I admit it: When it comes to dance recitals, I am Scrooge. My daughter recently participated in her fourth recital, which left me wondering, once again, why do we need dance recitals?
Perhaps for the photo ops? I grant you, the four-year-olds in sixty-five dollar tutus are darling, especially when they are balancing on one pink-slippered foot, wobbling and staring at the audience like drugged flamingos. And, I admire like heck the blond cherub who discovered that she could multi-task by picking her nose at the same time.
I’ve got a sense of humor. Until it’s about my kid.
This fall, I took Mommy ‘N Me Tap with my eight-year-old. There were four of us until the word “recital” was uttered, whereupon our ranks dwindled to two. Since this was to be a kids-only recital (the instructor being wise enough not to even broach the idea of mothers squeezing into sequined leotards), my daughter was faced with the option of performing a solo or forgoing the performance altogether and simply dancing in class for the love of it. She chose to perform.
“Really?!” exclaimed the thrilled dance teacher. “Great! You’ll be the only solo.”
“Really?” worried I, the disbelieving mother who remembered that one year ago my daughter was so shy she could barely walk into this dance studio. “A solo. Honey, are you sure? You don’t have to. You know, this semester you could dance just for the love of it.”
My child looked at me as if I were reading aloud from The Iliad. “Huh?”
In one year, she had been fully indoctrinated in the recital culture. If you dance, you perform. You, the child, spend weeks on one routine while the parents spend more on your costume, tights, shoes, hair ornaments, flowers, group photo and DVD than they will spend on holiday presents for the entire family. Bah humbug.
Okay, she wanted to do it ,so we did it. I checked in with her a few times during rehearsals:
“Are you sure? A solo. I know it’ll be fun, but it’s also okay to dance just for the joy—“
“Mom, stop. I want to do the recital.”
Despite our rotten finances, I shelled out the costume money. And, I must admit that as we drew closer and closer to D-day I began to marvel that my once excruciatingly shy daughter had blossomed so beautifully. And then, three days before the big day, she asked this innocent question:
“Mom, what’s a solo?”
Oh, crimeny. Continue reading