Last week was recital week. Two of our daughters performed: one danced as a butterfly and a swan, the other portrayed water on the aerial silks. (“On the what?” you ask. It was something like this.)
It was a long week – the girls were at the theater part or all of the day Tuesday through Saturday – and we’re all tired. Honestly, I was dreading all the trips to the theater and all the disruption of our usual schedule that this week involves. So I was amazed at how many of the little dancers (who, to be fair, had a shorter schedule than we did) wanted recital week to keep going after the last performance.
The week was grueling, but that meant the girls were together for hours, working towards a common purpose, as well as just spending time together while waiting their turns on stage. It was a different dynamic than our
sheltered homeschoolers are used to, but I think it was good for them. One taught her friend to knit; the other stepped up to help clean a big mess she didn’t make. All the girls worked hard, encouraged each other, and celebrated what they had made together. I have to give credit to the instructors, who made it a point to keep everyone positive, including giving younger girls “encouragement buddies” who left them kind notes during the week. That in particular meant a lot to my daughter.
Also, there were fewer squabbles in our house than any week I can remember recently. (It may catch up to us later, but it was sure nice while it lasted!)
The show itself was a beautiful mix of ballet, contemporary dance, and aerial arts. As always, the cute little ones stole the show, but the grace and skill the older students exhibited was impressive. And I have to say, it’s hard not to get excited about an art form that allows you to be both a mama penguin and the queen of the realm in the space of five minutes. Plus, there were dragons. Flying dragons. The silks quite literally add a whole new dimension to the show.
The weird part for me was that I’ve somehow become a resource mom to our friends who are newer to the program. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined myself being the one people came to for advice on how to make a ballet bun or what to do about stage makeup. It’s a far cry from my tennis and intramural flag football days.
And while I’m not quite ready to be a “backstage mom” (taming 4-year-olds is NOT my superpower) I’m settling into this dance mom thing. I can play chauffeur, man the bobby-pin station, and provide heat packs for sore feet. My girls seem to have found something they really love, ways to strengthen their bodies and their minds, and both give and receive joy and beauty.
I’ve always accepted the idea that creating art requires sacrifice. Until this week I had only applied that to myself – not my children. I understood that if I want to spend time writing, that meant sacrificing something else, whether it be recreational reading, or sewing, or house cleaning…or all three. This week our whole family, and all the families at our dance studio sacrificed so that our children could be part of something bigger – something that brought joy and beauty to our community (and even had a “moral to the story.”)
Recital week proved to me that my girls are ready to make sacrifices to bring beauty into the world. Last week that included their time, energy, and comfort, especially the comfort of their feet. Nothing earth-shattering, of course, but their willingness to put up with suffering and inconvenience for the sake of beauty gives me hope for the world they’re growing up into.