Tom and I attended a Holiday Dance Recital on Saturday afternoon. We thought we were going to watch our youngest granddaughter dance, but Jess explained the recital had a different focus than usual.
It was going to be a fun afternoon with the spotlight shining on some of the smallest dancers, tiny little kids brand new to dancing. They were a joy to watch. No two were in sync with each other. In the spotlight, some froze, shyly looking out at the audience. Some swayed from side to side, trying to move their feet in time with the music. One little girl spent the entire recital in danger of losing the tutu around her waist. She was adorable.
Another little girl with hair askew dancing with every fiber of her being showed no concern she wasn’t in time with the music. Simply didn’t care she was on the wrong foot most of the time. As her group finished their dance, she ran back on stage. Obviously, she was having a blast and wanted more. An older dancer came and led her off stage, but she didn’t leave without a giant smile and one more enthusiastic wave to the audience. Her exuberance brought smiles, laughs, and a big round of applause.
The audience enjoyed the lively, toe-tapping Christmas music. They snapped lots of pictures to preserve their kids’ performances on film, clapped along with the music, and applauded enthusiastically for the sweet, precious, little kids performing for the first time on center stage.
The music was loud and featured fun selections like I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas; Do You Want to Build a Snowman, All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth, Jingle Bell Rock, and Let it Go.
Sandwiched in between the younger kids’ dance numbers, the older girls performed a few lyrical and ballet numbers, but mostly their role was to assist the younger dancers. The day belonged to the little ones.
We are used to attending competitions; where there is a more serious attitude in the air. As the snow fell outside on Saturday, the air inside the auditorium was filled with a bright holiday spirit. This dance recital was more about fun than being flawless. It was a delightful way to spend a cold, snowy December afternoon finding that the spirit of Christmas was alive and thriving.
We’ve been watching our granddaughter dance since she was three. She’s pretty good, works hard at her craft. She simply loves to dance and it shows in her every move.
I love it when she and her friends dance together, exhibiting such graceful, elegant movements that create beautiful, stunning performances. A close-knit group of hard-working young ladies that love to dance together, like to act silly, goof around before and after performances, take a million selfies. But hitting the stage as a duet, trio, or in various groups they become serious, their bodies performing in perfect harmony. Arms, legs, feet all move in sync with one another.
They didn’t start out in sync. It took years to perfect their craft. Each of them has put hours of work into their dance moves, splits, cartwheels, backflips and unbelievable jumps. Practicing and rehearsing until the moves and the jumps became like second nature.
Funny, it’s the same in life; we spend years trying to land on the right foot. To dance in time with the music and learn all the right moves. We learn to take the good with the bad. We fall down and learn the importance of getting back up.
There are so many lessons to learn along the way. We face each test without answers being provided at the end of the book. We just begin to figure it all out, when our hair turns white and our bones start to creak when we walk.
We’ve perfected our routines, grown accustomed to doing the right moves. Just in time to realize we are once again out of step. A new generation is hard at work, practicing and rehearsing their moves until they become like second nature.
As they take center stage, I wish them good luck on their journey. I leave the stage with gratitude in my heart, a smile on my face, and one last enthusiastic wave to the audience. It was a great show. I had a good time.
My high kicks and jumps are safely stored in my memories. I have found a new stage where I don’t have to perform much anymore.
Life doesn’t slow down for any of us. Getting old is a commonplace experience, it happens to all of us. We learn to play the hand we have been dealt.
I find this stage to be a place of contentment that only requires an appreciation for life, an acceptance of the ailments this age brings and learning to be comfortable just being me.
Ending on a Positive Note: Life is a cycle. There is always someone entering and exiting the stage. Our job is to work hard and accept our proper place in the cycle. Try to be happy and live the best we can.