Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dance, Dance, Dance

Friday night was S's first (and likely, last) dance recital. She took a combo class this fall at the community center. Her teacher was my first dance teacher, Miss N. Miss N is old school - literally. Her techniques are strict and disciplined - only pink tights and black leotards - no colors, no tutus - hair pulled back. She has to be 90 years old (she was at least 50 when I started taking from her in 1980), but commands respect and obedience from toddlers better than I do. One day when I dropped S off, I told her to have fun. Miss N said, "We don't have fun. We learn, and we enjoy it, but we're not here to have fun."

S started out in the 3-4 year old class since she'd never danced before, but moved up to the 5-6 year olds after a couple of weeks. In the first class, the tap dance they learned was to "Ellie the Elf." When she moved up, she learned "Spunky the Monkey." I was excited because that was a number my sister did when we were little. Not that she remembers it since she's blocked our entire childhood out of her head - our 72-year-old dad remembers it, but not her.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I told her she could either do dance lessons again after the session ended or do something else. She said, "M (a boy in her kindergarten class) plays football, baseball and basketball. Why can't I do all of those?" I said, "You can, baby, but football season's almost over, and baseball won't start til next spring. You can play basketball if you'd like, or soccer or karate or dance. We just can't afford for you to do more than one right now." She decided to sign up for soccer. I asked her if she was sure she didn't want to do dance again. She said, "No, that's ok. I already know how. I don't need to take classes anymore." Glad to hear you've mastered it in 12 weeks, babe. I'll wait for Joffrey to call...

Of course, I didn't explain that soccer wouldn't start right away, so that Saturday when I told her it was time to get ready for dance class, she said she didn't have it since she was going to start soccer. I told her she still had a couple of weeks left as well as her recital. She said she didn't want to go anymore. I told her she didn't have to take dance again, but she did have to finish the session and do the show since Miss N. had already gotten her a costume. She still didn't want to go. I told her we finish what we start, and if she didn't, she wouldn't get to do soccer or any other activities. She finally got ready and went to class. And enjoyed it. Then she said she wanted to do dance for the next session instead. Sigh...

Anyway, Friday night, we hurried home, ate some pizza and headed to the community center. I asked her if she was nervous. She said she was, and I told her that was normal, but everything would be ok. She was excited, too, and couldn't wait to get there. On the way, she said her stomach hurt. She thought she'd eaten too fast. Crap. We got there and got her dressed in her white turtleneck and gold lame, sequin-lined skirt. I put a bit of blush on her cheeks and a dab of lipstick on her mouth and pinned the gold sequin headband in her hair. It was very surreal to be the mom instead of the child. I had flashbacks of my mom putting makeup on me, curling my hair, heading backstage. I hated the primping but loved the dancing, and she was so patient with me.

My parents and DH's dad joined us in the third row. I said to my dad, "Too bad Tippin's isn't around anymore." Almost every year after my dance recital, we went to Tippin's with at least one other family from the dance studio.

I thought S's class was going to be the third number, but they were the third from last. Luckily, they went on just as I thought I was going to lose Baby R to the inevitable boredom and have to remove her from the area.

When they first went on stage. S looked terrified. My poor baby had stage fright! No wonder her tummy hurt. After the first line of the song, she saw us, smiled and waved. Then she was ok. Afterwards, she told me she was scared, but once she saw daddy, she was ok. I told her she was very brave and did a great job.

We may not have had Tippin's that night, but we did celebrate by going to get yogurt. It was lots of fun, and I hope she remembers it fondly.
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