Maggie Makes Four!

This journal started off documenting the adoption of our youngest daughter. It now follows the twist and turns of our lives as we raise these two amazing little creatures into the best women they can become.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tales from the Reluctant Dance Mother

The backstage world of dance competitions is a jungle, sometimes literally and always figuratively. This week, it was a bit of both. It was hot (probably in the low 80's), a jungle of costumes in every conceivable size, color and shape hung to resemble vines on trees and as crowded as a watering hole at sunset after a steamy day.

Turf is key backstage. You need to snag some for your dancer as soon as you arrive. It really doesn't have to be much, but enough so that when you are changing costumes and hair, you have somewhere to stand. Of course, there are the alpha moms who spread out big blankets and command several square yards for their little lovelies. Likewise there are the lost souls, who's kids only have one dance and really need no space but need to be in the dressing room because that's where the kids are picked up prior to their stage time. These poor people just stand around shifting their weight from foot to foot, wondering if it's okay to leave their daughters and go take a seat. All of us, the alphas, the lost souls and everyone in between are crammed into a space just trying to make sure our kids look right for their big moment.

Often space next to an outlet is prime real estate. In these areas, the electric curling device cords octopus out from the wall, and you hear the random kid or mom scream when hot irons sear flesh. In other areas, there might be a mom sitting on a stool stitching a piece of elastic onto a hat or may be repairing a hem. Amid this chaos are dancers, lots and lots of dancers, leaned up against black dance bags playing their DS, listening to music, maybe smacking their hands together in a game of Miss Mary Mac. Kids are usually in costume or sweats, just patiently waiting to be called. Their faces are made up. Their hair is usually done, and there they are sprawled on the floor, just waiting.

Usually La Nina and I try to grab a small space near a door and hope for a cool breeze. I like to get her costumes hung up so I can see what I'm doing as there is never much time between numbers. When we get backstage, she usually runs off to chat with her friends or check out the latest DS games while I set up. I usually have to rein her in to get her dressed or 'finished' for stage. She's usually distracted, impatient and worried about some random thing like the whereabouts of one of her friends, the bow on her costume or the performance order. She always wants to know how long she has. And alas, I never know. The time she will get called varies, so really timing is anyone's guess.

It's usually not too long. By the time, her make up is touched up, her costume is on, her hair is fluffed, she's getting called to stage. That's my cue to run around to the front of the building, grab a seat and wait for her to perform.

The backstage experience is always a bit surreal to me. I mean, really, all I'm there to do is the care and feeding for my little beast. I need to make sure she's ready for stage, properly watered if thirsty, properly fed if hungry (nothing that could possibly stain a costume). My main goal is to not step on the blanket of an alpha mom and avoid the moms who look as if they are about to eat their young at any moment. Oh, and make sure my little lovely is ready when they call her.

This week her teams did pretty well. Both numbers took first place in their division, which is categorized by age and dance type. Her tap number placed 6th and her jazz number placed 3rd overall in their age group. It's only the first competition of the year and I think if the girls hit their jazz number, they will be very tough to beat.

So, it's one down and three to go on this dance season. The picture above is of La Nina, clutching her winnings, crashed after the drive home. Both the trophy and the plaque go to the studio tomorrow. In case you're wondering what she thinks of it, she wore her dance clothes all day today even though she had no class.

P.S. While her sister was dancing, the Magster was tearing it up on the indoor soccer field. She scored 4 goals, for a total of 6 on the day.


  • At 1:27 PM , Blogger Strangest Hippie said...

    I always wondered what it was like backstage during big events...sounds very chaotic and a little dangerous(alpha moms)
    Best of luck for your daughters team this dance season


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