Tiny Dancer

Last year my daughter took her first dance class. It was a tap and ballet class after school for an hour one day a week. Most of the girls in her grade were in the class so it was an easy sell at first. Then she realized it involved work. My daughter is a little like me, she does not like to overexert herself or sweat. She took a soccer conditioning class a few years ago that had her ready to file a child endangerment claim against me. She literally sat down in the middle of the field several times because she was too hot from running around for two minutes. She raised her hand every time the coach asked if someone wanted to sit out for a stretch. She even raised her hand a few times while she was already sitting out! I suspect her time in dance class was similar.

I was not surprised by her lackluster reaction to her after school activity. What I was surprised by was her reaction when the time for her recital came along. She developed a minor case of stage fright. This was shocking to me since my kid will literally push people out of the way to get in a photograph or video. She is one of those rare children who is comfortable speaking to a large group of people of any age. She thrives on attention. So for her to be experiencing an aversion to being on stage with hundreds of eyes on her was a new experience for all of us. After several weeks of coaxing, she finally relented and gave a stunning performance. At the end of the recital I asked her if it was as scary as she thought it would be and she exclaimed “No! It was fun!”

When the time came to sign up for dance class this year, I guessed there was a 50/50 chance that she would want to sign up. At first she declined but after a reminder that she got to wear make-up, she very enthusiastically agreed to take another year of tap and ballet. She was clearly getting better this time around too. When she came home and demonstrated what she had learned, I could actually differentiate between the tap and the ballet. She danced around the kitchen singing her recital songs under her breath for weeks before the recital this time. She was clearly excited having long-outgrown her stage fright.

Preparing for the big recital






The afternoon of the recital was spent primping and preparing. It took me three tries to get her bun done properly since she was moving around like she had ants in her leotard. After seeing that I had not painted her face like a 1950’s pin-up girl she took matters into her own hands. After she put on her body’s weight in eye shadow and powder, and I wiped off half of it, we were off to the big dance.

One of the great things about having your child in a small school is that the performances are short and you don’t have to wait long to see your kid on stage. It also helps when the man in charge is a musician who has traveled the world touring. He runs a tight ship and keeps things moving along. This night was no exception. My daughter came strolling out onstage after approximately seven minutes for her first number. My mother, who was sitting next to me, asked where Riley was onstage and I almost laughed as I said “second from the right”. I wanted to say “the only one doing jazz hands throughout the whole dance!” Once the routine was complete all of the dancers quickly exited the stage. All except my daughter who strolled off at a leisurely pace while waving to her fans. I’m glad she is over that stage fright!

Her ballet routine was at the end of the recital, or twenty minutes later. She was no less energetic for this dance. She had replaced the jazz hands with a pouty “ballet” face as she directed the girls around her when they weren’t moving quickly enough for her. At the end of this number she actually stopped before walking off the stage to wave to her friends in the audience. I’m surprised she didn’t stop and wait for someone to throw roses up onstage for her.

Sadly, at the end of the performance our little star didn’t even get a single flower. Her parents are kind of buffoons who drop the ball on that kind of stuff a lot. Luckily our little Diana Vishneva didn’t seem to notice. She was distracted by the promise of frozen yogurt from Grandma and Grandpa. Saved by sugar yet again!