Let me first start this post by saying a couple of things.
I am extremely conservative when it comes to dance costumes and dancing styles (and other things too, but that’s another topic).
I think that dance recitals are the most boring thing in the world (barring those 2-3 min when my own kids are on stage of course).
If you find either of those sentences offensive…. don’t read this post.
So, why do I not love recital time?
1-Yes, those tots (what we call the kids dancing who are ages 3-6 approximately) are DANG cute. Yes, no matter what they do they are cute. If they mess up, they are cute. If they are amazing dancers beyond their years, they are cute. If they hide in the curtain, they are cute. If they wave to their parents in the audience, they are cute. If they run out on stage and say “I’m gonna do a PERFECT dance!” (my oldest when she was 3) they are cute. If they cry on the side of the stage the whole time they are cute. If they hide behind the center back curtains and only poke their head out like a ghost, they are cute (my niece when she was little) Yes, yes, yes, yes, they are cute. But after seeing 1.4732 BILLION of those cute dances, they have sort of lost their luster for me. I know, it’s cold. You might want to group me with criminals, people who hate puppies, and Donald Trump, but I’m pretty over it.
2-There is very little creativity out there. There, I’ve said it. It’s rude of me, but it’s true. Nearly all dances are the same. I’ve cried ONCE ever while watching a dance live, and why did I cry? Because it was NEW. It was different. It spoke something ORIGINAL, and I WEPT. I even got angry that I was weeping, how dare a dance not be boring? All it takes is two numbers from any given choreographer, and I can give you a 10 second snippet demonstrating their entire style, and that’s all they’ve got. I know, it’s rude, but I will go into a deeper analysis of choreography and choreographers on another post.
3-The costumes. Okay, here is that conservative part I warned you about. I’ve never been to a strip show, so maybe I don’t know what I am talking about. But from the snippets I’ve inadvertently seen on TV of various related scenarios, and just driving through Las Vegas on any given evening, I don’t think that there is much to wonder about. So having said that, I am BLOWN AWAY by how many TEN YEAR OLDS ARE DANCING AND DRESSING LIKE STRIPPERS. I’ve seen it as young as FIVE, and most certainly all the way through their high school seniors. What do I mean? Well, for example:
-Leo, open in the front, with only a bright pink bra covering their specials, and fishnet tights.
-Really, bare midriffs are rarely classy anymore. Particularly when the shorts are the length of underwear and it is not just a crop top but a full out bra. Here’s an idea, let’s add some fringes or sparkles to draw even more attention….. yeah…..
-While on the topic of bare midriffs- I don’t like them, I avoid them with my kids as well as my professional dancers I work with, but if you do not find them offensive or immodest, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not dress your overweight dancers in them. Can I say a few more PLEASE PLEASE PLEASEs? You are shaming them, and bringing attention to their weaknesses, which is just bullying them. I think it’s awful and it really ticks me off. Don’t dress your dancers, and don’t ALLOW YOUR CHILDREN to be dressed in them if they are overweight. Please don’t misunderstand, I am not saying THEY SHOULD be ashamed of their bodies – I think they should love themselves and believe in themselves, but I am saying that by doing so you are drawing everyone’s attention to their body in a negative way, and that is not fair to them. This is not me judging them, this is the cold hard facts of the society we live in as well as the dance world where we are constantly staring at bodies, being placed in front of mirrors, and where everything revolves around appearance. Your children, your students, deserve to feel like the most beautiful creatures in the world on stage, and so their costumes should FLATTER them, not shame them.
4- I attended a recital this week where I was in my seat for FOUR HOURS. It was the longest dance show OF MY LIFE. People think I’m crazy for going to three hours of church each week. THIS WAS LONGER. I was in my seat 15 min early, it started 15 min late, and it went 3.5 hours. This was with a studio that had less than 80 students, and a theater that was under half full. I think I died three times during that show. Thank goodness I had three kids in it that kept coming on stage to cheer me up. (or wait, if they hadn’t all been in it I could have left early, or not gone at all…. hmmm….)
5-Dance recitals rarely have a theme, and if they do it’s simply to guide music or costume choices. And so, therefore, they are boring. Let’s get some special effects in there, some audience interaction, something to tie the individual pieces together, something, anything! Give me something to care about. I don’t really care about you showcasing what you have done all year, I can come watch class. Give me something that watching through the window doesn’t give. ENTERTAIN me!! Seriously, if you’ve seen one recital you’ve seen them all, boring as heck. My own husband has been known to put on noise cancelling earphones and listen to a book on tape, and he is SUPER supportive of dance.
Well, now I’ve gotten carried away. I intended to comment on my kids recitals, so I guess I will keep that part brief, lest I keep you reading this in your seat as long as item #4. Due to scheduling issues and probably some poor planning on my part I had all three of my older kids at two different studios. Studio #1 had two recitals they were involved in, so I had 2 days of dress rehearsals and 2 shows. They were ok. The ballet was a lot of fun because it was Nutcracker in June and my 9 year old son Jason was both Fritz as well as the Nutcracker Prince, and he was fan-stinkin-tastic. Unfortunately they did a pre-show with competition kids beforehand, where I saw lots of strip numbers done by 10 year olds, ahem, I mean dancing….. The next night was the jazz/hip hop where my boys tapped and my daughter hip hopped (is that a word?) They were all great, my 6 year old’s mistakes and glaring the whole time was, of course, CUTE.
Then 2 days later we had a dress rehearsal, followed by the next night’s recital, during which several new countries were established and we may have had 2 or 3 presidential elections. The owner of the studio didn’t show up until after the show started as far as I’m aware, several teachers were missing, and backstage was chaos as a result, but 2 of their teachers really pulled it together and got everyone onstage and the show flowed pretty quickly. Had there been longer pauses between numbers, I might have been leaving there in a walker, or a hearse. I had expected this studio to be more skanky than the frirst studio’s shows, judging from last year’s show at the first one and the general lack of modesty in class wear, but was pleasantly surprised. Most costumes were modest, and several that weren’t as much were still in the tasteful range. With both studios I tried to plan ahead for my daughter’s costumes, and ended up having issues with both, but were resolved as one of them let here wear a black leo under her loose/see-through/short bounces up any time you move top, and the other changed the costume last minute. This did mean that we literally got the costume in the mail hours before leaving, but we had it, it was modest, and she looked beautiful up there.
Well, there, I’ve gone and overstayed my welcome with recital commentary, and have probably only scratched the surface. Moral of the story: Recitals should not be longer than 2 hours, and should try really hard to not be boring, kids should not dress like strippers, my kids did a fantastic job so despite all the pain of the rest of the show, I’m glad I went.
(Part of being a dancing family means being backstage a lot together, so here is my 2 year old enjoying the before show practicing music)