Monday, April 25, 2016

Another Dance Year

Today was the last day of class for the 2015-16 dance year, our last Monday afternoon and evening at the dance studio.  Next week they'll practice on the big stage, and the big day is next Saturday.  Hannah Kate is very excited about the recital this year and can't wait to take the stage for her 5-year solo.  Ellie claims excitement.  But I still have no idea how her first year on stage is going to look.  I don't even think she knows!

Last week was parent observation and awards week.  Both of my girls received awards, Ellie for her first year of dance and Hannah Kate for her fifth year of dance.
We watched Ellie's class first.  This was the third time this year I had the opportunity to observe her class (parents are not allowed in class).  The first time was at parent observation week in November.  She stood on her number and DID NOT MOVE.  She didn't dance.  She didn't twirl.  She didn't do first position.  Nothing.  She managed to trot a little and do "sugars" (just don't ask) once she got her tap shoes on, but that was it.  Her teachers were so surprised.  They said she always danced in class and really wasn't shy about dancing.  I was surprised, too.  All she did was dance around the house, and she knew by heart all of her positions.  The second time I observed her was the day we tried on costumes.  That was at the end of January.  We got to watch the last few minutes of class.  That time she didn't even stand on her number.  Instead she ran to my lap and started crying!  Of all things!  Her teachers were shocked, and so was I.  

I mean, she had just been so excited to try on her costumes.  And she was always talking about dance, always dancing.  Her teachers said she always participates in class and knows all of the dance moves.  I never expected that to be her reaction.  She has definitely been the most outgoing out of all my children at the age of three.  Even from the first day, she walked into class all by herself and didn't "need" me to take her.  Hannah Kate cried the first three weeks of class because I wasn't in there with her, and no one expected her to dance on the big stage because she was so shy.  But she surprised us all, and she did it!  So Ellie would be the one I expected to totally DOMINATE that stage come recital day.  

But by February, I'd begun to doubt that and began preparing myself to be the parent of the child who either stands on stage crying or refuses to go out there in the first place!  Because picture day was in February.  And it was a near disaster!  We actually had to be at the studio three different times across a five-hour span to get all of our class and individual and family pictures made.  Ellie's class was first that morning.  We woke up, ate breakfast, and then she and I left to have her class picture taken.  I'd already decided I wasn't going to have her individual picture taken at that time but that we would do that when we went back later for Hannah Kate's pictures.  Ellie was so excited to get dressed up in her costume and wear make-up for the first time.  I dressed her when we got to the studio and put on a little make-up.  It came time for her class to line up and head upstairs for their picture.  The moms followed along behind her class.  I already knew it.  As soon as I got up there, she was already BAWLING.  She ran over to me, and I knew it was over.  I didn't even try.  I was walking out with her when one of the teachers came over, took her from me and told me to leave.  I have no idea what happened after that, but I was told that she was, indeed, in her class picture and did, indeed, smile.  I'll believe it when I see it.  Because this is what dance picture day was like:

We came home, and I pulled out all of our dance programs from the last four years worth of recitals.  I showed her all of Abbie's and Hannah Kate's dance pictures.  And then I told her that if she wanted her picture in the dance program like Abbie and Hannah Kate that she better stop crying and smile!  When we went back later that day for her individual picture, I took reinforcements with me.  I really should've gotten a "behind the scenes" picture because it was pretty priceless.  Hannah Kate, Abbie and Aunt Ashley were all behind the photographer cheering her on and making funny faces and being all kinds of crazy.  And we finally got our pictures!  But I NEVER in a million years expected that to happen on picture day either!

Needless to say, I didn't have my hopes up for last week's observation.  I was expecting more of the same.  We really tried to build her up for it, and her Daddy even came.  I love many things about dance, but one of them is this cute little bun.  She melts my heart.  

And . . . much to our surprise and delight, she danced!  Her tap dance is Stayin Alive.  I died!  It's just the cutest thing.  

After they danced, they got their awards.  In true Ellie fashion (meaning you just never know what you're going to get with her!), she CRAWLED (yes, on the floor) over to her teachers when they called her name.  And then she wouldn't even look up at them!

Miss Jade asked for a hug.  And this is what she got.
And here she is with Miss Victoria and Miss Jade, her dance teachers this year.  Aren't they just the most darling things?!
And then it was Hannah Kate's turn.  I know it's not her most favorite thing in the world, but I love watching Miss Katherine warm the girls up.  I'm really impressed with Hannah Kate's improvement this year.  Her balance has really come a long way, and she can also do a real split now!

Hannah Kate, of course, did a really great job!  Again this year she is expected to perform her dances on stage without the help of her teachers in the wings.  I think she's ready!  Here she is with Miss Katherine, her ballet teacher, and Miss Jade, her jazz teacher.
Miss Briana, her tap teacher, promised the girls they could dance with sunglasses at the end of class if they remembered their recital dance.  Needless to say, they must've really wanted to dance with those shades and enjoyed every minute of it!  Miss Briana is a lot of fun.  And, y'all, I promise she's still eight years old!

Here's Hannah Kate with Miss Briana.
And, just like that, we are now celebrating the end of another dance year and looking forward to another recital (two of them actually since Ellie and Hannah Kate aren't even in the same recital this year!).  I'm holding out hope that Ellie will dance.  I've also decided I probably won't make it through Hannah Kate's solo without a tear or two.  Or three or four.

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