Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Rite of passé

A little running around to shake off the pre-performance jitters.
I love her confidence in this picture.

No caption necessary, really.

A moment of repose during the performance, Dear Alex is the one in the middle.

Five years ago, if someone had told me that someday in the hazy future I'd be going to a ballet recital - my own daughter's ballet recital on a cold day in January, I'd have probably gently changed the subject to something about motorcycles or airplanes or the weather.
It is sort of a rite of passage, I guess, for any father of a daughter - both the ballet classes and the inevitable performance of what they've learned. I know Dear Alex really enjoys her ballet class, she's surprised me many times with her dance vocabulary and impromptu performances at home of various moves and leaps accompanied by shouts of "sautée!" (jump up in the air) and "relevé!" (stand on your tippy-toes, arms up) all done with the approximate grace of a forklift - not that I'd do any better. It seems that Dear Alex has inherited my dance gene, or should I say, my lack of one. Not that it matters, of course, and I was relieved to see that she wasn't the only little girl that was - uh, movement-challenged. It's a three-year-old thing, I guess. The mind and the heart yearn for what the body can't yet do, but for some reason, there's real satisfaction in the attempt.
The group of five girls in the class (including Dear Alex) was easily the most disciplined group of toddler/pre-schooler's I've ever seen - they sat quietly, performed on cue with little direction, and stayed pretty well focused on the task at hand. There was a real charm in the collective performance today, the unselfconscious artlessness of the little ballerinas and their clearly heartfelt desire to get it right - it gave me a funny feeling. I think it might be pride for all of them.
Ballet is definitely not my thing, and I don't really think that it's going to be Dear Alex's thing either, but for now it's giving her discipline, a new vocabulary*, and something to be proud of - I saw that in her smile and confidence today, and it's one more thing to add to her list, my firefighter pirate princess ballerina. She may not be the picture of grace, but she's got a lot of heart.

*A lot of very fancy words like allegro and adagio and jete and passé, that I'm learning to love - Dear Alex is learning and using "terms of art". I love that.

No comments: