February 26, 2008
Adel -- A kid's ego can get hurt very quickly if an adult expresses doubt about their talent, and unfortunately that happened to three young ladies recently.
The critical remark caused a parent of one of the girls to take matters into his own hands and pocketbook.
Sometimes the unfair lessons of life get corrected because of a major change. "They were told they were not good enough," says Robert Bickford whose daughter, Brittany, enjoys dancing.
A few words said by an adult that hurt feelings and tied their self-concepts of Brittany and two of her dancing buddies into knots. "It made me feel sad," says Brittany Bickford, one of the dancers.
But Robert Bickford saw more than disappointment and sadness. He saw opportunity. They needed encouragement instead of criticism for a change. "It's amazing how three young girls can operate as a team," says Robert.
Something else amazing. Robert, who drives a truck full-time and coaches the dancers part-time, had a secret. He couldn't dance.
The dancers considered his lack of dancing experience an advantage. "It kind of helps us out because he doesn't know some of the steps and we show him what they are," says Erica Giddens.
Telling Robert about the steps refreshes the dancers' minds, but there was more to it. The truck driver turned dancing coach had to learn a new language. "Just taught myself how to read the cue sheets," says Robert.
The cue sheets list the sequencing of various steps, their dance plan for each song. It sounds easy. "It was very hard to learn," says Robert.
Could a truck driver take three girls, rescue their self-images enough to dance competitively?
"I'm dedicated to them," says Robert who spent $3,500 for costumes, cue sheets and music for the dancers, known as Daddy's Pride Cloggers.
They needed to know if they had talent to win clogging competitions.
"I like entertaining especially at nursing homes. It gives them [residents] more spirit and makes them happier," says Brooke Jones.
Robert sees future opportunities. "They can get college scholarships for their dance in performing arts," says Robert.
The dancers learned their steps quickly and at their first competition won five awards and lots of bragging rights.
The awards confirmed what Robert knew weeks ago. The girls, who get a kick out of dancing, have the winning stuff.