When I had a little girl, so many people said, “Ooh a little ballerina like you” or “ah you’ll be pleased, another little dancer” truth is, I didn’t care, I was just glad to have a healthy, happy baby arrive safely into the world. Truth also was, I didn’t know what she’d become, I still don’t. Truth also also is, she can be whatever she wants, as long as she happy, kind and true to herself.

I want the best for toddler P, I want her to have all the ambition and joy in the world. But I want her choices to come from her, including what hobbies she takes up.

Dancing for me is more than a hobby, it’s part of my life, I’m part of a community, a family when I go, it’s my safe place and sometimes it’s not about the dancing, it’s about being there with people I love. It also is a big part of my career, it led me to becoming a teacher and a leader. However, it all started with some teeny tiny ballet shoes, a pink knitted cardigan and a man who became a major influence in my life and the person I’ve become, teaching me more than just how to dance.

I’ve obviously taken little P to dancing with me, she joins in her weekly Tiddly Tots class with her usual bouncy energy and enthusiasm. She squeals at the prospect of going to Aunty C’s house (the dance school) and dancing. However, my little toddler P isn’t your stereotypical dainty little princess girly dancer that you maybe picturing. She’s bolshy, cheeky and bursting with energy and sass. She’s determined and wilful and has an hilarious comedy streak and I’m just not sure she’ll take on my love of dance, who knows, it’s too early and she’s too young to tell. Plus, does it really matter?

We go weekly to do it together, she loves the place, she loves the people and is regular feature in Aunty L’s office chair, colouring in and watching with her beady eyes approvingly as customers are served. She loves being at dancing, it’s become her safe place too. So whether or not this hobby continues to develop into a strong interest, I can tell is always going to be something we can do together. She likes to be there, she’s watched me in rehearsals, she’s made friends with the people there and even has one of my fellows dancer’s little boy of similar age swooning over her to be his toddler girl friend!

It’s something for the two of us to do together, my special place has become hers. She’s become a part of it but whilst I’d adore for her to love it too, I’m not going to force her into being a participant. She may decide upon rugby, karate or fly fishing for all I know, but if she can enjoy being a part of dancing the dancing gang then I’m happy.

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