My darling girl made me so happy yesterday.
It was still only March, and she said 'I can't wait for concert'.
And she meant it.
She didn't just mean I can't wait to be on stage, or I can't wait to learn a new dance, or I can't wait to see my costume. Which has mostly been the extent of things when looking forward to Annual Concert. Annual Concert by the way, is seven months away :)
She meant she loves the whole process. The weekends of rehearsals and dress rehearsals and theatre rehearsals that seem to stretch out forever, the sausage sizzles and neon coloured ice creams in a cone, the lounging around with her friends between items in prickly costumes, and even the part where she helps with the little ones.
We've never loved the process of concert as much as we do at our current studio. Usually the weeks and months leading up to concert have been so fraught with stress and tension and financial burden that 'I can't wait' was usually a sentence that ended with 'for it to be over'.
Concert is held at the premiere venue in our city and is a really big deal, so don't think that it's not taken seriously. The costumes are all as gorgeous as anything else we've seen, so don't think that as much care and attention isn't given to how the dancers look. The choreography is as dreamy and technically perfect as you might expect from dancers in their teens at any other studio, so don't think we're suffering in expertise. And every dance style is represented, so don't think that the content is lacking.
It's just different.
People laugh at rehearsals and no-one gets ticked off because they forgot to stitch some random sequin on a costume. No-one gets hysterical if a dancer is ill and misses a rehearsal. No-one yells. No-one.
When did striving for perfection become a necessity at 4 or 14? When did a teachers desire to make a name for themselves, outweigh the fragile self esteem of a teenager on the brink of young adult life? When did dance for fun, become dance to exhaustion to get it perfect?
The plethora of dance schools in our city who now offer 'full time' is mind boggling. Where are these students going to earn their keep? It sure as heck isn't here. How many will be disappointed when their dream is not fulfilled? How many will earn a sub standard wage and live in sub standard conditions, just to be able to say 'I danced for a living'?
I don't get it.
I say let the kids dance for the love of it. Accept the reality of limited opportunities for careers in dance. Allow your child to embrace dance for the creativity, the passion, the physical fitness and the camaraderie that suddenly emerges when competition is taken out of the equation.
Let them look back in ten or fifteen years and be able to say..... 'I LOVED dance. I couldn't wait for concert each year.'