Friday, May 30, 2008

life as a ballet dad

Banana's ballet recital is tomorrow. She is so excited for it that she was still still practicing bits of her routine as we finally arrived at home after the dress rehearsal. I should note that our return home was delayed by close to an hour because she wanted to see piece after piece of the rehearsal. It was, after all, the first chance to see all of the classes pieces put together as part of the whole production. Frankly, I would have let her stay through the whole thing had it not been 7:30 and past dinner time.

In any case... The performance, or rather the rehearsal, is worth noting. Rather than do a simple little recital where each class performs its rehearsed piece(s), Banana's school puts on a full production. The husband and wife who own the school write a story, rent costumes, and perform as part of the whole pageant. It's all a bit cheesy, and jogs my own memories of doing (a lot) of theater. Regardless, there is something truly fun about these kids from 4 to 14 genuinely enjoying themselves while also becoming serious about what they're doing.

This is a feeling I got from theater which I did for a few years in high school and college, but I never got the same feeling from music. No. For the years that I studied music from 7 to 17, I practiced as needed and I learned my "stuff." The reality, however, is that I never came home desperate to play. Practicing never appealed to me. I did it because it was part of what was expected and fostered.

This evening, I watched the kids and thought about these memories. Two daughters of the husband and wife (both former professional dancers) were integral parts of the show. At first, I wondered if they were doing it because they wanted to or because it was expected of them. After a while, though, I stopped wondering. They were both clearly talented. The older one seemed to crave the stage, and she kept practicing her moves. The younger one called out corrections to her mother's choreography. They clearly enjoyed what they were doing, just as Banana clearly enjoyed watching all of the other performances and practices. Just as she asked whether she would be doing these dances in a year or five.

From the get-go, I have resolved that I will not push Banana to do anything she does not want to do, and I will support her in anything she wants to do. Tonight brought home that resolve even more.


Sidenote: It is strange to be one of the few dads (and the only single dad) in a roomful of wealthy stay-at-hom moms. More on that later.