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Excited groups of kids sit cross-legged on the gymnasium floor, faces expectant as the coach gives their end of season speech. Hopeful dancers stand demurely on stage, nervously awaiting competition adjudication. Some will win, some will lose. At that moment, they await the onslaught of emotion. Will they feel happiness and pride or frustration and disappointment?

Dance bags are packed with leotards, shoes and spotless new tights, costume bags are hanging at the front door, music is triple-checked and a couple of props are safely stowed in the boot of my car. With her gorgeous wavy hair restrained in an immaculate ballet bun, and stage makeup carefully applied, my daughter is ready for her first dance of our incredibly busy weekend at Follow Your Dreams regional competition.

My daughters sashayed into their new dance studio, giggling and wide-eyed, excited to begin their new adventure. I followed, nervous smile fixed in place, uncomfortable and completely out of my depth. Visions of pointe shoes, tiaras and sparkly costumes filled my head. What is this world we’re about to enter?