A Dance-tastic Weekend

My daughter and I had a super busy weekend, and it was all about dance. On Friday night, we went to see the Connecticut Ballet at the Bushnell. Pretty much all of Saturday was spent in dress rehearsal for Sunday’s big dance recital. My daughter was in four dances, plus the finale. And I made my dancing debut doing a father/daughter tap dance.

The ballet was excellent Friday night. They performed four pieces. One was a classic, “La Ventana Pas de Trois,” from 1854 by August Bournonville with music by Hans Christian Lumbye. In a lot of ways it was what you think of when you think of ballet, graceful and beautiful. The other three pieces were all world premiers (I guess technically they premiered a week earlier at the run’s first show, but you get it.). There was “In the Shadow of Women” by Marden Ramos with music by Kodomo, and “Trust Me If I Lie” by Aguibou Bougobali Sanou with music by Moussa Sanou, and “Now & Then” by Joseph Locarro and music by Bonnie Raitt. “In the Shadow of Women” was very modern, even futuristic. “Trust Me If I Lie” was very rhythmic. And “Now & Then” was just plain fun.

My daughter couldn’t decide if her favorite was “In the Shadow of Women” or “Now & Then.” She was totally blown away by the dancing in “In the Shadow of Women,” but she thought “Now & Then” was really funny. I was torn between the other two. We couldn’t have asked for a better night.

Our only complaint about the performance was that the audience was really small. I can’t figure out why. It is a bit pricey for a night out, but it’s only once a year. I’m surprised every parent of the hundreds of little girls taking ballet in the greater Hartford area didn’t want to go. If you’ve never been to the ballet before, it’s kind of like Cirque du Solei, except much more entertaining. The good news is that the Connecticut Ballet will be back in the Hartford area doing a free show in Elizabeth Park in the middle of July. I’d like to see a big crowd there.

Saturday was a long, but satisfying day. I only had one number to rehearse, but I volunteered to help set up. It started at 9:00 in the morning. The recital happens at a local high school, but the school’s facilities aren’t nearly big enough to accommodate the number of kids and their costume changes. So we converted the cafeteria into a giant dressing room. We hung paper over all the windows to give the kids some privacy, put a bunch of signs up, then worked on the stage from sweeping to taping. I ran home for a quick lunch, then came back for the rehearsal itself.

I was a little worried at the rehearsal. It was the first time the dads would be dancing outside of the studio. I was afraid without all of my usual visual cues, I would forget the dance. But my fears were unfounded and we got through our routine. I also got to watch the whole show, which was great because I missed most of the first act on the actual performance day.

Sunday was the big day. I was anxious all morning. My daughter was just excited. The dads all helped with taking tickets and handing out programs and things like that. That’s when I started to get really nervous. I’ve performed in front of people plenty of times, but up until now, it had always been playing a musical instrument. I always had a certain amount of confidence that I knew the instrument and I knew the music, so I never got very nervous. Sunday was dancing though. I’d never danced before in my life prior to the six months of lessons leading up to this. I was terrified. Dancing is way harder than music. As I got into my costume, all I could think about was all the ways it could go wrong. I was sweating like crazy. But, we went out there and we all remembered the routine. We mostly stayed with the music. No one fell down. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but I don’t think we embarrassed ourselves or, more importantly, our daughters. The biggest mishap was that the dad next to me had his flower fall off during the dance. There was a nice sense of relief after it was over. All the dads agreed that if our daughters will have us, we’ll do it again next year.

I was able to watch the rest of the show. My daughter did great in all of her dances. Actually all of the kids did a great job. The audience was good and supportive. All in all, it was a success.

Before I had a daughter, I never dreamed that I would have a weekend full of dancing. If you asked me then about a weekend full of dancing, I would have thought you were describing some sort of nightmare. But it was a really good weekend. I’m already looking forward to next year.

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