Monday, March 26, 2007

So you think you can dance

Yeah if you are Papoosie Girl! Yesterday Papoosie Girl had her dance recital at the lovely Rose Theatre. She started classes in September and practiced every week at class and at home. She danced to a song called Johnny Angel and of course they all looked like little angels.

When she started dance classes at three and a half through our local Parks and Recreation program she was in the non-recital type of "kinderdance" where they did not have a formal recital. They performed for the parents on the last day in the classroom. They showcased their soldier marches and fairy skips and it was oh so adorable. She did this type of program for two years. Last year she decided she wanted to dance on a stage for "real" people. She was finally old enough to try one of the "Try It" classes and she choose Beginner Jazz. She performed at a local theatre (the recital moved to a bigger theatre this year) and thirteen of us clapped until it hurt. She loved it and a star was born. I must say I am most impressed with our local Parks and Rec programs. I have tried just about every preschool class, swimming and now dance classes. When we first looked at private swimming and dance classes they were nearly three times the cost. I would always encourage everyone to try your local classes out, we have been pleasantly surprised.

Papoosie Girl loves music and since we bought her a small boom box for her room (a decision I might regret later) she loves taking my CD's up to her room to dance and prance around with her sister. Despite her love of music and considerable practice the last few years she still seems to lack, um, rhythm. Hubby tries valiantly with songs like, We are Family, to get her to feel the beat and clap in turn. While she has energy and lots of exuberance she lacks the ability to pick up the beat sometimes. Rosebud on the other hand has an incredible sense of rhythm and can clap to the beat quite well. If she would just poop in the potty she could take dance herself! We are hopeful by sign-up in September that little problem is resolved. I myself wouldn't exactly be called a dancer either and I think Papoosie Girl takes after me. Hubby on the other hand has benefited from all the Greek folk-dancing classes he took as a child, he can also read music and has played several instruments. My only memory from my clarinet days in Grade 6 was the teacher asking me (at the end of the test) if I knew what these were - he was pointing at the rests in the music.

So Papoosie Girl may lack the God given talent to keep the beat, who cares. She loves to dance at home and at her class. Many of her pretend games involve her dancing with her sister and I could not be more thrilled. When something as simple as a song and a dance skirt can make her so happy why would I care that she is a little off-step? Next September she wants to try Beginner Acro where they combine jazz with some basic acrobatic steps. Since she has never tried gymnastics I am not sure she will be able to do all the moves, but who am I to say no. Dance class has given her a wonderful sense of accomplishment, a healthy dose of self confidence and gets her moving. Not once did she say she was nervous about the recital.

Is she ever going to appear on So you think you can dance? I doubt it. A show, for the record, I had never heard of until my 25 year brother joked about it at the recital. I don't care if she spends the rest of her days jumping around her bedroom and the rest of the house shaking our walls. She loves music and dancing and her willingness to get out there and do it are inspiring. I have toyed with idea of signing up for the Hawaiian Dance class for adults for years, I think this might be the year.

There really are no words to properly explain the joy Papoosie Girl gets from dancing, her entire body is an instrument. While I have never been a country music listener there is a song by Lee Ann Womack called I Hope You Dance that somehow pops into my head sometimes watching her dance.

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance....I hope you dance.

I hope that you get a chance to dance too, I hope we all do.

Photo Comment:
Yes, she is wearing make-up in the photo. Part of performing in a theatre recital program is wearing make-up to the recital. If you don't want your child to wear any you need to make some special arrangements. It is so you can see their faces under the bright stage lights, in the professional photos and the video. Last year I was all set to jump on my high-horse and protest "they are children!" and spew all kinds of beauty pageant stuff, but I didn't . She wore a bit of make-up for three hours and we washed it off. This is the professional shot of Papoosie Girl from the class. It is strange to see her with a "done-up" face and Hubby was really put off I must say. In the end it is make-up not pole dancing and she wore it for a few hours at her recital and we washed it away. In the end I was fine with that. Please know she would never, ever do this for any other reason. There are a lot people who would disagree with this and that is fine. Just setting the record straight. I have had to eat a few bowls of crow in the last few years, applying a bit of make-up to my 6 year old was certainly a healthy portion. At the end of the day she had a fantastic experience and loves dancing with or without make-up. I think I have said enough.


Haley-O said...

Oh, I love that song -- I Hope You Dance -- how perfect for Papoosie Girl! She's adorable! Her rhythm may come yet! :)

Mimi said...

Another touching post, a real tribute to your elder, I think.

And! I'm interested in your note at the end. Huh. There's a theater in my work building, and from April through June it's nonstop dance competitions, and I have to say I have been absolutely APPALLED at teh outfits, the makeup, the behaviour, the stage mothers, all day long and all on school days. Teeny tiny PVC outfits with bustiers and fishnets and false eyelashes. Like a cross between Britney Spears and Liza Minelli in Cabaret, and everyone the height of my elbow.


But the rec program sounds really nice and non competitive and her outfit seems age appropriate and not costing hundreds of dollars and a little bit of makeup never killed anyone.

I expect to eat a lot of crow in the coming years too. I'll keep you posted ...

Beck said...

There is the line I will cross with my daughters - yes, the eldest may wear lip gloss in her class play; no, she may not wear a halter top and dance to "Like a virgin". It's a subtle line but it's there.
I can't dance at all. And I love to dance. It's very sad.

Mad Hatter said...

Nothing brings me joy like watching my little no-rhythm, white girl dance. Is there an human act more closely aligned with joy? I don't think so.

I loved this post and I love that picture, stage make-up and all.

Omaha Mama said...

You know, I didn't even notice the make-up! Isn't it weird how we have the need to put a disclaimer, to ward off any unsolicited judgment? I do it all the time! I seriously think there's a difference between a little make-up for a dance recital and what goes on at those baby beauty pageants. Way different! Here, I just noticed a beautiful little girl with such a sparkling smile!

We start dance classes this spring. We had promised our little girl she could do it when she was potty-trained fully (which has been way over a year ago) but decided to wait until she got through her first year of preschool. I'm excited now, after reading your post. Can't wait to see my little one dance!

Alpha DogMa said...

I agree with Omaha Mama - your average recreational class dance recital is tame compared to the child beauty pagents. Especially when the girls are seven and have veneers sized for an adult. Scary shit.

Okay, I'm not kidding. You have the female versions of my sons. Exactly. Elder Boy is all energy and passion and no rhythm (like me) while the Younger One has natural ablities and loves to perform. We're talking about moving to a town with a theatre program because he's announced he wants to be an actor - AAAAAAAAHHHHHH!? He's only 3!

I don't judge the make up thing at all. Now - if you'd stuffed falsies in her top in an attempt to sway the judges and/or secure an agent, I might have a few more questions.

Oh, The Joys said...

What a sweet post. When she reads it later she will love it.

Jenifer said...

Relief! To know no one thinks bad thoughts about the make-up. I was seriously worried no one would understand, but of course you do! You are all so kind.

Haley-I'm really need to see the video footage...

Mimi-Yikes!! This was a recital NOT a competition in any way and is so not like what you describe. There are some competitive dance troupes in the Parks and Rec program and we did see the tap group at our recital, but they still looked nothing like what you described. These recitals are purely for the enjoyment of the kids and parents, nothing more. They all wave at their parents, miss their steps, and we all love it just like that. I could never put my child in anything like the competitions you mentioned. No thanks. The costume is actually their dance "uniform" which is white tights, the black gymnastic slipper and black bodysuit - then they add a skirt over it and in this case a neck tie and hair tie. Last year's was fairly similar, it is always something that works off the original uniform, or so it seems. Actually, now that I think about one group danced in cute pj's to a song called "Pajama Party" at any rate no fishnets! So so wrong on little kids. Ew.

Beck-Yup. There is a line and I am ok with how I "crossed" it too. A bit of lipstick, blush and eye shadow was fine for this one single occasion and it was applied so lightly...still make-up though.

Mad-Our girls are related.

Omaha Mama-Yes, the disclaimer! Really I am not a bad Mom! Or worse, one of THOSE Mom's. It is sad I would be worried enough to add that all in. The dancing is so fun and the recitals are priceless. Trust me spend the $20 and buy the DVD it is worth every penny.

AD-So we will be in-laws one day? Oh. Maybe not people don't like people like them self do they? I am hopeful that Papoosie Girl will one day find her groove, but at the moment Rosebud appears to be our future contestant. I was worried what you would think about the make-up...glad you understand. The falsies, they would be on me!

Joy-Thank you, that means a lot. I sometimes wonder about how it all sounds to someone besides me.

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