Tapping, twirling and tipsy granny: the dance recital ritual.
Ahhhh, dance recital season. It’s a phenomenon in and of itself. After all the months of chauffeuring the little ones to lessons and costume fittings, portrait sessions and final practices, the big day arrives. The payoff. The showcase of all of the children’s efforts, in a splendid, splashy spectacle for all to enjoy.
As the little ones are backstage being adorned with ribbons, bows, sequins and sparkles, faces illuminated with bright eye shadow and blushes, amidst the distinctive aroma of clouds of hair spray, their families eagerly gather in the auditorium.
And they spread out purses and jackets and programs and congratulatory floral bouquets to reserve entire rows of seats for grandma and grandpa, aunts and uncles, siblings and cousins and a myriad of friends. Fun stuff.
What follows is a three to four hour marathon of dancers, performing solos and in groups, tapping and twirling, twisting and flipping, as the crowds cheer and applaud wildly (albeit as the event progresses, somewhat wearily.)
Each year brings with it a special cast of characters with standout performances, many of which are unscripted though not entirely unexpected.
Recently, I was among the grandmothers who partook of the annual ritual. And while I thoroughly enjoyed the display of talents, there were a few lagniappe moments worthy of special recognition. Though these individuals were the cast of this particular recital, I suspect many are somewhat universal in nature.
And so, herein I present my personal Dance Recital Shout-outs:
To the parents of the toddler who turned her back to the audience, stuck her fingers in her ears and stood still as others danced, I hope you recognize that your daughter’s moment was one of the highlights of the evening.
That was more precious than words can describe. And ditto to the parents of the child who opted not to spin her little shopping cart as choreographed, but chose instead to roll her cart across the stage and back, pretty much marching to the beat of her own drummer, prompting some of the best laughs and smiles of the evening.
To the many young women and men who shared their talents on that stage, thank you. Though your levels of talent may vary, and each of you is a star in your family’s eyes. The tenacity and spirit you have displayed through your efforts were a joy to watch. Bravo.
To the mom whose shrill shrieks were alternated with loud screaming of your daughter’s name for every.single.one of her dances, clearly you are quite proud of your daughter.
But there were 15 or so other dancers on the stage, too. It would have been nice for their parents and all others in attendance to hear the music that accompanied the choreography. On a personal note, I do hope the hearing in my right ear returns soon.
To the drunken granny, who wobbled your way to the stage front every time your pride and joy was dancing, what the heck were you thinking?
While you took great care to balance your beer on the stage stairs with one hand, while holding onto the stage with the other (so as to prevent falling over,) it’s safe to say we all know your granddaughter’s name, as you yelled—rather, slurred–it repeatedly throughout the dance, and crept along the stage till you were front and center, recording it. I’m sure your grandchild fondly will recall such every time she watches the DVD of the recital, as will all her friends. And the many other parents whose investment in their little ones’ performances would have been a bit nicer had you been able to refrain from overindulging in alcohol at this family event. While your rather ungraceful moments were captured on my camera as I attempted to photograph the dancers, it has taken remarkable restraint to not post such online. Please do yourself and your grandchild a favor and stay home next time if you cannot refrain from drinking for a few hours and just enjoy your little one’s performance.
Which brings me to the last comment in this rather verbose post:
To the dance instructors: While I recognize that dance lessons and recitals are big business, here’s a little food for thought.
I would like to think that the revenue you have generated from the many dance lessons, costumes, recital fees, ad and program sales, ticket sales, concessions and photographers’commissions should suffice without the need for the additional funding via the sale of alcoholic beverages at a family event. Because some people, like drunken granny, can ruin precious moments for those who have remained appropriately sober and who have invested a great deal of time and expense in being part of this special day. I encourage you to reconsider this policy, especially after watching tipsy granny, center stage, on the recital DVD. I have a feeling I’m not alone in this thinking.
See you next year.