Friday, October 24, 2008

Dancing Queen

For the last four years, not including this year, Eldest Daughter has danced competitively.

This has meant that she has taken 5 dance classes a week and spent six to eight weekends out of town for dance competitions or performances. The weekends prior to those events she had extra rehearsals. We spent very few weekends skiing these past four years because winter is competitive dance season.

The friends we made through dance team are very special. Not only were her team-mates her friends, the mommies I spent many weekends with were mine. It was at the Tremaine dance competition that Shanta and Julie changed my life by introducing me to The Brow Bar. I perfected my knitting skills and taught others to knit while at dance competitions. I became known as The Carpool Queen, the mommy who orchestrated complex and efficient carpools to minimize our drive time between school and dance class.

Eldest Daughter learned to be comfortable on stage in front of as many as 1,000 people, how to be a part of a team, and how to turn it on even when she was hopped up on Motrin, fighting the flu. She took classes from famous choreographers and grew from a timid six-year-old to a confident ten-year-old with stage presence. She got a tremendous amount out of the experience and for that I am grateful.

The highlight of each season was our annual trip to Disneyland and the performance on the Carnation Stage. We made it a family event, having the cousins and grandparents come a few times, too.

This year she decided that she'd had enough. Between dance, Hebrew and an academic math team, the child had no downtime. I'm glad she was able to make that decision. She loved performing and being on stage. (My eyes used to fill with tears when she performed -- the joy on her face was that obvious.) She loved her dance buddies, older team members who served as mentors to her. She loved running around in sweats and slippers with her friends at competitions and staying up late to watch the high schoolers perform. She loved the awards they won every single time and it made the long hours worthwhile.

But she did not love rushing from school to dance through dinner and into the shower and to bed. I thought she'd miss it but no, she's filled her dance card (bad intentional pun) with a community theater workshop and guitar lessons.

Tomorrow is the first dance event of the season, a performance at our local Halloween Street Fair. I'm a little sad that she won't be there on stage. But I'm also looking forward to watching the other kids, and to being a groupie.

Break a leg Jack! And Cate ... and Erika ... and Steph ... and Rachel ... and Nicole ... and Kelly ... and Ava ... we love you guys!


Kathy B! said...

Good for her for having the maturity to recognize when she has had enough. It sounds as though she's got a good head on her shoulders!

Polka Dot Moon said...

I think it's wonderful that she came to that conclusion all on her own.

Paris is quite the talented young lady with a good head on her shoulders.