Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dancing Girls #2

I need to make a slight correction to yesterday's post -- part of the reason Rosie stopped taking ballet was that she hated pointe. Not that I can blame her; toe shoes look lovely, but have you ever tried a pair? Hard and uncomfortable! And Rosie was just a little too early for the technological breakthrough that made Maggie's life easier -- gel pads. Arwen and Rosie had to struggle with itchy, fluffy lambswool to protect their toes. Maggie got gel pads!

Which was a good thing, or she might not have any toes left! When she won that scholarship, we were excited. We thought that meant she got a class free. Boy were we wrong -- it was a full year's FREE RIDE; all the classes she wanted, and nothing to pay but costume fees. So for her junior year she wound up taking ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, a solo class, Irish (hard and soft shoe), and a special sisters deal where Arwen and Rosie came home from college once a month to do a class with her. (Of course they paid for their share in the class -- Arwen was married by then.) And also the thing that made the whole thing a pain: dance team.

Although "our" dancing school had not had a competitive team while Arwen and Rosie were there, the owners had decided/(felt pressured by the other dance schools in town?) to start competitive teams for all ages. They had done OK, but most of the older girls had decided the team competitions took too much time from the rest of their lives. (This was a school where dance was about having fun.) But since Maggie had the scholarship, and was now one of the "older girls", it was made clear that she really should be on the competitive team. Which had a lot of meets. On Sundays. All over the map. The worst weekend was the one where Maggie and I attended Katie's confirmation at 5 PM on a Saturday, got in the car and drove for six hours, checked into our hotel after midnight, and were up again by six to be at the competition site before seven for "floor time". She competed all day, (four dances including her solo), hung around for the awards (not optional), got back in the car at 9PM, and drove home. Fortunately, Maggie could sleep in the car, as she had school the next day. But since I was driving, I very carefully nursed a Mountain Dew all the way home, knowing I wouldn't sleep when I got there because I am extremely caffeine sensitive. And I didn't make pit stops; there's something about a slightly overfull bladder that's helpful for keeping awake on the freeway at 2 AM!

So despite choosing dance to avoid Sunday conflicts, we spent a year dealing with them. It wasn't a bad year; at the recital that spring it was fun to have a daughter in practically every other dance. Katie was also in the Irish classes, plus tap. And it was nice to see Arwen and Rosie performing one more time. Maggie had fun, I know, although due to a problem with scheduling the order of dances in the recital, she had two back-to-back. The school owner/emcee wound up in front of the curtain making some kind of announcement while four of us were (barely) backstage changing Maggie's costume from hard shoe Irish to jazz, and telling her to breathe. Thank God for black leotards that can go under everything, and convertible tights!

Maggie took fewer classes her senior year (definitely quitting the competitive team!), but was at the school almost as much, since she paid for some of the classes by teaching beginners. Her final recital was bittersweet; the era of the dancing girls was almost over. And although Katie took lessons for another year, she was so busy with her other interests that she missed a lot of classes, and and we jointly decided not to sign her up again. When I called the school owner [who had been a student, the daughter of a teacher, from back when we started at the school] to tell her that, we both cried. Twenty years is a lot of history!

So the era of the dancing girls came to an end. I'm hoping that someday my granddaughters will dance, so that I can go to recitals without any responsibilities, but since Arwen's Camilla is my only one so far, and she's not walking yet, I guess I have a while to wait!

Note to Anthony: I really wouldn't mind if my grandSONS danced too. The athleticism of Irish is NOT effeminate! :-D , and you know I love you!

1 comment:

Jen said...

You should post some Dancing Girls pictures! I always love to see all the costumes.