This was the feeling Pat and I had as we entered Devi’s preschool last Saturday. We had come to watch our princess perform her first dance recital, which was the culmination of a year of classes in ballet, tap and jazz with the Little Dancers group. Every Thursday since last September, the children have been attending one hour dance lessons during school hours, which, not surprisingly was Devi’s favorite day of the week with show-n-share-Friday’s taking a close second. After dance day, we eagerly would check Devi’s arms looking for the reward of two rubber stamps on her wrists from teacher Cat; one for having good listening ears and one for participation. Evidently, at 3, earning a stamp is not that easy of a goal to achieve, as some Thursdays Devi came home with only one stamp, and other days came home all together stamp-less, as she admitted that she just couldn’t have good listening ears or that the skill they learned was so hard that she kept “falling” down. Now I know my girl, and if “falling down” brought a laugh....it surely would occur more than once in a day....sigh.
Leading up to the recital, Teacher Cat had coached the parents to encourage our children to at least put on each costume and to encourage their dancing, but to expect that they might just stand there. We were to cheer madly for each child regardless of participation, while remaining prepared to yank them off stage if contagious crying began.
With a good understanding of our role, we made our way through a sea of tripod legs, flash attachments and camera accessories and took our seats among the other paparazzi parents seated all around, each with a Nikon, Cannon, or Panasonic pointed and at the ready.
The nine member group took us by storm! Four dances were performed, each with a costume change. All but one dancer felt compelled to dance. They all appeared to have retained some level of Teacher Cat’s tutelage AND they were smiling and enjoying it! Devi, well, not too terribly surprising, was a ham, giggling throughout each performance and giving us a narrative of what they were doing. Hilarious!
The first was a jazz tune to get limbered up. The second a ballet, performed in pink tutus with glittery foam crowns. Teacher Cat began, “Little Dancers, take first position!” Each ballerina put their heals together and pointed their toes out. Evidently, one of Devi’s feet was not cooperating, so she looked down at her feet and said, “Naughty Feet!” which sent the crowd into hysterics. Mid way through this performance, her foam crown inched down over her eyes forcing her to wander mummy-style into the audience for some assistance with repositioning. She gave a loud and audible thank you and joined back in with the group, barely missing a step. Again, leaving the audience in laughter, in spite of the more serious tone of the music.
The third number was a tap rendition of an inch worm song. Sparkling with green sequins, they manged to heal toe and shuffle their way through the song. Definite constant tap noises were heard throughout the routine, to what rhythm, I’m not quite sure.
Finally the Grand Finale!! Another jazz song, danced to a popular rock-n-roll song with scarves. Devi was all smiles until the teacher handed her the two scarves she was to use. Not pleased with the color selection she received, Devi’s strong will took hold and she chose NOT to dance this number. Instead she looked at her feet pouting throughout the routine, while the others danced around her. Remember we were prepared by Teacher Cat that they might just stand there? Well, she did, as the scarves and other dancers floated and swirled around her. It was kind of amusing.
In the end, all the children received certificates and flowers and covered their ears with their hands as we clapped and cheered. I can honestly say I have not smiled and laughed so hard in a long long time. We were so proud.