So when childless people go to a 4-year olds dance recital, you are pretty much assured that said childless people do not take said dance recital very seriously.
It's esp. difficult to take dance recitals of this type with anything but a grain of salt say, the size of downtown Denver, seeing as, at age 4, the specific youngster we were clapping for was one of the older young ladies. Want a definition of chaos? 15 two year olds in oversized purple tutus, running around a stage, squealing in octaves previously unheard by anyone but - well, dogs probably. "Dance" in the very, very loosest of terms.
I'll start with the parking lot. I have never seen, in all my young years, such an amazing array of SUVs in one place. (most with "W" stickers on the back windshield, although I saw one hippie station wagon with some ridiculous mother earth bumper sticker that I almost hugged. The car, not the hippie.) It was terrifying. Anyways - dance recital. Unbearably cute. Even the bitchiest, iciest, coldest of hearts, such as myself, melted a little. Okay, a lot. I was laughing so hard, I was in tears.
It was also a crisp 140 degrees in the junior high auditorium where this little festival was held, and I had already had one major heart palpitation/flashback episode walking in, because the building was an EXACT REPLICA OF MY MIDDLE SCHOOL AND HOLY CRAP WAS THAT EVER A BAD TIME IN MY LIFE OR WHAT. Grandparents of all shapes and sizes, sweating stage moms wielding mascara like branding irons, a whir of video cameras, and "seat saving" almost caused several meltdowns and I swear to you, I heard at least one mom utter "always was a total bitch" at anothers back. The fact that a three year old was wearing mascara? Thats really worthy of a whole nother blog post.
We had bets going in that we'd witness at least one dramatic from-stage tumble, several "HI MOM" shout-n-waves, a few bouts of tears, an at least one tutu lift/mooning. No tears, and no fall from stage, although several trips and plenty of hamming it up.
Really, the most fascinating thing was the (Kafkaesque, only because of the constant threat of imminent dance danger along with the odd animal refrences) storytelling. I was unaware that when girl children are very, very small, you cannot rely on music alone. Therefore, along with the visual entertainment, the audience was treated to some very stream-of-conciousness tales. The rhythm, it was not going to get them without some assistance. There was an overly condescending dance teacher (in purple metallic hippie pants with flowly slits up the side, they were a miracle of fashion) who read aloud to the girls over a microphone, instructing them as they seizured/plied along. In a 2-hour long program of probably 20 different "dances," (named such totally thrilling things as "The Faerie Princesses and the Queen," "The Faerie Princesses and the Unicorn*," "The Faerie Princesses at the Babbling Brook"), I'd guesstimate that 3/4 of the productions were narrated.
If only I had audio clips.
"The Faerie Princesses were very sleepy. (pile of 2 year olds and itchy mesh and Cover Girl products on the stage floor). But then the Faerie Princesses woke up! (children slowly use each other's dresses to extract themselves from increasingly chittering pile, sounding not unlike a pile of test mice, who've been sucking helium all afternoon.) The Faerie Princesses were covered in raindrops (children induce self-inflicted Shaken Baby Syndrome, trying to get those goddamn imaginary raindrops off their flowery ponytail holders.) Then the Faerie Princesses run to the babbling brook (all children but three or so scamper to a line taped across the stage. These three look incresingly concerned and confused, at least one exits stage right by plowing into a curtain.) The BROOK GIRLS. The brook! MADISON. Go to the brook, Madison. (Madison moons the audience.) THE LINE, MADISON. Okay good job. Now the Faerie Princesses see a unicorn and go play with her!"
Now, the mere mention of a unicorn got some pretty annoying and inappropriate applause from S. and I, because I mean: hot damn. A unicorn? Once again, and unfortunately, imaginary. But apparently, "unicorn" is code for RUN AROUND LIKE YR TULLE IS ON FIRE. RUN LIKE THE WIND. UNICORN = BATSHIT.
The rest of the narration goes something like this:
"BACK IN PLACE GIRLS. GIRLS. GIRLS. WHAT DO WE DO WHEN THE UNICORN LEAVES GIRLS. WE STOP RUNNING, GIRLS. HANNAH. HANNAH. HANNAH. STAY AWAY FROM THE EDGE OF THE STAGE HANNAH. MADISON. GET. BACK. IN. PLACE. (muffled request for a stage helper to go get a stray) OKAY. Ready? Time to bow ladies. BOW. NO. MAKAYLA. HANNAH. STOP.... BOW LADIES! DO YOUR CURTSEY! CURTSEY, LADIES!"
Cue music swell, cue baby wrangler volunteers onto stage, end scene.
Towards the end, highlights including every single child being handed a carnation bouquet and a very sharp and pointy trophy (bad idea #1) and then having all children on stage at one time (bad idea #2)to perform what was referred to as the "Grand Finale Animal Dance." At one point there was a duck imitation, also maybe a snake, or a lion. Again, not so much dancing, but do you really raise this as a point of contention? The "Grand Finale" also included the dance instructors son, probably age 12, and bearing a striking resemblance to a young Wiley Wiggins running back and forth on stage, throwing either the "devil" or a "rock-on" hand sign, while holding a paper mask over his face and sticking his tongue out. Damn those McGeary boys.
I have 80000 photos. None of them will appear here, as I find that more than vaguely creepy. Besides, someday, Madison X will be a knife-throwing feminist performer/poet, and will not, I repeat NOT, want a reminder of the "Unicorn Spring Flower Princess Tour '06."
Also, our girl (not Madison. Our girl stayed safe in the middle of the group, kicking when appropriate, cracking smiles when needed, and just kind of staying out of the way. Well done, little Princess. Much like how my father said he handled being in the Marines: Kept his head low and tried not to stand out too much) was most def. the cutest, and is named something perfectly reasonable and spelled traditionally, which makes dance-off cheering pretty easy. Yeah, I'm looking at you, MyKaylahlynn. What about it.
(* speaking of, awesome.)
* * *
Other weekend highlights: moving LJG, Agenda at Cue Bar, bridal shower, really nice party thrown by Sommer, car washing, mini-hikes with previously mentioned v. lazy dog, bill paying, car washing, and "Thank You For Smoking." If you've read the book, then you'll probably agree that Aaron Eckhart is perfectly cast. Additionally, Adam Brody reminds me EXACTLY of this guy I know in LA named Gabe. I'm thoroughly convinced that the screenwriters have had a Gabe run-in, which would be mind-boggling but possible. Anything is possible in Los Angeles.
Oh, also, my dog actually punched me yesterday. He has quite a hook. I have yet to decide if it was accidental or not.