Friday, June 29, 2012

Tiny Dancer

Last Saturday was the all-important first dance recital. Mia took her first tap class this year, and although this was not her first dance class, it was her first recital, since last year she was the flower girl in my brother's wedding. (If you have been reading for awhile you may remember my learning curve from last year when Mia took her pre-ballet class so you may possibly understand my concern for getting it right.)

{Here's my tiny dancer all prepped for her dress rehearsal.}

I had a lot of anxiety about the recital. For one thing, I had been warned by Mia's friend's mom that her friend had spent the past two recitals crying in the back room the entire time. See, we had to drop her off and she wasn't allowed to sit with us. (I can't remember whether or not she could sit with us if we bought her a ticket or not... I guess I could check the recital handbook, which was several pages long. No joke. I was already kind of annoyed about having to buy tickets for Brett and myself for $13 apiece.) And although her dance was the second to last performance of this recital (It was the Saturday matinee and the third of four recitals.), I didn't want to take her at intermission because I feared that we wouldn't get decent seats, (after paying for seats it's general admission) and if we couldn't see her, what was the point? If you are sensing that I am frustrated by how BIG of deal all of this is, you are right.

Getting her ready was stressful. The handbook said that buns were required. Considering Mia's recent self-haircut and my general lack of hairstyling skills, this was no easy feat. I used a lot of bobby pins and hairspray, which are both foreign objects to my five year old. This was after getting her into her outfit (thankfully, we didn't snag the tights) and trying not to think about how I hoped she didn't have to use the bathroom at all since I didn't want a stranger helping her in and out of the costume, especially considering she couldn't wear underwear with the costume. After a reasonably successful bun was formed, I had to place her little "pillbox" type hair accessory, and make sure that it was stay (it had come loose during the mandatory dress rehearsal and so I had to try to fix it as best I could before they were put in silly poses for a required group professional photo following the rehearsal. Is it just me, or would it make more sense to take pictures before they dance?)

{This is the bun and "pillbox" before dress rehearsal. I made sure that "pillbox" went around the bun for recital since that is how the other girls were wearing it.}

Next came makeup. Oh boy, was this something I fretted over. I wanted to make sure she had enough to fit in (since after dress rehearsal I worried that I hadn't used enough), but not so much that she looked like a clown. There were a couple of disasters involving mascara and eye liner (both were removed before I did too much damage), and I wondered how in the world those pageant moms on "Toddlers and Tiaras" do this to their kids all the time. In the end, I thought she looked very pretty with foundation, blush, lavender eye shadow, and lipstick. Brett laughed at me before we left because I was trying to make the lipstick as perfect as I could (even knowing that it would likely be gone by the time she went on stage and there was no way of knowing if anyone was going to touch it up for her). "No, do a bigger kissy face," I told her. It is difficult to apply lipstick to her tiny lips.

{Makeup may be a new thing for this girl, but glamour poses are not!}

I dropped her off 20 minutes before 1:00 showtime. She seemed fine with being left since she saw a couple of friends from her class. I mentioned to one of the mom volunteers that it was her first time in hopes that she would help her if needed. She had her backpack with extra makeup, water bottle, doodle pad, crayons, coloring book, a book about dance, and some forbidden snacks. (Hey, it was going to be a long time and I didn't want her to get cranky from hunger so I packed pretzels and a Fruit Roll-Up, which were the least messy things I could find in the pantry. It turned out that she and her friend were told they couldn't eat, but she said they ate as much as they could before getting caught.)
{The end pose of "High Hopes" is the second cutest part of the dance routine. Everyone loves when the girls all stomp their feet in unison to the part about not being able to "make that ram scram."}

This was a loooooooooong show. Counting the 15 minute intermission, it ran 3 1/2 hours. It probably could have been trimmed down significantly if they had skipped the musical theater numbers (all of the songs from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" and then "Grease" in the second half) and that's not counting all of the filler skits (so that the older girls could change costumes approximately 20 times because obviously they need to perform ALL of their numbers for ALL of the four recitals. Grrrrr.) I had no idea that they did all of that. Plus after Mia's number, there was a large group performance of "Thriller" followed by company bows, which took awhile. Poor Logan crawled from Brett's lap to Grandma and Grandpa to me over and over and played with the contents of my purse. The only good thing was that we didn't need to buy a ticket for him because he is still 2. I was mentally crossing my fingers that he didn't lose that purple ticket that they told me I would need to get Mia at the end.... surely, they weren't complete sticklers about that? And then about a quarter of the way through the first half he started asking at the end of each number, "Done now?" (And he didn't do this quietly.) Thankfully, the people around us thought it was cute and even told me so at intermission. Brett took him out and bought him snacks from their concession stand (Cheetos and Oreos) and took him outside for as long as possible. I was truly shocked that it was enough to get him through the recital.

We were all hot and tired by the end. Poor Mia was actually rubbing her eyes during her 2 minute stage debut, tap dancing to "High Hopes," and obviously looking adorable (if slightly unsure of all the moves). Brett pointed out that all the kids in her age group needed to do was walk on stage and the audience let out a collective "awwwwww." Any dancing they did was just icing on the cake. My face was actually tired from smiling while the little ones danced (that and the special needs classes; they were probably the biggest hits of the show). I still can't get over the fact that she had to go last. Who expects a bunch of 4-6 year olds to wait that long? Apparently, the dance studio does. They must have been oblivious to the fact that these kids should be their crowd-pleasing bread and butter, not those high school girls that they felt the need to show off repeatedly.

Finally, it was over and I was anxious to retrieve her from the band room. I tried to go through the nearest door, which I had used to take her backstage at dress rehearsal along with many other moms, but it was blocked by a large man dressed as a zombie (remember "Thriller" was the finale?) who informed me that he wasn't allowed to let anyone through. Not one to argue with the undead, I got into the massive group that was shuffling toward the main exit. Brett told me not to worry; we'd get her soon. I ran into Mia's friend's mom in the hallway and told her I wasn't sure where the end of the "line" was. It was really just a traffic jam of moms waiting to pick up their kids. She suggested that I stay with her, so I did. Then, once I gave someone my ticket it seemed to take too long for them to bring Mia to me. I could see her lined up in the adjacent hallway but I couldn't have her, which was nerve-racking. Eventually, someone brought her to me, explaining that her ID tag on the back of her costume had been hidden by her backpack so it took longer to locate her. Just when I thought the stress was over, she walked out into the crowd, took it all in, and immediately asked me if I had flowers for her.

Um, no, I didn't realize that we had to buy our kids flowers. I thought the gift was a year worth of dance classes. Silly me. And Brett had spent our money on overpriced junk food. Thank goodness for Grandma. She quickly went and bought Mia a bouquet of brightly dyed Gerbera daisies (which are in a vase of purple water right now, even though I have changed that water). That did the trick. She was happy again and let us take a couple of pictures that she had refused prior to getting her flowers. She commented that a few other kids were getting gifts, but thankfully, she didn't make an issue of that. She did complain that she had to "be in that room for hours," and I couldn't blame her. It was definitely an experience. Now we know what to expect, and we can hopefully plan better for next year. She says she can't wait to take tap again, and that tells me that it was all worth it.

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