Natalee the Dancer

Natalee Back Stage 6-25-16 edited

My ballerina in the wings before the show.

My amazing daughter just finished her dance “season”. When I first brought her to the dance studio she was still in diapers. She wouldn’t go out on the floor without me, so I went out and held her hand while she did her first port de bras and her first chasse. Now she does her own hair and make up for shows. She does things on the dance floor that I could never do in my wildest dreams.

She dances with Fusion Dance Project. On any given day at FDP you’ll see kids cry, laugh, get in little spats with each other, roll their eyes at their teachers (not when they are looking of course), and frequently end the day with hugs for their peers and their teachers. I know when my daughter is at that studio she is at her second home, with her second family, and loved very nearly as much as when she is with me. They protect her, they love her, and they want only the best for her.

At the recital last night I watched as these kids bolstered each others confidence, encouraged great performances, and shared sympathetic tears when mistakes were made. These kids know each others pains and joys. They are sisters.

Waiting in the Wings 6-25-16

Dance sisters waiting for their queue.

FDP doesn’t just teach dance. They teach grace, intelligence, strength, the rewards of hard work, the will to fight, the desire to support others, and they teach that friendship and trust are the most valuable treasures in the world (with the occasional exception of bobby pins…but more about that in a minute). Meghan, Tito, and all of the teachers they hired, are blessings to the kids at FDP and to the parents. I wonder if they know how much of an impact they have on these kids – not just for a recital, but for their entire lives.

Last night was the big Spring Recital. They work half the year for this thing. It’s huge. There were actually three shows this year because it’s just too big to put into one. The other moms and I, some of whom learned chasses and port de bras along with me a decade ago, all spend our day back stage working together to make sure the girls get the support they need. Say the word “hair spray” and five different bottles are held up for your use. Need a bobby pin – because those little f’ers are more valuable than gold mid-recital – the only question asked is, “what kind?” Yes, there are different kind of bobby pins. Lipstick? What color? There is no time to worry about pink eye if one of the kids forgot their mascara. Clouds of hair spray hang heavy in the air and every surface ends up coated in glitter.

SO. MUCH. GLITTER.

Nat Tapping 6-25-16

View from the wings of Nat tapping.

We get the quick change call when a girl has back to back dances, and the moms team up in the wings. One gets shoes, one gets hair, one gets tights, one gets the dress, etc. We can strip those kids down to nothing and rebuild them in literally 45-60 seconds. In the dark, and without making a sound – well no sound until it’s time to cheer for the kids who just finished a dance. Then we scream like our favorite football team just got a touch down. It’s a rare mom who gets through one of these events without tearing up with a sweet sentimental wave of emotion at least once.

At the end of the night, the curtain falls leaving us with dozens of exhausted kids, teachers, and parents. We gather up all the costumes, try to make sure we have our mascara, and the kids hug and tell each other how great they did and how much they love each other. Dozens, maybe hundreds, of bobby pins share the floor with the glitter. I don’t even know how that happens – but it really is just like home (I’ve thought about sending sympathy cards to my poor Dyson every time I see how many of those little things end up in it’s belly).

My daughter wants to dance for a living. There is nothing else in this world she wants to do. With FDP behind her, I have no doubt she’ll be able to.

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2 Responses to Natalee the Dancer

  1. Rosselyn says:

    Very beautiful!
    Natalee works very hard. I’m so proud of her.
    Thank you for supporting her dreams.
    Big hug,
    Rosselyn

    • Ronna says:

      Awe, thank you Rosselyn! Her dreams are precious and very much deserve to be supported. She is a driven young lady who juggles an intense schedule, keeps honor roll grades, and does it all with grace and humor (and an odd obsession with Care Bears). She is so very lucky to have such dedicated teachers! Thank you for all you do!

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