I remember when dance recital week was the busiest/most stressful week of the year. I didn’t eat much in the month leading up to the show because somewhere, along the way, I’d picked up on the memo that real dancers didn’t eat. Don’t worry, i didn’t have the discipline and/or self-loathing to maintain ‘recital diet’ for the whole year. Still–much of the fatigue I recall attached to that season was probably due to some really practical factors like low blood sugar… Still and all, it was a happy time, filled with glitter and lights and giggling little girls. Two nights of dress rehearsal and one performance… Between the 6 or 7 numbers in which I would perform, and running through last minute staging and choreography with the several classes of younger girls that I taught, I scarcely breathed until the whole business was over.
Sure, it was a community college theater in a small town that you’ve never heard of unless you’re from there. Sure, the audience would be basically my parents, my best friends, and the parents of those little girls who would surely never manage to kick-ball-change in unison. Sure, the decorations were usually whatever the prom theme had been at the high school the week before. But for our excitement–and stress level–it might as well have been Broadway.
Tonight, I get to walk into a high school auditorium with my tutu-wearing little girl; I get to drop her off backstage; then I get to hand someone a ticket, go inside, and sit down. And as far as i know, it is none of my concern if some kids are kicking while others ball change. I don’t have to try and squeeze into a sequined leotard (which is good, because last time i checked, i no longer weighed 95 pounds…and i’m pretty sure not even ‘recital diet’ would get me back there). And anyway, I don’t have to worry if the light cues are right, or if the music is cut in the right place, or if the crazy dance moms are out with the glitter spray, howling at the moon. I get to hand someone a ticket, and go sit down, and enjoy the show.
Because somewhere along the way, in the last 18 (!) years or so since I was a dance teacher, Sunday mornings have become my recital week. Dancer brain has become preacher brain (do not hand me anything or tell me anything right before or after worship) and I’ve traded in the pointe shoes for sandals with a functional heel. But i still sweat the light cues, the music segues, and in some small way…the dance moms. Dance moms are everywhere. It’s a universal truth.
Here’s to seasons for doing, and seasons for being. A time to be ‘on,’ and a time to be in the cheap seats, soaking it all up. A time to create, and a time to enjoy. Time to be orchestrating, managing, and otherwise in charge– and time to learn the slow rhythms of grace that dance us into the fullness of life.