My little girl has been dancing to any rhythmic noise pretty much since she could hold her head up, case in point she would dance to the dulcet tones of my wife's breast-pump... Considering this my wife Marie took our daughter to a free taster session at a local group called diddi dance the other week... she of course loved it!
It's Maggie's birthday soon and not too long until christmas. As usual our kids play with pretty much any household items they can snaffle before most of their toys. So we said to friends and relatives that lessons/money towards that would probably be the best gift, so our friends have generously paid for diddi dance lessons until christmas.
Here's where I come in! As these lessons are on a Friday at 10 am I am the one to take her for the next 5/6 weeks. A prospect that once upon a time I would have dreaded. I can be a very anti-social creature and like to be in my comfort zone (which only includes dancing when I'm extremely drunk). I was told parents are actively encouraged to join in too!
I rushed down with very little time to spare, as it seems to take FOREVER to get ready for an outing no matter what... I was unsure as to where I had to go in, to which I maintain Marie's instructions were the problem but I may have been more focused on the "joining in" instruction I had been given. One lady who's first visit to the group approached me asking if I was here for diddi dance and we shared a nervous laugh about not knowing where to go. After a quick phone call to Marie I found the entrance and we went in.
In a kind of stale looking yet clean and fairly large community centre hall was a little table with a few promotional items on it, some hula hoops and various other items were then strewn around a table with a ghetto blaster on it. Diddi dancers were running around or huddled up to their parents and an infectiously cheery and our energetic host Holly greeted us with a beaming smile as we ambled in. I walked Maggie in and we parked the boy up to the side with his own box seat in the pram from which to observe...
It was a whirlwind from there! Warm up, gathering in circles, counting in English, French and Spanish, holding hands dancing in circles, galloping up the hall, hula hoops, pom poms and the introduction of the terms jive dance theme... The children were taught to line up at the wall, sit in a circle, wait their turn, shout, be silly and show enthusiasm. All the adults joined in with various levels of awkwardness generally fading as things moved along. Holly as an instructor was excellent, so enthusiastic and attentive with all of the children even remember all of their names!
I wanted to show our friends just how much joy that their gift had given our daughter. However, it was difficult to try and film or photograph Maggie, being well aware that I should try not to include other children in the frame and not wanting to look like a creep in a room of strangers. I did get one short video (see below).
We haven't been able to afford too many things like baby sensory, nursery or regular trips to soft play. Maggie had swimming lessons when there was an offer of £10 for 10 lessons but that's about it. At £5.50 a lesson it's not easy to afford every week, but it's absolutely worth every single penny and if you think about how much a collection of unused toys costs it's definitely affordable. I am incredibly grateful that our friends have given Maggie this gift, which she absolutely loves!
So rather than having a house full of toys that a child has little time or inclination to play with perhaps this sort of thing can be a valuable alternative to think about.