However, a New Year brings new beginnings and after my wife successfully secured (captured? grabbed? ensnared?!) Sophie’s attention with Strictly Come Dancing, last week saw myself and my little girl foxtrotting down to a toddler dance session at a local high school.
I’m supportive of course. Sophie is always asking us to dance with her, usually bouncing her up and down and swinging her arms from side to side although occasionally channelling our inner Craig Revel-Horwood and doing lifts and twists.
This seemed like the perfect way to get her dance fix and give me some weekend exercise too.
The session itself was tucked away in the top corner of the high school’s sports hall complex. I was out of breath before I even got there after we parked on the wrong side of the school and rushed across to make it in time.
Sophie was very excited. We’d decided not to dress in her too fancy clothing (don’t want to look too keen at the first class) and when we got there, the lady in charge greeted us warmly. She reassured me that sometimes little ones find the first few classes a bit intimidating and warm up by about week 3 so not to be put off if that happened.
To be honest, Sophie spotted the floor-to-ceiling mirrors and was off, charging round the room, a look of sheer exhilaration on her face.
So much for not feeling at home!
There were about 25 children there – Sophie was bang in the middle of the age range – and it was all about cutting shapes, wiggling our limbs (steady) and busting moves to the music.
Most of you will know my dance floor moves rarely stray from gentle swaying and feet tapping, but at least I could be excused for pulling out some Dad dancing!
In theory, we were learning the Charleston although it says more about me than my daughter when I was having to concentrate at full capacity to follow the example and try to model it to Sophie. She was far too concerned with tearing round and doing her own interpretations than watching what the dance tutor was doing.
There were times when she was watching carefully and lifting her hands on the right time or stamping her feet. She’s definitely got rhythm. It’s just that she prefers to create her own moves and would much prefer people to copy her instead.
To end the session, Sophie was given an array of tap sticks (little beaters which she proceeded to watch methodically on the floor), a hula hoop to create a splashing puddle and a twirling ribbon to tickle Daddy’s toes with. She loooved them – although giving them out took longer than the time they got to play with them!
Finally, after a whirlwind hour, time was up and exhausted parents and hyped-up toddlers could disappear for a snack, a drink and back home. Sophie was so tired she went straight to bed and slept for two hours with an early nap rather than have a lunch.
Sounds like my kind of class.