parenting black prima ballerinas extracurricular activity

From Extracurricular to Black Prima Ballerina?

Posted on Posted in Blog, Extracurricular Parenting, Parenting's Not Easy

From Extracurricular to Black Prima Ballerina?

Do you remember the first time you dressed your little one in their tutu? Or laced up their miniature sized ballet shoes?  What will become of this was my first thought.  With my oldest daughter, and now my youngest, I can’t help but think: maybe she’ll be a prima ballerina, performing amid those in awe of her talent… why not?  I say if you’re going to put time into taking a child to and from lessons and rehearsal, buy all the necessary equipment (and some unnecessary stuff too) then why not take at least one moment to dream big?
It’s nice to think about the fact that perhaps my daughter could one day be the next Debbie Allen, Misty Copeland or Aesha Ash .  Isn't that a part of why parents sign their children up for extracurricular activities – for the possibilities?  It is true that more and more parents are investing money into their children through extracurricular and cognitive activities.  They too recognize the possibilities of promoting:
  • Social skills
  • Cooperation/teamwork
  • Positive investments in schooling
  • Self-esteem
  • Understanding how to rise to a challenge
  • Understanding dedication to a long term commitment
The possibility of promoting positive qualities aside, I also believe in the possibility of seeing any of my children shine at something they love and do well.  I am no fool; I know that any extracurricular activity comes with a long-shot to the ‘big leagues’.  For instance, the youngest will more than likely get the positive qualities mentioned above; unfortunately she is less likely to find herself dancing for a major company or dance theater.  In fact, even today it is extremely rare to spot an African American prima ballerinaResearch suggests that white ballerinas, more than African American tend to:
  • Receive increased classroom attention
  • Be privy to presumptions of success
Other African American ballerinas (past and present) have expressed the same sentiment.   
My youngest is only five.  Her ballet shoes are still mini, as well as her ballet dreams.  She’s just having fun, enjoying something to do one evening out of the week.  She doesn't know the challenges that may await her if she does ever decide to take the prima ballerina route.  Even still until she decides she wants to become a prima ballerina, I’ll hold onto her big dreams, until she can carry them herself.

Is your child signed up for an extracurricular activity where they are the ‘only’ one?

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