Pipsqueak has been dancing since she was three years old... ballet and tap until this year when she swapped tap for jazz. She saw a ballerina on Sesame Street shortly after turning three and told me she wanted to learn to dance ballet. I started looking for local studios and found Dancers' Corner. I found a couple of others, but Dancer's Corner had a nice website with all the information I needed, so I picked them because I'm lazy and didn't want to make phone calls. It turned out to be a fortuitous if under-researched choice, since I've heard at least one other studio has a militant method of teaching; I wanted the experience to be fun. DC manages to teach the young children through play. I don't think the children even realize their learning. They get to wear their pretty little tutus and ballets skirts instead of a "uniform" of black leotards and pink tights.
She cried at her first recital and didn't make it on stage for her final number, and told me on the way home that she NEVER wanted to do that again. I told her she didn't have to, but I spent time talking to her about her experience, and my experience playing in orchestra, and acting in plays. I explained how the audience is rooting for the performer to succeed, the gift of entertainment and the powerful, exciting feeling of making an audience laugh or hearing applause. When recital time came around again, she still didn't want to do it, but I bought tickets for us to go and watch. Her reactions, "I wish I had that pretty costume," and "I could have done that!" There was no question that she would perform in the next recital, and she's loved the stage ever since.
There were approximately230 dancers performing last weekend ranging in age from 2 to 80+. There was a tribute to the two senior girls that would be leaving the studio after dancing there for 10 and 12 years. I was struck with the thought that it could be my daughter in only 11 more years. When the time comes for her to leave home, I'll only have memories of the all the time we spent together and the wish that I had another weekend that I could devote to her.