The geekdaughter made her stage debut last weekend. She started attending ballet classes in September, and this was her first ever dance school show. Dance was a big part of my childhood – I had ballet and tap lessons from the age of 4 until I left home to go to University at 18 – and the annual dance show was a big part of that, so it felt like a rite of passage to take my daughter to perform in her first show.
She’d been asking to learn ballet for quite a few months before I agreed to let her sign up. I wanted to be sure that it was something she was really interested in and not just me pushing her towards what I did as a child. She kept asking, and appeared to be serious, so I did a little bit of research into what classes were available in the area, and picked a dance school that looked good in a nearby village. It’s the first activity that the geekdaughter has ever done where I don’t have to stay with her for the class. There is a waiting area at the studio with sofas to sit on, but you don’t watch what the kids are doing. For her first class I was allowed to go into the studio and watch if I wanted to – I chose to watch half the lesson, and then sit outside for the rest of it so that she got used to me not being there. Since then I just drop her off and the geekson and I go and have coffee (me) and milk (him) with my Mum, who conveniently lives just around the corner from the studio, whilst we wait. It’s a good arrangement.
Since Christmas the dance school has been preparing for the show. The geekdaughter told me that her class would be dancing to “Under The Sea” from The Little Mermaid, and she’d often put that track on her iPad and dance along to it. She seemed very excited, especially as she would be performing on a stage for the first time. The week before last she had a rehearsal at the venue, which seemed to go well, and then last weekend was the actual show.
I cannot fault the planning and work that must have gone on behind the scenes of this show. For both the rehearsal and the show days there was a timetable issued with dropoff times for all the kids. We simply had to drop the geekdaughter at the stage door at the allotted time and the backstage team took care of the rest. There were a total of three performances, but the younger children only did the two matinees, and the very youngest children, like the geekdaughter, were split across the two matinees so they only performed once. The nice thing about this was that I could take the geekdaughter to watch the Saturday matinee so that she could see the whole show before performing on the Sunday. I remember when I used to perform in dance shows we would be able to sneak around the back of the audience and watch the dances we weren’t in ourselves, but in this case all the kids were kept backstage for the duration of the show so couldn’t watch it.
She was as good as gold when we watched the show together. It held her attention for the entire duration (which was quite long as there were a lot of classes to showcase!). The first half of the show was all the ballet classes, the second half showcased the musical theatre, jazz, tap and contemporary classes. I found myself getting quite emotional in places – sitting with my little girl watching a dance show, it was lovely!
Then on the Sunday we were back at the theatre again, this time the whole family were out in force – the geekdaddy, both Grandmas, myself, the geekson and a friend who was staying with us. We had front row seats. Given that I had already seen the show I was on standby to take the geekson out if he got fidgety or disturbed the rest of the audience – we were counting on him being OK until the geekdaughter’s dance as she was in the second dance of the show. He actually coped really well, and we didn’t need to take him out at all. There were a few comedy moments – like him announcing in a loud voice when the lights went down at the end of every dance “it’s dark Mummy”, closely followed by “shall we have another song?”. Best of all was the moment in the second half when he announced in a particularly quiet part of the programme “I’ve just done a trumpy trump!”*. This made the geekdaddy and I giggle, so he repeated it 2 or 3 times more for maximum effect.
And as for the geekdaughter? Well, she did really well, and I managed to not cry when she was on stage. She looked very cute in her little tutu, and didn’t seem too overwhelmed by the large stage and audience. She tells me she really enjoyed it and can’t wait to do it again. I wonder if her future shows will be less emotional for me. I think perhaps not!
(*) In case it’s an unfamiliar word to you, “trump” is what we use in our family to describe passing wind…
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