First you have to believe that it’s possible. Can a person of color become a professional dancer? These diversity dance picture books plant the seed … but not for my kids.
I could never coax my girls into dancing. My oldest did one year at the Boston Ballet School when she was four. I was thrilled. She seemed really great at it. I envisioned her gliding gracefully into years of ballet culminating in a small part in the Nutcracker. Instead, her ballet shoes got a tad small with just two classes to go before the summer break. I let her just dance in them. She promptly quit after that, saying that ballet hurt her feet.
Grasshopper and Sensei’s first ballet class at Boston Ballet School.
I tried again when we moved to the suburbs. The ballet class included tutus, stuffed bears, sunglasses and a juice box break. “Open like a birdie,” they’d tell the kids before popping the straw into their mouths so the juice box wouldn’t spill. Neither the tutus nor the stuffed animals tempted my girls away from the wall where they stood and watched for over an hour each week. They would only participate for the juice box.
PickyKidPix messing around with a tutu that came in the mail with a picture book. She pairs it with her soccer uniform.
Even though my kids don’t dance, I’ve tried to include a picture book about dancing with reference to their Korean, Chinese and Japanese heritage. Who knew that this would prove to be so challenging? Did you know that modern gymnastics that you see in the Olympics has its roots in classical Chinese dance?!
It’s interesting that there are a plethora of ninja themed picture books but nary a ballet one with an Asian American character. Not even a minor one. It’s as if Asian American children don’t dance at all.
How about you? Do your kids like to dance or just read about dancing? My kids like watching kids dance as well via reality TV shows. Is there a better dance picture book about Asian culture that you like? Please share! Thanks! Read more…