Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tap and Ballet and All That Jazz

The kid has her first dance class tonight. She is mucho excited about wearing her tap and ballet shoes. She pronounces "ballet" like this: buh-lay, with the accent on the second syllable. No doubt that's how the dancers at the Bolshoi pronounce it, too. No amount of correcting her seemed to work, so we just let it go. She says a lot of things that are almost right, so you pick your battles, eh? The other night she told me she was a "little bit very hungry." When she wants to watch something on TV that is different from what she is already watching, she says, "I wanna watch something more else." Again, not exactly right, but not so incorrect that I don't know what she means.

Now, I don't know how this dance class stuff is going to play out. My daughter has been walking for nearly two years but still sometimes falls down for no particular reason. She likes to run in one direction with her head turned in another, which always leads to yet another bruise. She collect bruises like my grandma collects Hummels. I think it is only a matter of time until CPS comes and takes us away.

I took a dance class when I was around seven. I truly, truly hated it. I thought I would love it, because what little girl doesn't want to wear a tutu? But, it turns out I am free from any of that pesky talent that plagues others. I kept telling my mom that I was terrible at it, and she blew me off. Finally, one day she watched the class through the window in the door. "Oh, okay," she said and, mercifully, pulled me out of the class.

Because my daughter is not saddled with my DNA, I have high hopes for her having lots of skills and talents that she could never have gotten from me. (Or from my other half, for that matter.) Dancing, singing, sports - who knows, maybe she will rock at all of them. All she could have gotten from me would have been sub-standard hair, hideous handwriting, and a big bucket of social awkwardness. The jury's out on her handwriting (although I will say that she can make some stellar capital W's and H's), but she definitely doesn't have the others.

So, we'll see how it goes. Maybe her limbs will work together better than I am predicting. If not, we'll chalk it up to "character building" and try something else (pottery? yoga?) next time around.


After class . . .

Well, the whole affair was predictably adorable. There were only three little girls in the class. We sat outside and watched through a window. The girls were instructed to stand, in their tap shoes, on little rubber circles on the floor. All three little girls did as requested. As we watched, A and another little girl did their darnedest to follow the dance steps. The third little girl bawled her eyes out. She never moved from the circle at all. The instructor tried to comfort her, to no avail. Halfway through the class, the girls were asked to switch to their ballet shoes. Here is the part where I assumed my kid would need help. But no, she ran to her pink ballet bag and changed her shoes by herself. Didn't we just bring her home from the hospital? I just don't understand this at all. She barely even glanced over at the window where we were standing. She just followed along and, for once, listened. She was completely independent, which jarred me in some way. For half a second, I wanted to stand on a rubber circle and cry myself.

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