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.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Life Lessons in Dance

La Nina wrapped up her 4th competitive dance season this past weekend. It's been a good year for her. Her groups have generally done very well and while the dances get harder every year, she always rises to the challenge and performs beautifully.

This year was her first year competing in a style of dance called, Lyrical. It's a cross between ballet and jazz. I think it looks like contemporary, though I'm sure many dance experts would scoff at my untrained eye. For young dancers, when you're cast in a lyrical piece, it's a sure sign you're growing up and being viewed as "a big girl" by your studio. I don't think studios see it that way, but I know at least one young dancer who does. Her group danced to the Rob Thomas song, Little Wonders, a personal favorite song of mine and a lovely piece of music with a great message.

Lyrical is a tough style of dance. The judges are demanding. Toes need to be pointed. Shoulders need to be relaxed. Movement needs to be fluid. Tough, tough, tough when you're going slow and every goof up can be spotted easily. Her trio of two 8 year olds and one 9 year old saw very little success in terms of scoring. This dance was consistently her lowest scoring piece and deservedly so on more than one occasion, which brings us to last weekend.

When the Little Wonders took the stage, they performed well for the first 1/2 of the dance, then tragedy struck...they lost music. And what do you suppose those dancers did? Well, like the professionals they are, they kept dancing, keeping time in their heads and keeping an eye on each other to ensure they stayed together. It was just an amazing thing to see these little girls carry on to the cheers of their mothers and really nothing else. I was so proud of them.

Backstage, I asked La Nina how she knew to do that. Had her teachers told her if they lost music to keep going? No, she said. She saw her friends kept going and she didn't want to let them down, so she just watched them and imagined the music in her head. What a great answer.

My biggest concern about her choosing dance over sports has been that she's missing the team experience, but last weekend changed my mind completely. I finally saw team work truly happen in the realm of dance. Her answer proved to me she had learned her lessons about team work well.
Now, wouldn't you think that this mishap and professionalism would help them out in scoring? Well, you'd be wrong. Dancers are expected to continue and not react to unfortunate happenings on stage. They did only what was expected and were scored appropriately. But somehow I think the life lesson they learned facing that challenge is worth a lot more than any scoring award. Personally, Friday's High Silver will be the performance I remember most vividly from this season.

The picture above was taken during the performance of Little Wonders. It was snapped before the a cappella portion of the dance started.


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