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Yes, she danced

April 22nd, 2005 · 4 Comments

Saturday night [April 16] my daughter danced on stage in a sold-out show at the Bainbridge Playhouse. In her lavender leotard, Abigail was one of many participating in her ballet studio’s first recital.

This was the first time Ted and I sat in the audience and watched one of our children perform. We homeschool and try to keep our schedule simple, enrolling our kids in few activities. The recital was optional and Abigail decided she wanted to participate. So it was a strange experience to leave her backstage, adorned with costume and cosmetics, and take our seats in the theater, waiting for her performance.

I don’t know who was more nervous: my daughter or her mother. What would she do on stage? Would she remember her steps? Would she dance? What would the group do?

Her class of six and seven year olds was welcomed into the theater with gasps – not the audible nerves of parents like myself but the delighted coos of audience members commenting on the girls’ cuteness. They were the youngest ones in the recital and although I don’t think of my oldest daughter as little, it was easy to see in comparison to the accomplished students how young they were. And as an audience member, not as a mom critiquing my work with hair and makeup, I could see they were cute too. Their choreography was challenging but they all did well, turning with their partners together in time to the music. How fun to look and see my daughter smiling and spinning on the stage with her friends!

The community aspect of the recital was also fun. It was great to be greeted at the door by Philippe who is a Bainbridge blogger and father of dancers. I enjoyed spending part of an afternoon selling cookies for the performance. Although we parents often maintain our own orbits and distances, appearing in the studio only when it is time to drive our daughters again, I enjoyed spending time working together with other mothers to help benefit the studio.

Due to my mistakes – or my mothering -, I don’t have any pictures of Abigail dancing on stage. The opportunity to take photographs happened at the dress rehearsal. But I was so excited for Abigail that once she came on stage with her ensemble, even for the rehearsal, I forgot about the camera, enchanted, watching to see what would happen. I had to apologize to her later and I’m grateful she forgave me. Now I understand what happened to Ted in the delivery room. When Michaela and Elisabeth were born, he too forgot about taking pictures, so involved and excited was he.

But I do have a couple pictures I’d like to share from the rest of the recital, taken at the dress rehearsal. I was amazed to see what the other students are accomplishing. I only know what the six and seven year olds can do.

One of my favorite pieces was Almost Nirvana in which senior Lindy Piehl danced with a ribbon, forming elegant lines and movements to Coldplay’s song Clocks


The dancer spun the ribbon around her, creating a romantic and enchanting scene. As the song played, the ribbon turned into spinning circles, like clocks turning through time. I confess I was partial to the turquoise lights and dress as well as the music but I think the silvery rotating ribbon and Lindy mesmerized many. Almost Nirvana was an exercise in physics and an example of beauty and mastery, nearly nirvana indeed.

Another fun piece happened to Napoleon Dynamite’s “Whatever I feel like” soundbite, followed by the song “I Want Candy”. The Gears group, which encourages creative movement and fun, immersed themselves in bright costumes, becoming animated faceless figures bouncing a baseball, with the help of their teacher, Guy Sidora, like a scene from a cartoon come alive.


After this piece in the dress rehearsal, my four year old Michaela proclaimed “That was fabulous!”

Our two year old came home from the performance talking about being a tummy dancer. Yes, the studio has belly dancers.

Abigail, after the dress rehearsal said Now everyone knows who I am because I’ve been on stage

No, I wanted to correct her. Everyone knows who you are when you have a blog!

Our dancing daughter went to her bed that night (after her bath to remove the layers of hair gel!) bouncing about in excitement spelling b-a-l-l-e-t.

I don’t know if Abigail will become a ballerina. From statistics it’s clear that odds are against her. But I’m glad she likes to dance. I want her to dream. I’m happy to see her happy. I’m glad to see the ways she is learning and growing through the experiences. I see also that I am learning and growing through my own fears and feelings as she dances. As a ballet mommy, I am becoming more grateful for the gifts my daughters are.

Yes, she danced. My daughter danced on stage. And something inside me danced with her too.

Tags: family

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kai Jones // Apr 22, 2005 at 10:55 am

    I want for my children (and myself) the freedom to pursue pleasure in the use of our talents and skills even if we’re not good enough to “be a ballet dancer” by which you mean a professional. She is a ballet dancer, right now, after all.

  • 2 Katherine // Apr 22, 2005 at 8:21 pm

    I much prefer to immerse myself and enjoy the moment fully (rather than take pictures), so I can completely identify with your not getting any photos. You’ve got it burned into your memory now.

  • 3 Julie // Apr 25, 2005 at 8:11 am

    Thanks, Kai, for your correction. 🙂

    Thanks, Katherine, for your confirmation.

  • 4 Kristin // Jun 5, 2005 at 6:23 pm

    Hi Julie, my name is Kristin, I am Lindy Piehl’s mom. I’m sure we must have bumped into each other at dress rehearsal or performance and I’m certain I’ve heard your name before (homeschooling circles, maybe?)

    I stumbled upon your blog and saw Lindy’s name. Just between you and me, I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate someone ‘getting’ her piece. She’s a deeply thoughtful girl but often not well understood. You understood her through her movement and that brings me to tears. It doesn’t matter how old kids get–once a mama, always a mama 🙂

    Thank you. Happy dancing!

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