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Dance Recital 2014!

June 2, 2014

Can you believe Miss Anika has been doing the dance recital thing for five years now??? Because I can’t.

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How is that even possible? I’m sure she’s only 2.

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Okay maybe not.

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I don’t actually have the right words to talk about how amazing dance was for her this year. I saw her grow in all of the ways I hoped she would. I saw her figure out that if she worked hard – practiced hard at home, not just in classes – that she could get better. Lots better.

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I saw her figure out that she needed to focus on what the teacher was saying in class…..and that she’d be able to do things she didn’t think she would be able to do at first.

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I saw her learn to encourage her friends, and kids she didn’t know as well. I saw her bringing prayer requests to us about her dance friends, or her dance teachers when we would pray with her at night. I just really saw her grow up this year.

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There were challenges for sure. Some of the girls in her jazz class are doing some competitive stuff now, and that’s great for them. Anika isn’t one of them yet, and while both of us are JUST FINE with that, I know she wants to be thought of as “good”, and she worried that somehow not being in that group marked her as “not as good”. She worked through some things and eventually came to understand that being chosen to do competitive at 7 isn’t actually the only measure of whether or not you are “good”….and that there is a lot to learn still, and that’s okay.

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She struggled a little with the “uniform” this year. There are specific body suits and tights the girls are meant to wear, but as the girls get older they tend to start wearing their own dance clothes, and less of the “uniform”. I just couldn’t get my head around some of the outfits – booty shorts and sports bras are FINE in the studio for the older girls….but I had trouble with the idea of letting her wear that kind of thing now. (I know! I am uptight. Sorrynotsorry.)

We made some compromises (you can wear your dance studio shorts OVER the body suit, etc. and I will give you some more latitude with dance camp….but not for classes). With the help of an older student who helped in her jazz class Anika decided to embrace the uniform as part of the discipline…and it was great.

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Tap was especially interesting. She did a combo class a few years ago, and she’s done some tap at dance camp….but this was the first year she’s really taken it. She really didn’t like it for the first couple of months – she was bored; the things they were doing she’d already done; she just wasn’t enjoying it. But then I started noticing some changes….she’d come and tell me things like she wasn’t sure if her shuffles were making “the right noise”, and could we work on them? She started zeroing in on the technique bits and suddenly it was really fun. By the time the show rolled around it was one of her favourite classes – and she loved the number they did in the show.

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The show itself was the usual blur of exhausting glittery chaotic fun. This school REALLY knows how to put on a good show, and I love that even the youngest dancers are included in that. The teachers, volunteers, and behind the scenes folks are excellent….and it’s so telling to me that the older kids are so kind and helpful too. They go out of their way to be helpful, to hold doors, to smile at the younger kids; to compliment them on their costumes. Anyone Anika has ever had as a teacher for dance camp has made sure to say hi to her – sometimes crossing a room to come and say hello. I LOVE that.

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After Friday night’s show I asked her how she thought she did. She said that she thought ballet didn’t go very well because one of the dancers got confused and it messed things up a little bit – but she said that sometimes it’s confusing to go on the big stage so it was okay. She said that she thought jazz was medium. I thought jazz looked great so I asked her why medium….she said “I think I need more expression. In my face but also in my body. Sometimes when we do strong arms it can be a little too much like a robot.” Aaaand that right there was officially more thought than I have probably ever put into dance anything.  OKAY THEN. Glad you are the dancer kid.

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For me, watching her dance onstage this year, it was so different. She had so much more presence. She smiled. She connected with the audience. It is SO neat to see that evolving.

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It’s so much work. In a family where there are four kids, two of whom are babies that are kind of needy, dance sometimes feels like a “thing” that is over the top. But you know what? It’s SO easy to see that it’s worth it. Not because she’s some kind of child prodigy dancer girl. But because it’s shaping her into a person I really really like. It’s teaching her things that are crossing the boundaries of dance and into other activities and school. It’s teaching her confidence. It’s teaching her discipline. It’s teaching her about friendship. It’s SO worth it.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 2, 2014 7:08 pm

    Dance has become so much more than just a pastime because of the hard work she puts in, but also because of the questions you ask, the follow-up you do and the precious precious time you invest in your daughter! Way to go both of you 🙂

  2. June 2, 2014 7:22 pm

    Well…this is all very awesome….really. She is amazing. You all are for the dedication…I might have lacked that chip. It is a moment…however fleeting.

    Love you guys.

    Dad..papa..that guy

  3. June 3, 2014 2:10 am

    So awesome to hear. I knew she was performing soon, and wanted to know how it went. :3

    She’s getting competitive, and I like it. She is also getting *good.* Kick ass, girl. 😉

    PS – “Anikdotes.” – Brilliant.

  4. Hubby permalink
    June 3, 2014 11:08 am

    I echo the part about dance helping her learn skills and traits which transition to the whole of her life. Already seeing it in soccer. All goalies need to be able to do the splits! =)

    Proud of you Anika.

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