Tag Archives: ballet

Scenes from a Dance School Waiting Room

Every Saturday, I trundle my tiny ballerina off to dance class. While she pliés, I sit in the waiting room and have an experience straight out of Sartre.

Cat dancing

Not my kid, but I think this is how she looks in class.

Racing at the speed of light to make my daughter not nearly as late as she is, I toss her into the classroom and take my seat. By then, Dance Dad has already started talking.

Dance Dad is the token male in the group. He has a baby with him, and he expects everyone to want to know all about his kid’s milestones. Did you know that his son is learning to walk? He is a little unsteady on his feet and is very hesitant about being upright. He’s also big for his age, but the doctor’s not worried.

Oh, do go on. Please. This is all so very interesting to me since I’ve only been through parenting babies twice.

Dance Dad’s magic baby crawls all over the place, eats other kids’ snacks and generally has a free reign. Why? Because when Dance Dad isn’t ignoring his kid by talking to everyone, he is absorbed by his iPad.

The first object of his soliloquy is the Trapped Mother. She has a baby roughly the same age as Dance Dad’s, so of course she wants their babies to play together and hear all about Dance Dad’s baby.

No, no she doesn’t.

Poor thing has a deer caught in the headlights look. She probably wants to give her kid Puffs and walk the baby around the room on her tiny spaghetti legs.

I am smarter than Trapped Mother. I buried my head into my Kindle as soon as I could whip it out. Of course, the kids had the volume cranked up, and it was blaring Candy Crush music for a good minute before I could figure out how to silence it. I guess there is no real accounting for my intelligence.

Dance Dad has a little assistance from Nosy Grandma, who is no relation to Dance Dad, but as her name implies, she works her way into every conversation. It started innocuously enough; commenting to her husband, who never uttered anything more than a grunt, about the other conversations going on around her. If Dance Dad talks about a large baby, Nosy Grandma talks to her husband about some baby that she knew who was very large.

Eventually, Nosy works her way in to the conversation, and by that I mean a one-sided stream from Dance Dad, and they have a fanciful volley of one-upmanship. Poor Trapped Mother was now doubly screwed. It was a tractor beam, and she was sucked in. She didn’t even notice when her daughter dropped Puffs on the floor and started eating them.

I gagged a little, but didn’t want to draw any attention to myself by letting her know that her child was contracting Ebola from a dirty floor.

Dance Dad and Nosy Grandma discuss the state of Ohio’s schools and how they each know a school district worse than the last, and kids with even less education than the other. I almost passed out by how far my eyes rolled up into my head.

To distract myself, I looked around the room. One poor mom was so far gone that she let her sons run up and down the hallway screaming at the top of their voices. Another spread out her work on three chairs so no one would get close to her. Poor things. They looked like the walking wounded. Their souls crushed from their encounters with Dance Dad.

The smartest was the woman talking to her daughter in Japanese. At least if she pretended to not speak English she wouldn’t have to be caught in Dance Dad’s tractor beam. I must learn how to do that by next week. Maybe I could be mistaken for French. Or at least French Canadian.

Parlez-vous la danse? Oui! Oui!

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There is No ‘I’ in Team

I have never been athletic; even tae bo had too many movements at once for me. Somehow, I had hoped that it would be different for my kids; that they would be able to jab, jab, kick without looking like they were fighting off an unseen spiderweb.

My family tree is chock full of writers, educators, nurses; in other words – creative, helpful types. I cannot bring to mind a single one that ever played a sport. My mother likes to tell the story of how my father played left field in her company’s softball game. He’d stand out there, chain smoking and drinking beer. When a ball would head his way, he’d put down the beer can, and, cigarette dangling from his lip, would casually stroll out to catch the ball. Not exactly All Star material.

My husband played football and ran track, so I had high hopes the kids would take after him. Unfortunately, they are like him; tall, skinny and wired for engineering.

Nonetheless, I pushed them, I mean pushed ahead, and signed them up for anything that seemed remotely interesting to them. It did not go well.

THE BOY

Soccer: The boy picked at the grass, and when I shouted at him to get the lead out and chase the damn ball (I mean, I encouraged him vociferously), he would run the length of the field and then declare he was too tired to take another step. His highness would then flop down in one of the lawn chairs we had hauled out to the middle of a muddy soccer field to watch his farce of a game, and he would refuse to get up. I begged, pleaded and bribed him to get out on the field. Sighing, he would drag himself out onto the field and the cycle of grass pulling and flopping would begin again.

The only upside is that there were no weeds on the field when that kid was done with the season. They organizers could have paid us. At least our time would have been worthwhile.

Baseball: See soccer and replace, “picked at the grass” with “made dirt mounds as the shortstop.” Throw in a little bit of chasing my daughter and missing everything but the dirt mounds, and you’ll get an idea of what baseball season was like.

THE GIRL

Ballet: My wee little princess wanted to dance, and her bestest friend in the whole wide world was taking a creative movement class. Creative movement is for younger kids and pretty much consists of prancing around a room in expensive leotards while wearing expensive pink ballet slippers, followed by even more expensive tap shoes.

The first couple of lessons were ideal; she threw on her leotard and skipped out of the house. I thought, “O! I have finally found her ‘thing.'” Then, I was invited, along with the other parents, into the studio for observation day. What I observed is my daughter, running around in circles, stopping to hug me, hug her best friend, hug anyone that looked like a grandmother and generally screwing around. I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt and thought she was just acting out because I was there. No. As the lessons progressed, I could hear the teacher instructing her to pay attention, stop touching other people and to please pipe down!

When the session ended, my daughter’s friend was asked to continue on to formal ballet classes because she had, “Natural dance ability.” My prima ballerina was told that she, “should probably take some time off,” and, “some children aren’t ready as quickly as other children are.” In other words, my kid was being put in the corner with the dunce cap. I knew ballet wasn’t for her, but still. I was really offended. That’s my baby! I decided not to say anything rude, mostly because my kids already say things they shouldn’t after hearing them come out of my mouth, but I thought very rude thoughts. Repeatedly.

EPILOGUE

My son asked to play basketball. I worried it would be a repeat of soccer and baseball, but at least on the hardwood floor he wouldn’t be able to pluck or create anything. He has very little hand-eye coordination, and I catch him twirling his hair instead of playing sometimes, but he likes it. He at least goes after the ball and will run without turning into a limp noodle. That’s a victory in my book.

My daughter decided to try ballet again with another dance studio and she seems to enjoy it. She still doesn’t display, “Natural dance ability,” but I’m ok with that. Have you seen Black Swan? That girl was crazy. So, suck it stupid other ballet teacher. My little swan is awesome.

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