Monday, June 6, 2011

Ballet: A Year in Review

Author's Note: I apologize for the length, but I wanted something to look back on to remember these days. And since there are days I can't remember my own age, I can't leave it to chance.

At the end of last summer, Morgan asked if she could take ballet. So I got all the information from the local dance studio.

Despite the fact that they seemed to be pretty strict about their dress code (must be in pink leotard, pink skirt, pink tights and pink shoes – hair in tight bun with no whispies), I had heard good things about the instructors and how much fun the year-end recital is.

Morgan balked at the bun, but I assured her that a bun would keep her hair from getting tangled just as well as braids do. Because, god forbid, your hair gets tangled. Ever.

I had the choice of signing her up for the 4-5 year old class or the 5-7 year olds. Since she had never taken dance and there was a very convenient class time on my day off, I signed her up for the former.

During registration, Morgan spots a table with trophies on it and comes to the conclusion that she is going to get one, so well worth the agony of putting her hair in a bun. ($20 Registration Fee and $45/month Lessons)

Next comes a trip to Footsteps for gear and a recommendation of how to get that much hair to stay on top of her head. I discover that the manager lives two doors down from us and we have a disagreement over what style of house I live in.

“Oh, you live in the Dutch Colonial.”
“No, it’s just regular Colonial.”
“No, that’s Dutch.”
“No, I don’t think so.”

Yes, this conversation actually took place, but it was really annoying that she wouldn’t admit she was wrong. It’s not f-ing Dutch. I know what Dutch is. ($80 Leotard, tights, skirt, shoes, hairnets)

The first class was in September, and I went with the suggestion of braiding a ponytail, swirling it in a bun-like fashion, wrapping a hairnet over it several times, and then bobby pinning it. Most of the crying came at the beginning, when I was brushing it into the ponytail.

This continued every Wednesday afternoon, until last week.

Our first lesson included two other little girls. One other girl had signed up, but did not arrive. After week two went by with no sight of her, the class should have been cancelled, but our fairy godmother Miss Mary Jo decided she liked having one class with just the three of them. Bonus!

There was also the joy of getting two children motivated to get ready and in the car at 1:35 in the afternoon. Right after lunch. Right before what should be naptime for the little one. Let’s just say there was often yelling involved.

This continued every Wednesday afternoon, until last week.

Mom conversation topics during the lessons included, but were not limited to: How much our daughters hate having their hair in buns, how glad we were to be in such a small class, how much yelling it took to get them to the studio on time, how glad we were to be in such a small class, how none of our daughter’s middle names were Grace, and how glad we were to be in such a small class.

And how many times Maureen’s house suffered from natural disasters.

The first of the year started efforts towards the year-end recital, including ordering costumes. Costume prices were based on your age, so she didn’t even have them picked out yet, but we had to pay for them. And thus began the mystical force of the recital. ($66 Costume)

We are later informed that music chosen is called Breezy Blossom and the three girls will be popping up out of flower pots to start the dance.

I think we all might have cried right then; it sounded so flipping adorable.

Around spring break time the routine is getting practiced and we’re pretty sure there is no way they are going to learn this thing in time, but slowly it comes together and we get to go in and video them, so they can practice at home.

I think we all might have cried right then; it was so flipping adorable.

The e-mails start coming. Instructions, guidelines, rules, proclamations, constitutional amendments. All around this damn recital. And then they hit you.

Order your tickets - $15/each.

Order your pictures - $57 package

Order new tights - $12

Order a DVD - $45 + $8 shipping (okay, so we are totally scamming the DVD thing, but that’s between you and me)

I then realize I might have a major snag and run into the office because my daughter is convinced she’s getting a trophy at the end of this. Thankfully, she was right, so crisis averted. I could just picture myself trying to fashion a new trophy for her out of glitter and duct tape.

More proclamations accompanied by what repercussions could results from not following all the rules. Dancers - not getting to perform. Parents - getting kicked out of the theater.

It’s finally the day of dress rehearsal. “Don’t forget to buy a show t-shirt.” Oh, no. No way. I have spent way too much on this extravaganza. Wait, those shirts say “Cast” across the back and every single flipping girls’ name is on it. ($20 T-shirt)

Rehearsal went well. The girls were so excited and they did a great job for only getting to run through the routine one time. They behaved like angels. (Of course hair was put in buns hours ago, so that doesn’t count.)

I gave Morgan her t-shirt as a surprise to wear to the show; packed a bag with paper, crayons, card games and blue eye shadow; dropped Zoe off with Uncle Phil and Aunt Michelle; and we actually arrived right on time. ($3 Program)

End result: Priceless
(This is only the dress rehearsel, because if we recorded during the actual show our hands would have been chopped off.)

Despite the fact that she loved classes and the recital and her trophy, Morgan has informed me that she does not want to take ballet next year. Huh?

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