Today Mikel and I took our tiny dancers to Azle to perform in their annual street festival. It was the Little One's first public performance in the dance company. She was excited, and we were very proud of her.
A side note here - Mikel is the best dad in the world. For the past two years while I have been in school or seeing clients, he has taken the girls to all of their classes and extra rehearsals, learned to put their long hair in ponytails and buns, and noted all the details of performances without one word of complaint. He has never missed a performance. He sat through two entire days of dance contest last Spring, and he actually watched the dancers. He is working overtime this weekend to pay for costumes. He is proud of his girls, and he says he is quite comfortable being a ballet dad.
It is policy for the dancers to arrive 30 minutes early for a performance. The talent line up was running behind (typical), so we all ended up waiting for quite a while for our girls' turn to shine. It was HOT. As in summer in Texas hot, not Paris Hilton hot.
Let me tell you something - anyone out there that doesn't think dance is hard work is just dead wrong. These young ladies, ages 8 to 18, were out there in sweltering heat, squinting from the glare off the concrete, with nothing but a thin layer of suede between their feet and said concrete, smiling even though salty sweat and mascara were dripping into their eyes, to an audience that consisted of mainly their parents. They leaped, they twirled, they lay and rolled on the ground, they kneeled, they lifted one another. And they did all of that with pure grace and professionalism. For no money. And without kneepads.
Know what else they did? Rather than high-tailin' it outta there when their routines were finished, they stayed and watched one another in the horrible heat, clapping and cheering for one another, no matter how many mistakes were made. The little dancers marveled at the older dancers, no doubt imagining themselves "dancing like that" one day. One group got out there and stuck a pose, frozen in place for some time until it was discovered that their music didn't make it to the performance. They graciously filed off the staging area, heads high, smiles wide.
Some of the parents staked a little claim to the few patches of shade to be found. I chose to stand right out there in the sun while I watched. It was the least I could do to honor these young ladies who graced Azle, Texas with a little culture and poise today.