This week marks the beginning of school holidays in most states around Australia, but for a select group of parents, there will be another important date circled on the calendar this month – the mid-year dance concert.
Whether you’ve been dreading attempting (and failing) to create the perfect bun all year, or looking forward to seeing your little ballerina take the stage, there’s no denying this time of year can be stressful.
Listen: It takes a village to raise the child of a ballerina.
But it’s not just the preparation and backstage antics that can be cause for tension – what you do while you’re sitting in the audience watching the performance can also lead to headaches later on.
That’s why we at Mamamia have compiled a few handy hints – an etiquette guide of sorts – to make it through your child’s dance concert without a single judging stare.
1. Don’t leave after your child has performed.
It can be tempting to bolt out of there the second little Jane or Johnny has left the stage. After all, depending on their age and experience level, you could have been waiting more than an hour for them to perform for all of five minutes. This is where we urge you to stop, stay seated and think about your fellow mums and dads. You’re all in the trenches together – best to stick it out until after the final bows.
2. Don’t sit there on your phone.
As we’ve mentioned, there’s a good chance your kid is not going to be on stage for long, and for the other 115 minutes you might be (to put it frankly) bored out of your mind. Resist the urge to pick up your phone to amuse yourself. Your fellow audience members will notice and will not appreciate the glow of your phone or the buzz of messages as they try to watch their kids perform. You’re also running the risk of having your head down at the wrong moment and missing the start of your child’s appearance.
3. Don't try to take pictures with iPads.
Just because iPads have a camera, does not mean they're appropriate for taking photos in packed theatres or concert halls. We've all sat behind someone as they rise their big and clunky iPad (often with a cover hanging down) above their head and try to take a photo - obstructing everyone's view in the process.
The dancing school has most likely organised a professional to film the whole thing. So, you can watch your child with your eyes and not through a camera lens and still know a video (that you will realistically never re-watch) is being captured.
4. Don't go to the bathroom outside of intermission.
Try to think of this concert not as the wholly amateur performance that it is, and behave just like you would if you'd paid $90 a pop to see the Russian ballet perform Swan Lake. You wouldn't rush out to pee or grab a coffee in the middle of professionals performing - and it's really best not to at your kid's concert either.
5. Don't talk - especially about other children.
Talking, even whispering, can be rude and distracting for fellow parents no matter what you're discussing - but if it happens to be their child's lack of coordination you can bet they'll be more than a little ticked off. You never know who's sitting behind you. So, play it safe a just zip it until you're inside your car and on your way home thanking your lucky stars it's all over - for another few months at least.
Note: the author is not a dance mum, but she has sat through more of her little sister's dance concerts and eisteddfods than she can count. And loved every second of it, honestly she did.