At the start of April, Sophie was scheduled to start her first Beginning Ballet class. We had hesitated in signing her up for things like this as she is very stubborn and does not do well with change, so there’s always a risk she will just reject new activities. However, one of her friends was also enrolling so we thought it was worth trying. Shortly after, we received word that this would transition to an online platform and we really did not know how this would go. However, Sophie has a love of fashion and, being the beneficiary of having two older cousins, has inherited some very cute ballet outfits – this was our in.
When the first day of class arrived, she was dressed and ready to go. She was hesitant and reluctant but willing to try – and she loved it! Now four weeks into class she is so excited about it, often sharing her dance moves with her friends (and some of my colleagues) on Facetime and Zoom. Her teacher has casual dance parties during the week to supplement classes on Saturday mornings. It’s become a point of excitement for her in the course of her week, providing her with a place to be expressive, creative, joyful, and energetic, while serving as a constant from week-to-week in this swirling cluster of time that can feel so amorphous.
We still stress the importance of Sophie’s developing literacy in advance of her entrance to kindergarten and keeping up with Max’s reading and writing development – while also trying to both do our jobs to their fullest – I also recognise that the amount of space we’ve carved out for the arts has done a lot to infuse and motivate our collective energy in everything we are doing as a family.
As a musician (bassoonist) and Arts Administrator, Director of Juilliard’s summer and visiting artist programmes with Nord Anglia Education, I have lived my life knowing the inherent value of the arts, yet finding time, space, and energy to bring the arts into our rapidly developing and evolving classroom/office/home was, at first, challenging. My wife is not a musician and at times was not completely on the same page, as is often the case with parenting decisions for us all. However, despite the challenges to carve out this space, we both now see that the benefits continue to be reaped with each day, each song, each scale practiced.
I am glad that we have figured out how to make this all work. The arts continue to allow us all to detach and explore in a way that infuses us with joy, achievement, and energy to tackle all the rest.