I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Monday, November 28, 2011

That Dance Show

This past weekend was DD2's dance recital. I'd like to carry on about how horribly cruel it is to make parents sit through 3.5 hours of dancing, but The Neighbour's Wife took care of that one for me. Instead I'm going to ask the question: Is the 3.5 hours about what the kids want, or what the parents demand?

My daughter was in 8 different dance pieces - and there were *46* pieces all up in this one concert. Yes, she does 3 sorts of dance (ballet, jazz, tap)...but I've got to be honest with you, I would have been quite happy to have seen her in only 3 pieces and that's it. DD2 told me that some girls were in as many as 13 dances. Let's digest that for a second here - we're asking a 10 year old kid to perform in THIRTEEN dance pieces. Ridiculous! Who is it that wants to see so many, and who is it that is demanding so many in the first place? I adore my DD and I'm proud of her achievements, but for me her dancing is much more about fitness, confidence and fun than it is about some overblown performance at the end of the year.  I simply don't understand the logic behind this - which again makes me ask, is this about the KID or is this about the PARENT? My own kid, who feels that dancing is a vital part of her very survival, was herself pretty stressed out about all those costume changes and how much she had to remember. She too was asking why she needed to do SO many of them, and unfortunately I had no (reasonable, without curse words) answer for her.

I imagine the owner of the dance school feels the pressure to give parents what they pay for, and at something like $1500 a year (I'm including shoes, etc in that), and ferrying your kid to class twice a week for weeks on end...you're going to want to have something to show for it. I understand that. I also understand that the owner is trying to keep stage mothers happy by showing off Little Ballerina A LOT...but 3.5 hours of ANYTHING involving children is just ridiculous. Yes, I want my child to perform, but NO I don't need it to be the dance equivalent of War & Peace.

At the end of the performance, the owner gave out some awards - and by some, I mean TOO DAMN MANY. Literally I think it was 40 of them (out of about 100 kids. You do the math,) and a bunch of them were for 'encouragement' and (my personal fave) 'enthusiasm.' I understand she wants to honour these kids and their achievements...but I'm not sure how honourable it is to say that, "this award is being given to the child who has not only been blessed with a dancer's body, but also has the enthusiasm and potential to go really far in her dance career." Fabulous, I think girls don't get enough negative body images, let's now give AWARDS for it as well.  I also do not understand how valuable it is for either the parent or the child to realise that they're exactly as enthusiastic as the 30 other kids who got the same award. Aren't awards meant to be about exceptional achievement? How exceptional is it to be enthusiastic about doing something you really like anyway? She also managed to say pretty much the exact same spiel for each kid...so again, exactly WHAT is so special about these awards that so many of them were necessary?

If you're wondering if I am bitter about DD2 not winning anything, let me assure you I could give a shit if she won, just so long as she is getting the fitness, confidence, and fun which is all I ever really wanted for her in the first place.* Much more importantly, SHE could give a shit (actually, she said she was kinda glad she did not win, since winners have to do a solo and she doesn't want "yet another dance to remember!").  I don't understand the need to make these children perform so many pieces (for whose benefit?) and I don't understand why we need to give a 3 year old an enthusiasm award (again? for whose benefit?).

My Mom made an interesting observation- that the owner gave out the jillion awards and then immediately reminded everyone that 2012 re-enrolment forms are due. What parent still in post-award glow would deny their kid re-enrolment? I'm not nearly as cynical as she is...but she's got a point, doesn't she? When your kid runs up to you clutching their plastic gold statuette says and eyes all shining says, "Oh please Mum, can I come again? Can I? Can I? Can I?" I'll bet that re-enrolment form gets burned from the speed of the pen filling it out.

For what it's worth, I'll keep on keeping on - meaning as long as DD2 is happy dancing, I'm happy supporting her. I've just come to realise that dance concerts are a little like childbirth, in the months between giving birth and getting pregnant, we somehow forget the pain and suffering bit.

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