Hi, my name is Cory and I am a dance dad.

I recently added this special title to my short list of nicknames (the other two are IronDAD and Hi-C…a self-proclaimed basketball nickname from the 6th grade because I had mad hops, LOL). The “dance dad” title came in 2011 when my then three-year old daughter began taking ballet at a local dance company. As you can see, the title has been around for a few years now, but THIS year is the year that I am happy to scream it from the mountaintops. Not that I was not happy to wear the title proudly in previous years…it has just been a growth process for me. A process of struggling to understand something that is foreign to me. Something that I am not extremely comfortable doing and something that I was not necessarily good at.

I have a degree in Musical Theatre. With a degree in something like that, it is hard to believe that I would type the sentence that I did at the end of the prior paragraph, but it is true. I just don’t get a great deal of joy out of choreographed dancing. I will dance at weddings and with my wife. I am not talking about that. I am talking about blocked movement involving knowledge of dance technique. You see, I made it through college dance classes, wore my dance belt (think jock strap for dancing, ouch!) and got to dance with some pretty beautiful women along the way (my future wife included). But I knew that with me not liking this particular portion of musical theatre that I would always have a certain struggle in this profession. All that being said, this post is not about me…it’s about her…that little three year old angel that I refer to publicly as my number two lady in this world (my wife being number one). See, being a dance dad is about her, not me.

I grew up playing sports like baseball and basketball. My first sport was soccer and then tee ball, followed by little league baseball and eventually basketball. These are the sports that I just naturally loved and I had a desire to emulate my heroes like Michael Jordan and Bo Jackson. I loved playing on a team and working together to get the win. I loved receiving a trophy, even though everyone got one just for participating, and I loved having my mom watch me play. The crazy thing about dance, which I have come to realize, is that all the hours in the studio and all the aspects of show (like makeup, costumes, and did I mention the MANY hours at the studio?!) that confused me before, incorporate all if not more of the benefits of my childhood sports.  My daughter is an athlete! She loves dancing as much as I loved sports. She works with her fellow dancers (or her team) to create a beautiful masterpiece that is choreographed by her teacher (or coach if you prefer). They compete against other teams and wear their team colors and go for the win at competitions…just like I did at games! There is travel involved, but I did that too when I played sports. IT’S ALL THE SAME! All of my worries about her having a proper childhood and her being well-rounded are just figments of my imagination. This is her life. She LOVES doing it and I can get behind that. Yes it is expensive and yes I have to do a lot of driving and waiting, but what sport do you know that does not require any of those?

And before you go thinking dance is just a woman’s sport, I am proud to say that our son will begin taking some classes to see if it interests him as well…gender stereotypes can take a backseat. My kids love to dance. And I am happy to support them in every way possible! So as one of my girl’s favorite songs says, “shut up and DANCE with me!”

Expect more from me on this (including a video of me dancing with my girl) very soon, but for now, as promised, here are three reasons why being a dance dad is awesome:

1. You Will Always Have Someone To Dance With – My girl would literally dance with me every single night. Her love tank (5 Love Languages Reference) is filled to the brim when I dance with her. She likes to pretend that we are ballroom dancers and loves it when I dip her, even though she is a good two feet shorter than me. I can’t wait for her to be old enough to see Dirty Dancing with Patrick and Jennifer…she is going to have me doing that “running start, hold her over my head” move over and over again.

2. You Will Beam With Pride – Sometimes it’s hard to get on board with ANY activity that you do not understand. But I promise you that will all change the first time you see your child doing what they love. Why? Because you don’t care about your own, or anyone else’s preconceived notions…you care about them…and nothing is more manly than that.

Check out this dad breaking it down with his girl:

He even made it on national television:

3. You Are Supporting Something That Matters – Dance is an art form and don’t get me started on how much the arts enrich our kids’ lives! In short, I will just say that the arts matter…not just for them but for your entire community. The arts are the truest form of human expression and dance is raw emotion on stage. Truly talented dancers tell a story with their movements. Their bodies represent all of humanity as they flow seamlessly through several, perfectly planned movements to take you on an emotional journey…whether that journey be happy, sad, silly or even angry.

Do you know any dance dads out there who share my thoughts or are on a  similar journey? If so, please feel free to forward on to them. As you can imagine, I would have loved to have heard from a fellow dad on this subject over the last few years. Click below to share!

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Lean Green DAD™

Cory is a husband, father of three and vegan athlete. His blog, Lean Green DAD™, is a lifestyle blog about food, family and fun that helps passionate people, mostly parents, who have over-scheduled, busy lives maintain a healthy balance of plant-based nutrition, fitness and overall wellness.
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