Thursday, March 27, 2014

Little Dancer

Our daughter, Reina, is the luckiest little girl... along with nearly a dozen other little girls. I say this because they get to learn ballet and jazz at such a young age. I always wanted to wear those pink ballet slippers and tutus and prance around the floor feeling just like the ballerina from the toy music box.

I did do some dancing as a child but it was in a singing and dancing group called "Sunshine Generation". If you are a child from the '80's you've probably either heard of it or were part of it. It was kind of the thing back in the '80's. I chuckle just thinking of the video evidence of my brother performing his awkward moves in this orchestration.  I am not putting down Sunshine Generation as it probably helped develop my rhythm and coordination, but the costumes were not pretty. Every little girl likes pretty dresses. They were bright yellow, bulky and hung down to your ankles only to reveal old-lady nude colored pantyhose and black slippers. I never even asked to be in ballet or any other dance class because both of my older sisters were in Sunshine Generation and my mom even became an instructor. Things were just different back then. We didn't ask for much. Or maybe it was just our family?

Through elementary school I did dance around at home learning line dances (they were the "in" thing back then), and then would organize and perform them at talent shows and school productions with a large group of my friends. I didn't really get involved in any other dancing until junior high. They had a little dance team at school that performed only for the parades at the end of the school year. Those parades were the highlight of my young adolescent years; that and band.

(Please excuse the picture choices and quality of my childhood pictures...they were all that I could find without some serious digging. I know there are a lot more somewhere.)

I always wanted a ballet dress like this. I somehow managed to wear this for a school music concert

It really wasn't until then that I realized I had a passion for dancing. I felt extra special when I was asked to be a captain of the dance team as an 8th grader (the top dog was 9th grade in junior high) and again in 9th grade. I don't think some of the 9th graders appreciated having me as a captain, their junior, but luckily I was innocent to their envy.

I did cheerleading and gymnastics for two years, and basketball for one whole season but never felt excited to go to practice like I did with dance. I felt too rigid and wasn't ever loud enough to cheer. Gymnastics was a lot of fun, although I only did well at balance beam and floor routine. Basketball was a joke. I pretended to play but never enjoyed the scrambling over a ball idea.

Remind me why size XL shirts were in style back then?

I didn't intend for this post to be all about me. I suppose it's good sometimes to evaluate how my experiences in life have brought me to where I am today. High school was very much devoted to dance team. In fact, I went to my high school partly for their acclaimed dance team. I had the option to go to the other high school in the area where ALL my friends were going but the academics and dance team were not as good and therefore made a difficult, yet sure decision.

Pep assembly performance to Michael Jackson's "Thriller"

 I piddled in various dance classes all throughout college including: ballroom (of course), jazz, modern, clogging, and even folk dancing. I've stuck with ballroom because I do like the social aspect of it, although I'd be very interested in taking some jazz and modern dance classes again!

During my two years at Ricks College (now BYU Idaho) every Wednesday was Swing Dance Night. I looked forward to this all week! I somehow managed to have a dance partner where we met up to have some fun! We strictly met for dancing and having fun; no drama, which is why I may have had more male friends than female friends.

Dance partner for Latin Ballroom Team

At BYU Utah, I was part of a Latin Ballroom team. We did small performances at the school. They also had some competitions for the ballroom dance classes. My dance partner and I (someone from my ballroom class) participated in the Lindy Hop competition at BYU and got second place! You don't compete with an actual routine, just play around until you are eliminated. I've never really been in a competition until our cruise just last November where my professional partner and I got second place on the whole ship. Pretty cool! Okay, I'm seeing the trend that I am always runner-up?

Life has changed with a growing family, so taking a Friday or Saturday night to go dancing has not been often. Luckily I have been enjoying a lot of Zumba! It's basically the modern Jazzercise with more Latin dance and funk. I do this a lot as part of my workout routine and even get to instruct with some of the ladies from church on Friday mornings, and for the youth occasionally.

I'm sure that my life would have revolved around dancing if I had no intentions of having a family. But I knew that having a family was greater than the exotic life as a dancer. Okay, that kind of sounds bad....extravagant life as a dancer. I do still get to dance. I have a daughter that enjoys dancing. This makes me happy. Music makes me happy. What a great blessing it is to be able to put the two together and make a harmonious little music and dancing sandwich.

Blurry but I liked the shot :)
For Reina's dance class, they are working on basic ballet poses, which are all new to me as I have NO ballet background. They practice different leaps across the floor. One thing I really like is that the teacher helps them to control their form and posture rather than letting them just do it however their little bodies want to. They are preparing a dance for their recital in summer from "Singing in the Rain". It's a challenge as the song is very fast! Luckily they still have lots of time to prepare. Reina is one of the youngest in her class since she is in the 5-7 year old class. I wanted her to be challenged which is why I didn't put her in the 3-5 year old class.