On one hand, dance really isn’t your thing – especially ballet with its dainty, princessy-pink vibe.
On the other hand, your five-year old daughter is standing in front of you, clutching her ballet
slippers, overjoyed at the prospect of twirling around a dance studio. And you think, “Shouldn’t I
be steering my daughter away from that sort of stereotype?” Then her younger brother asks to
go to dance class, too. Are you ready to explain that to your friends?
But here’s the thing – as a parent, you have probably been fostering a love of dance in your child
for years. How many Disney movie musicals have you watched together? How many shows like
Sesame Street Live or Scooby Doo on Ice have you attended together? They all involve some
form of dance, and you were instrumental in creating that experience. Children who have dads
involved in all facets of their lives are generally healthier, better in school, and happier.
Another goal of good parenting is to find activities that empower your child. A great way to do
this is to engage in opportunities that promote physical strength and mental acuity. Of course,
none of this applies when your kid is flitting around a dance studio on their tippy toes. Or does
Dance should be right up there next to baseball, basketball, or soccer. All are athletic, require
discipline and hard work, and are great at channeling your child’s boundless energy. But dance
checks the one box where organized sports might fall short. In some instances, the pressures of
participating in team sports might be too much for a shy or self-conscious child. Dance could be
an alternative solution, one that can inspire confidence and self-awareness.
Now, let’s take this all one step further. Check out the 2019 Ad Council campaign
#DanceLikeaDad, co-sponsored by The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’
Administration for Children and Families (ACF), along with the National Responsible Fatherhood
Clearinghouse. In a series of public service advertisements, dads and their kids share moments
by dancing together. What could be easier and more delightful!
So, have your child show you their latest hip-hop moves, perform some pirouettes, or tap out
the intricacies of a triple time step. Then you “bust a move” of your own. You will find these
playful moments are priceless in cultivating a strong father-child relationship.
…and maybe also, check out my book at www.lillynilly.com
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Written by Nancy Paris

Author Nancy Paris is an alumna of The Juilliard School and has performed professionally across the U.S. and Canada. As a dancemaker, she has choreographed industrials and private events in New York City, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Palm Springs, and Puerto Rico. Most of the incidents in her stories are based on personal experience, with the names changed to protect the innocent. Paris lives in Manhattan with her husband, Charles Yurick, and loves writing and drawing because she can do it sitting down! Pardon My French is the first of at least three books in The Adventures of Lilly Nilly series.

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