Tis that time of the year when dance students of all ages and sizes are taking the stage once again. From fans of little wide eyed itty bittys in their darling poof and fluff to the graduating seniors full of amazing strength and enchanting ability, throngs of parents, family and friends are filling audiences in auditoriums to cheer on their favorite ballerinas, tappers, and hip hoppers. From the intimate little studio recital to the grandeur of a company's full out Swan Lake, tis the season for end of the year dance performances.
And behind every great dance performance is an amazing group of dance moms. No, not those overly blinged out, talk about you behind your back, screaming nasty mouthed gonna have their kids in therapy for years dance moms on TV. I mean the real dance moms who volunteer hours of the precious commodity of time so that the place their dancing children call their second home can pull together another fine performance of whatever level or caliber they create annually. This is no small feat and the moms who are the child wranglers (cat herders would be a more appropriate term!) of the littlest of the twinkle toes should get the mom equivalent of the Medal of Honor.
I spent last week and weekend working with some real dance moms. These women work hard. MacGyver, Good Cop and Bad Cop are our fearless leaders and they make the Energizer Bunny look asleep! (Yes, all of you who know me and know I don't really sew are wondering how I got on the costume gang! OK, so I've learned how to sew on hooks and eyes, buttons and even patch a hole here or there. Don't fall over in shock!) I am always inspired by their calm under pressure, their ability to work their magic to make every performer on the stage look beautiful, and keep everything so organized - I think there were ten costume changes for the Senior and Junior companies alone! And all that without wearing any outrageous bling and no nasty nonsense!
It's hard to describe what goes on backstage, behind the scenes, when everything out front is polished and gorgeous and captivating the audience. The dancers are the picture of poise as they exit - then they frantically drop one costume to the floor and pull on the next one, sometime with as little as 30 seconds before they must make their next entrance, a grand smile of calm and joy lighting their faces. A dark clothed stage mom scoops up the discarded costumes and runs them back to the green room bin, looming large and empty. Others immediately begin sorting the pieces, hanging them on each girl's section of the costume racks. Do some ironing if needed. Whip out the hot glue gun to reattach a dangling feather on an angel's wings. Listen for the end of the song that signals the petites rushing backstage for help with their next costume change. Some quick last minute tugs and bobby pins and brush of blush and they are off as quickly as they came. It's a whirlwind of non stop service that dance moms across the country are performing. Maybe in a different format or on different committees, but they give their time and talents to help ensure that the show goes on.
In this age where the old circus freak show has been replaced by the harsh and high strung reality TV stars, it's refreshing and encouraging to know that I"m blessed to work with a group of Moms who get it that respect and a little common courtesy can still be the norm, even under the pressure cooker of back stage craziness. Hopefully our daughters will grow up seeing that the sparkle of kindness and service is the best bling of all.