Since September, Julianna has been going weekly to a ballet class. Last year we tried gymnastics with mixed results. This year, it was ballet. My wife and I essentially alternate who takes her to class. The parents all sit outside while the girls in the class “dance”. The goal is to get the class on stage for a routine at the dance school’s annual recital.
They work from September until May, once a week, to put together this routine. The routine lasts literally 45 seconds.
The recital just happened and it very well may have been the best 45 seconds of my parenting life (that’s what she said).
This was the first of what I imagine will be millions of performances my kids are part of. This was the first time either of them stood on stage, without either of their parents with them, in a costume, in front of an auditorium filled with parents, behind a curtain, in the dark, waiting for the curtain to open and the music to start.
2 weeks ago, during class in the studio, she put her costume on for the first time. All the parents were in there and we were going to do a run-through. One note in, Julianna decided that she did not want to dance in front of everyone. This didn’t bode well for the recital. This is a girl who demands that we sit on the couch in the living room while she stands on the “stage” and plays a kid-guitar and sings songs to us. She recently told me that when she grows up, she wanted to be a diva. Kidding. She actually tells us she wants to be a “Doctor for babies” but that’s for another post. Needless to say, we figured she’d love being able to stand up on a stage and perform for a large group of people. We shall see…
A few days before the recital, she had a dress rehearsal on the actual stage. Not a huge audience but she got up there on stage, hands covering ears, waving at mommy with her elbow. Then the music started and she went right into action. Didn’t miss a beat. We were hopeful. We shall see…
Day of the recital: Nerves start to kick in when we see how many people are in the lobby waiting to get in. And you should have seen Julianna. She seemed pretty calm. Her class would be up first so I didn’t need too much oxygen. We followed the extremely strict procedures and dropped her off backstage to “hang out” with her class while we went and found seats.
Finally, the lights dimmed a bit. We saw little feet scurrying under the curtain’s edge. Still hopeful…The lights went out and the curtain started to open. The next part was a bit of a blur:
I think they started pumping onion through the ventilation system. I’m not sure what was going on but I had a slightly difficult time seeing clearly. The lights came up, she immediately waved, to some stranger she assumed was us because of where they were sitting, and then the music started…
And she didn’t miss a beat.
Ear-to-ear grin the whole time.
She did the whole routine, all 45 seconds of it, with the grace and elegance of…well…of a 3 year old girl who can’t wait to get a grilled cheese after she’s finished. It was perfect. She loved it. We loved it. She loved getting flowers after. She loved her grilled cheese. She loved her costume (and didn’t want to take if off for hours). She loved being on the stage.
A star is born.