If you follow this blog or my Instagram or my Twitter then you can’t fail to know that this last weekend all our girls were involved in their dance school bi-annual showcase production. It takes a few days of being laid up with tonsillitis to both process what we saw and get around to writing about. Here are my reflections on a weekend filled with absolute, 100% pride.
I grew up in a house that sat opposite a community centre. Each week dancing classes would take places and I’d see the steady stream of girls coming and going. I never considered asking to go myself and so my knowledge of dance is limited to my unique brand of 80s dancing. However, our girls have been dancing for a number of years now. I often see the joy they get from it and wonder if I could have enjoyed it had I gone across the road and tried it. I could have been like Billy Elliot.
Not the first showcase
Our older girls, L and G, both did some dancing with a school in Dewsbury when they were younger. But, we became a little frustrated with that school in terms of their attitude towards us and sadly we pulled them out. However, after moving to North Yorkshire we got them all into the local dance school. In 2016 they took part in their first showcase.
I can still remember that weekend as a hectic but thoroughly enjoyable experience and watching our girls being on stage was a joy. It also opened our eyes to the just how much D enjoys being on stage performing. She surprised us in such a good way. Her smile never dropped and as a result of that weekend, we upped the dancing for them all so that they could all do every class possible.
Having a hobby outside of school that they can enjoy so much and gain so much from became really important.
Hard work and planning
I can’t understate how much planning the small, but talented, faculty at the dance school do for these showcases. It is a full on 2-hour song and dance spectacular. Their hard work for the last few months, on top of the usual dance classes (and in some cases day jobs), is nothing short of amazing.
But I must also say that the kids, those students have worked so damn hard. And, in reality, they only started properly rehearsing in January for this too. The ages at the school range from 3 – 19. It doesn’t matter how old they are – they’ve all worked very hard indeed. From our own girls perspective, they’ve given up even more free time in the evenings as well as on weekends to work for this.
They say that you’ll never work a day in your life when you do something you enjoy. That can be said of our girls who not only love going to all their dance classes but have loved the extra work for showcase too.
A hectic weekend
Showcase weekend started last Thursday with the first run-throughs at the venue, a local secondary school. Helen and I are both licensed chaperones with the county council so we were there, along with many other parents giving up their time, to look after the kids while the rehearsals went on. That was a privilege in itself to see some of the routines being worked through and really wet my appetite to see the full show.
On Saturday things got hectic-er! After dropping Helen and the older girls at the venue I then had to circle back home with D and V to collect the dogs. We put them in kennels for the weekend as we weren’t going to be home much. After dropping them at the kennels it was time for us to get to the venue too. Once again we were both chaperones for the afternoon’s dress rehearsal. This was brutally hectic for someone who had never done anything like this before (i.e. me). I was allocated the boys dressing room where we had 10 in our charge ranging from 8 to 18.
Our shift backstage ended at 4.15 and we then headed front of house to take our seats for the first performance.
The opening show
At least one of our girls was on stage in 24 out of 37 routines. We were ready to see all the hard work bear fruit. First up was the opening number with the senior dances as air hostesses and airline pilots. With an “around the world” then this was a brilliant opening to the show. Don’t worry, I’m not going to give you a run through of each dance! Seeing L up there in the senior group looking extremely grown up and doing something she loves was so magical.
I could find highlights in all the dances, I really could. Our girls were superb – of course, we would say that as any proud parents would. But ALL the dancers were superb. I had tears throughout the show but I don’t think any more so than the act 1 finale. They did Lord of the Dance (aka Irish dancing) and oh my word was that good. The emotional music combined with the noise made from 40 tap dancers just got me right in the heart!
We had L in so many senior numbers, Cotton Eye Joe and Objection Tang being highlights. G looked graceful in her contemporary group. V was perfect in her Chinese dance as well as being a very convincing Tinkerbelle. And D stole the show for me as Peter Pan in the musical theatre and drama combined piece.
Then came Sunday
I thought they would all be worn on on Sunday morning. They weren’t, they were up and raring to go for two more performances. We had 10 family member coming to the matinee. But the mini Beast from the East was threatening to stop them from travelling. Thankfully Yorkshire got of lightly enough for them to make it.
Once again we were chaperoning backstage and would be all day. Between the two shows, we sneaked the girls out to the foyer to see their family. We timed it just right to see them coming through the doors. The fact they all had red eyes from the tears told me all I needed to know. They loved it and along with what plenty of others have said (including some teachers who went) said it was so professional.
Backstage the atmosphere was fantastic. It’s hard to put into words just what it was like. Yes with a lack of heating it was blooming freezing for us not dancing and running around like idiots but it really was electric. Come the evening performance there were also tears from those seniors soon to be leaving the school as they head off to university and college. The younger students look up them so much. It made me realise that come the next showcase our eldest will be approaching 17 and that could be her last too!
Was it all worth it?
Any parent involved will tell you just how hectic the last few months have been. Rehearsals, home practice, learning lines, sourcing some of the costumes, stitching and sewing and getting the hair right was all consuming. I overheard one parent telling another that they won’t let theirs do the next showcase as it’s been too much for them? What?! You do this for your kids. You give them opportunities and you allow them to indulge in something they love. Yes, it’s been tough and Helen has done far more than I have, I both thank and appreciate her for it.
To answer the question “was it all worth it?” – hell yes, it was. I would, and will do this over and over again. I get so much enjoyment from seeing our girls enjoying what they do that I could live on that feeling of pride they give me.
Well done girls. Well done all of you!
Thanks for reading.