Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Between the Both of Them, They'll Lick the Platter Clean

Practicing stage entrances and exits -- my purple-skirted darling leads.

These two daughters of mine are like double-sides of a page torn from the same book.  Their hearts match in so many ways that I sometimes forget they aren't the same age.  Lauren is completely capable of most things Mia can accomplish, and Mia is enamored of the same things Lauren finds wonderful. 

They are so alike. 

But there is something.  (Many things.  But for today, just this one-- )  Lauren loves ballet with every delicate inch of her soul.  She loves ballet so much that she sometimes cries after practice is finished, wanting to do more dancing.  And Mia begs to never do ballet again.  She's sure she'd prefer karate.  Or art class.  Or a hamster.

So there are these two girls, so recognizable to each other, yet harboring such vast preferential differences.  And I'm beside myself: what will happen with recitals in a few days?  Though Lauren adores ballet from the tips of her toes to the smile on her lips, I'm fairly certain she won't adore the attention that comes along with being on stage.  She hides behind my legs very often and cannot find her tongue in group settings.  Her shyness hasn't abated since toddlerhood.  I even wonder if she'll step foot onto the stage, when the moment comes. 

She loves her costume, she loves her routine, she loves her teacher, but she might be too shy to show us on Sunday afternoon. 

Then there's Mia.  Her recital is a few weeks away, but she seems completely ready.  While she professes to hate ballet, I suspect it's the one-hour round trip on practice days that really irks her.  Because in practice, she smiles and laughs and performs.  When she has an audience, she half-forgets what she's doing, but she loves the audience.  I have a feeling she'll thrive on-stage. 

So there's this girl who might want so badly to dance but not have the nerve to actually do so.

And there's this girl who couldn't possibly care less about dancing but might become a spotlight-lover on the night in question.

I've told Lauren how much fun it will be when she gets to dance on stage and how excited I am to watch her and her friends dancing in their costumes.  How else should we prepare her?  How can I encourage her if she gets too nervous?  (I'm not above a bribe...)  Have your kids ever gone through episodes like this?  Have they surprised you in their bravery? 

Friends, tell me your stories because I'm so hoping to see both of my sweet ballerinas in their first performances--


  1. Oh, mine have surprised me. In both directions - seemingly confident until the time to perform, painfully shy until called to perform - and both have met my expectations squarely.

    Read a book about performing on stage and ask Lauren what she things she'd feel like doing that.

    Tell her right where you'll be and if she's nervous to look at you.

    Mostly, tell her it's okay. She'll perform when she's ready. But you know that.

    1. You're always so encouraging, Kate! Thank you :) We're reading lots of Belinda the Ballerina books in hopes that they'll keep her excited to go up on stage. They're not addressing stage fright in particular, but still...I hope!

  2. I hope she surprises you and doesnt get to shy... I have a very shy little girl so understand the shy child hating being the center of attention. When my son was the ring bearer in my cousins wedding I was SO scared he wouldnt walk down the aisle because of all the people, and then I was afraid he wouldnt stand on the stage, and then afterwards co-operate for pictures. The thing that I did was have a big ol bag full of candy and treats if he preformed :o) It worked (though in the pictures he has a cheek full of some yummy goodness)! I hope the recital goes well!

    1. Bags of candy! Yes! I shall prepare wisely :)

  3. We've yet to go through this, but I'm dying to hear how it goes and living vicariously through you until my own little snuggle bug is "ballerina-sized"

    1. Oh, snuggle bugs and ballerinas...they're all too sweet! I'll be sure to post photos for your benefit :)

  4. Katherine and Penelope are both gearing up for their Spring Ballet Recital this weekend and I know exactly how you feel. I'm pretty confident that both my girls know what they're doing this time, but when Katherine was three (and getting ready for her first recital in Italy) I didn't think there was ANY chance she'd actually perform. Then last fall when Penelope's first recital rolled around I had my doubts again. They both danced though, and they both surprised me.

    I didn't try to convince them though. Actually, it was more the opposite. I helped them get all fixed up for the big day, we talked about how exciting it was going to be, what it was going to feel like to be on stage, etc., etc., but I made sure that they (and everyone else, for that matter; other parents are the worst) understood that they didn't HAVE to dance. I mean, for goodness sakes, they were three! If they wanted to wear their costumes and sit in my lap to watch the show, that was fine with me. No pressure. This year I think I'd seriously try to talk Katherine into performing (but still not Penelope) because she's older and her dance is partnered and it would be obvious if someone was missing, but otherwise I wouldn't care. So I guess if I were you and Lauren balked at the critical moment, I'd probably just ask if she was sure, remind her how much FUN she might have performing, and then respect her decision. After all, her confidence will grow as she does. At this point it's more important for her to enjoy the class (and to know you're proud she's worked so hard) than it is for her to "show" anyone anything.

    Oh! Wait. One more thing: Is her class performing by themselves? At Katherine's first recital there was an older girl (probably 7 or 8 years old) in a beautiful costume who held K's hand backstage and encouraged her to perform. If that girl hadn't been there I don't think there's any way K would've danced. She was so nervous! As it turned out though, she STILL remembers that girl and all the fun they had. It was such a help!

    Good luck! :-)

    1. You're a fount of ballerina-mom-wisdom, Em! Thank you!

      I think we'll be fine no matter what, because I plan to do exactly what you suggest: encourage and remind her of how much she loves to dance, and then let the decision be hers. I've already talked to her teacher about it, too. I told her that I was worried about Lauren possibly backing out at the last moment, and she said 'That's fine, too -- some of them do that and it's all right.' I could have kissed her, especially since that's not the vibe she puts off. But this is all for FUN, and I don't want to tarnish her pure love of the dancing by pushing her into something terrifying.

      And there are older girls performing, too. Maybe K's experience will be duplicated on this continent! I rememeber you telling me that story a few years ago -- so sweet.

      (Also, your fb post about not having hairspray has me concerned. Because not only do I NOT have hairspray, but I don't have blush, either. And both girls are supposed to have 'light blusher'. So serious!)

  5. Is it weird I'm a little bit jealous I don't have this problem? ....see my little one was a little of both so we bowed out......now of course she's begging to start dance class again....we'll see next year, maybe she and Lauren can get in the same class and that will help. As for you my dear, I think it sounds like your friend Emily is very wise! Good luck and just try to have fun with it instead of stress...the girls will follow your lead!

    1. It would be SO awesome if Lauren and Savannah could dance together! We'll be with Ms. Heather next year on Thursday mornings at 11. I think...

      And do you guys want to come to the recital? I'll shoot you an FB invite :)


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?