What do sequins, French braids and lipstick have in common? No, not Vegas and Little House on the Prairie, silly…dance recitals! When I was three, or somewhere near there, my parents bribed me into potty training with dance lessons. I started dancing: tap, ballet…and with each successive June came the thrill of the dance recital. Lights! Costumes! Stage makeup that would turn a seven year old into a street-walker! I danced for 16 years, and then taught dance for another decade after that. Year after year, June after June, came the promise of more sequins, more hairspray and bobby pins, and more face time on the stages all over Kansas City for me.
Last night I attended my niece’s dance recital. It was also the 60th (yes, SIXTIETH) recital for my former dance teacher. Sixty years. Imagine that. How many hundreds, if not thousands of little girls and boys that woman has made an impression on in six decades? I digress. I sat watching the show and it occurred to me that I should first apologize to my friends and family who had to endure the HOURS long performances of my yearly dance recitals. There comes a point as a teacher where you should maybe consider not including every single dance you ever choreographed. I’m just saying, it could probably shorten the length of the recital by maybe three hours.
Watching those girls on stage reminded me that there’s always a bossy one in every group. And it starts early. You know which one I mean: the one who looks at the little girl next to her who isn’t paying attention and pushes her or shakes her finger at her. Oh, you just wait – she’s going to be the prom queen, the captain of the Cheerios. I don’t know why, but recitals bring social hierarchies to mind for me. Also? If you are on stage in a sparkling get-up complete with a feathery headdress? You might want to consider your motivation. Really. I am totally all about adults dancing. It’s a great workout and I miss it so much that I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t considered going back. But dancing on stage next to teenagers in a gaudy costume? I just think it’s weird.
My niece Olivia was the bright shining star of the show. I know I’m biased, but that child has natural talent and it was honestly a joy to watch her. She made all the other stuff tolerable and that is saying a lot. A friend of mine suggested earlier today that the Pentagon ought to look into considering dance recitals as a form of torture, and I’m thinking she has a good point. I’m off to write my congressman.