Dance the (Work) Night Away

Madison’s third dance performance took place last night. I thought the overall show was put together much better than the last one, with the notable exception of the staff’s choice to include a song – someone told me it’s a Katy Perry – featuring the lyrics “she eat your heart out like Jeffrey Dahmer.” Look, it made me laugh/scoff. But still. Later in the night, the word “beer” was bleeped out of a Ludacris song and that made me laugh even harder. Beer’s no good, but cannibalistic serial murderers get a pass? Hilarious.

This is the best I could do.

This is the best I could do.

She's shaking a maraca, not talking on the phone.

She’s shaking a maraca, not talking on the phone.

Madison’s group danced to a mix of Gloria Estefan’s “Conga” and some other song I didn’t recognize. Due to the timing of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, studio practice was cancelled for two weeks so she was charged with practicing at home along with a video from class. It was during on of these practice sessions that Lynnette famously transformed into Coach Lynnette and jumped in to assist Mad with her footwork.

I knew that Lynnette would have a little extra invested in last night’s performance because of direct involvement. Well, all that work paid off. Madison was much, much better than in her last performance. Her footwork was noticeably quicker, and best of all, she relied much less on the adult leaders at either side of the stage. She knew her stuff. It’s hard to pick that up in the pictures above because absent the most draconian, war-time methods, it’s going to be impossible to get 20 6-year olds to do anything at exactly the same time. I can’t get one 6-year old to do what I want when I want her to.

At the end of Mad’s performance I looked over to Lynnette who was wiping a tear away from her cheek. She always gets this way during Mad’s performances. I can’t blame her. I only need to place myself in her shoes to know I would do exactly the same thing. I imagine a hypothetical Philip Michael Higa, Jr. standing twenty-five feet to the right of second base, then swiftly moving to his left to gobble up a grounder bound for center field. The ball takes a perfect hop and settles into the pocket of his Mizuno. He chops his steps, plants his left foot on second base, torques his hips so as to close his front side, then whips them back around to fire an absolute pill to first. His feet leave earth on the follow-through, his legs tuck in like a plane’s landing gear, and he soars above the sliding base runner and the red cloud of dirt hangs in the air with him, only to dissipate like the opposing team’s hopes in this half-inning. Believe me. If I saw that? I’d be fighting back tears while whispering “That’s my boy.”

Maybe this will be our Little League.

Maybe this will be our Little League.

Which isn’t to say that I don’t swell with pride when I watch Madison dance. I do. Like many parents, I want the best for Mad, for to have it and do it better than I did. In my case specifically, I want her to find and pursue her passion in the way that I failed so miserably.

As I watched the older girls glide across the dance floor, my mind ran off into that theoretical realm which it so frequently inhabits. Will Madison ever reach such a level of skill? Will she even continue dance, or will she soon decide it was merely fun while it lasted? If she does stop, what will replace it? 

What I do know is that I will try my absolute best to support her, and right now, that means sitting through 150 minutes of blinding spotlights, serial-killer references, and deafening pop music on a work night. OK.

You did a great job, Mad. I bet you’ll be even better tomorrow night.

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