When your child is a dancing potato on Brent Street.

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“Mum I’m a dancing potato!” I turned around to see her chubby little face, eyes wide and animated, feet running far too fast for her tiny body, cannon-balling towards me.

“I’m a potato,” she stated far too loudly as she rushed into my arms in the school yard.  She was all out of breath and sweaty and so very, very excited.

“MUM!, I’m a potato! In our musical! I’m going to dance and be a potato. They chose ME!”

Ohhhh, a potato. Really?  Her eyes were so big and blue. I could tell she was ecstatic. I wondered what a dancing potato even did. I mean apart from grow in the dirt, possibly get washed and cut into bits, potatoes did jack shit. They are inanimate objects, FFS.  But hey, I wasn’t there to crush her spirit, I was her mother damn it and as her mother, she would be made to feel like the best dancing spud ever. Even if that meant I would have to encourage her to act like a root vegetable with spirit fingers. I was all about embracing the Potato.

I’ll admit though, when this happened, some years ago, I was still getting over the great Violin plucking concert of 1997.

Being the encouraging and nurturing parents that we were, we thought it was our duty to have our first child learn a musical instrument. It was my one regret, only making it to Hot Cross Buns stage on the Recorder. Meantime, my husband had learnt the Tuba as a young lad. This had enabled him to pull ALL the chicks. Wait, no it didn’t. I digress.

So we set about getting our eight-year-old at the time to learn the violin. I probably need say no more to any parent who has EVER sat through a violin plucking recital. Let’s just say we were plucked by the end of it. Plus, I fully believe in my heart, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, plucked on a 20-year-old, rarely tuned violin, may very well trigger some kind of incident where I go postal in the future. Forewarned, forearmed etc.

So, after three hours of unadulterated hell, fresh in my mind, I did wonder about sitting through four nights of the EXACT same musical in which my daughter would be dressed in a hessian sack, acting like a dancing potato. I needed not worry.  She got sick and it was a bloody excellent virus at that.


Suddenly the hessian sack, the dirt out of the garden, all that practice of not showing any facial expression and all the carefully choreographed dance moves that, in my opinion, made her look like Björk on a bender, were all for nothing. And she was gutted. Was I?  You know what, I kind of was.

Brent Street ballet girls (5 and 6 year olds)

That was meant to be her moment, no matter how small, she knew what she had to do. She had worked her way through her insecurities, had gotten her confidence, was ready to put herself out there in front of family, friends and even strangers. And now, no one was going to see it. For all we knew, she could have been the next Cate Blanchett. Who knows, perhaps Cate played a much maligned carbohydrate at some stage in her life also.

There are many times I wished I had enrolled her in a professional performing arts centre. Where perhaps they may have encouraged her potential and given her confidence to build on her inbuilt talent.  Or just had a bloody good time in the process.

Maddison did have one last  crack at acting and dancing.  Just this year, she played a gnome in her Year 7 play.  Considering she is now 5 ft 9, this may have been miscast, but geez she had a great time. And I think that’s what it’s all about.  Enjoying the arts, not being the best, just finding their tribe and doing what they enjoy. If they end up dominating, excellent. If not, who cares, at least they’ve had fun.  And by God, she was a convincing gnome, even if she was a somewhat irregularly shaped one.

Have you ever performed in a concert? Have your children? Tell us about it.

If  you live in Sydney and want to find out more about Brent Street where your children can learn to sing, dance or act,  click here for more details.  Brent Street are the most recognised and respected training ground for performing arts professionals in Sydney.

And the good news? Mamamia is sponsoring 6 places for first term at Brent Street in each age category of 4,5 and 6 years old. This competition is only open  to residents of NSW. Please click here for full terms and conditions

Your child can learn to dance. Or sing. Or both

Mamamia and Brent Street are giving a terms of lessons to two 4 year olds, two 5 year olds and two 6 year olds. We just need a few details from you

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Tags: kids
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