Soccer Mom? Meet, The Dance Team Dad.

By David Nellis

While my pals here at ROI are blogging about exciting and exotic artistic endeavors or trips to South Africa, my latest, breaking news is more homegrown.

Having been married probably more times than Mickey Rooney, I have a basketful of kids ranging in ages from 31 down to 12 – four boys and a girl. And while my boys all are exceptional in more than many ways and deserve some blog-focus at some point (as do my amazing wife and my two, delicious grandkids) it’s that last, direct descendant who is the focus of this piece.  

Her name is Tessa, she’s 12.5 years old (in her world, that .5 means everything!) and, along with being totally awesome in every way that awesome is measured and an across-the-board, “A” student (Anyone who knows me knows that her brains and study habits clearly can directly from her mom!), she also is a kick-ass, hip hop dancer and part of a traveling competitive dance group.

“Traveling” is exactly what we do many weekends between January and May each year during the dance season or, as I like to call it, “hell!” Mostly it involves setting up camp in cavernous venues as far away as Philly and Ocean City, so that she and her team can participate in marathon, sometimes two-day events where maybe as many as 1,000 kids ages 5 to 17 (99% of whom are girls) gather to go at each other in dance mode. “Marathon” is the proper way to describe these events because, while each dance routine itself only lasts 2:45 minutes, we nonetheless  are required to get to these affairs many hours earlier than the actual performance, and then have to stay and vegetate for many more hours, until all the dancing is done and the judges award all the trophies and stuff to the divisional and overall winners. 

Anyway, despite the fact that I’ll be a captive audience in the OC Convention Center for much of the weekend, I’m also looking forward to eating bad food (Who doesn’t love Thrashers’ fries?) , reuniting with the ocean again after a six-plus month hiatus and schlepping up and down the beach and the boardwalk, despite what are likely to be howling winds, chilling temps and several doses of rain.

And, in the end, it’s all worth it, because Tess’s team is well-coached, the girls all are really talented dancers who love what they’re doing and… they regularly wipe the floor with the competition.

So, it’s all good.

You’re welcome for this little glimpse into to my exotic life as a Washington “A” Lister!

UPDATE:  Last weekend Tessa’s team emerge victorious, defeating nine other teams in their division. Here’s the victory vid! Pretty proud of her – Enjoy!