they still keep coming.
Now, there are two types of parents in the world. First, there are the Dance Moms (yes, this is a real breed of parent) – these are the one’s that think they know everything about the industry (think being the optimum word here). NOTHING you do is ever good enough, thus, crushing your soul and actually most of the time, taking the joy out of things. They become more into pursuing a career in performing than you do! Never expect any sympathy from this type of parents – it’s just not going to happen.
Then, on the other end of the spectrum, you have the parents that know nothing at all about the way our crazy industry works, but, naturally, as caring parents who want to protect their offspring, try to get involved just as much. I think that it’s because they don’t know how it works, that they all act in a similar fashion. We know they mean well, we really do, but it can be so frustrating when they simply don’t understand – So sometimes, it’s best to keep them out of it.
- Keeping that open audition quiet
Especially for girls, the chances of getting a job at an open audition are marginally slim (roughly one 300th of a chance – especially if they are also having closed calls!) but of course you go – because it might be you this time! However, after the first few opens you go to after graduating you decide to stop telling your parents – after you began receiving good luck texts from not only them, but your entire family – all the way down to Great Aunt Sally. They don’t need to know, it’s just the daily grind to you, but to them it means you’re going to get the job of your dreams and become a big star!! Then you have to send out a family newsletter stating you didn’t get the job – and that just sucks.
- Keeping ANY audition quiet
Every time they know you have an audition, they expect a post audition debrief. You know they are sitting by the phone, anxiously awaiting your call. And telling them that you got cut after two counts of 8 is just not good enough. They demand to know HOW you could possibly be judged on two counts of eight – a question you sometimes have yourself but accept it because well, that’s the industry you’re in. They, however find it difficult to accept.
- Then come the stupid questions
When you tell them that you were cut from that one audition that you didn’t originally tell them about because of the above reasons, the following question normally arises. ‘Well, why did you get cut? Can you not ask for feedback?’ slaps hand on forehead. Yes, yes, because they are going to give individual feedback to all 400 people that they’ve seen that day. Without fail they always ask this question, no matter how many times you tell them no.
- They are blinded
Love for one’s child can often be blinding, so they simply don’t believe how anybody can be better than their baby! How could they possibly not have got that job? – They think. You’ve just stopped giving an answer now because you know that you did a damn good job in that audition but you were 2 inches too small and your hair is the wrong colour. This, something in the real world would be considered as discrimination, so to your parents it’s an unfeasible reason.
- They compare it to normal jobs
You know that if, after a few days, you don’t hear back form an audition it’s time to move on and forget about it. Yet they continue to ask ‘Have you heard back from that job yet?’ No you haven’t. ‘Well it’s totally disgusting, in any other career, after an interview they would always call for a follow up, whether you were successful or not!’ Well, this is my career, and it ain’t like that, we sigh to ourselves. (We totally agree with them because it’s incredibly frustrating, but we would NEVER say.)
- They don’t agree with the ethics of rehearsals.
Rehearsing, no matter what it’s for, is long, tiring and painful, often resulting in blood, sweat and tears – but you love it, as you know it’s all worth it in the end! Your parents on the other hand, do not – they often voice their disagreement with how hard you are worked and that it wasn’t fair that you were shouted at because your leg wasn’t high enough. Nobody shouts at their angel.
- Going home is a disaster
Why is going home a disaster? Because they try to fatten you up, that’s why! They, for some reason, must believe that you live off nothing but celery sticks and leaves when you are away from home because without fail, going home for the weekend (let alone the Christmas holidays) causes you to come waddling back, extremely rounded. The cupboards are always stocked with your favourite and tempting goodies, and your mum will always make her richest, heaviest meals – they all but shovel second helpings down your throat!
But, however annoying they can be, no matter how much they try and intervene, they are still your parents and you love them very much. They’ll be by your side whenever you need them, if it’s just for a shoulder to cry on, or someone to celebrate with – they got your back. And for that, we can forgive these slight nuisances. We are, and always will be, eternally grateful.
p.s I don’t own any of the photos used in this article!