Monday, May 12, 2008

Fancy Dancer, Fancy Fairfield

The weekend before last when the hubby, a man-pri-wearing bubby, and I traveled to Ohio, we had the pleasure of celebrating my brother The Intern's college graduation and of attending the dance recital of our niece "Fancy" (four years old today, NTB!). My mom (aka "Grammy") watches Fancy and her sister Swiper on most Mondays while LAP builds her bookkeeping empire. Grammy did some research and realized that Fancy was old enough to take a "Beginner Ballerina" class on Mondays. Fancy really enjoys taking the classes, and Swiper enjoys watching her big sister take the classes. All reports indicate that both girls enjoy a post-class lunch at McDonalds with Grammy and Papa.

Fancy's first recital was back in December and, unfortunately, I was not able to attend. I have seen the videotape of her performance several times though and have been impressed with Fancy's dancing and with the fact that through repeated viewings of the recital video, Swiper was able to master the entire routine as well. Indeed, the real joy of watching the recital DVD comes in watching a very focused and jubilant Swiper do each step of the routine to match her on-screen sister. Pretty darn cute, NTB.

When I found out that Fancy's recital was on graduation weekend and did not conflict with the actual graduation, I was delighted. You see, until two weeks ago, I had never actually attended a dance recital. I did take jazz and tap for one year, and my mom did in fact order the aqua and silver-sequined recital costume for me. Then, it turned out that the dance recital and my piano recital were scheduled for the same day. As I had been taking piano for a couple years already and perhaps because my parents knew before I did that I lacked the coordination to really succeed as a dancer,* the decision was made that I would participate in the piano recital.

Beyond my own lack of coordination and, to employ a DWTS term, "musicality," another factor informing the decision for me to skip the dance recital might have been the fact that my dance studio was of the trailer park variety. Now, I don't mean to use the descriptor "trailer park" in a snide, classist manner. Rather, I am stating a truth. The studio where I took my dance lessons was actually housed in a trailer (one of about ten or so trailers, both commercial and residential, that were parked near one of my town's elementary schools). I'm sure the instruction was just fine (indeed, I still know some of the steps to the tap routine) but the setting did not exactly inspire expectations of professionalism or elegance.

Fancy is a frequent visitor to Fairfield, OH, but is not growing up there as her mother and I did. I love my hometown and still consider it a wonderful place to grow up and in which to raise a family. When I visit now, I have to marvel at Fairfield's new "fancy" attractions. Rather than taking Fancy to a trailer for dance lessons, Grammy drives her to the Fairfield Community Arts Center. No such clean, well-designed, community building existed when I was young. This arts center is located in something called The Village Green, which includes a park, a state-of-the-art library, an Applebee's, a place called Symmes Tavern, statues, landscaping, an outdoor amphitheater, my personal flagship Kroger store, and shopping (to be honest, the shopping is not much to speak of--Fashion Bug, Dollar Tree, Radio Shack, and Hallmark are the main attractions . . . but still, the idea of downtown shopping is nice). Best of all, The Village Green houses a Fairfield location of Flub's (an ice cream place that deserves and will get its own post sometime this summer). After the recital, we all walked over to Flub's for celebratory cones. Pretty sweet, NTB.

But back to the recital. All of Fancy's numbers were just adorable. Her class is made up of 3 and 4 year-olds, and they definitely do their own thing on stage. Some girls do the actual routine, though perhaps a few beats behind the music and their teachers (who enthusiastically dance in the wings). Some prefer just to stand on stage and stare at their toes. Some pick their wedgies. Some pick their noses. Some just smile. I thought Fancy offered an exquisite combination of consistent smiling and semi-consistent dance moves. Most all of the dancers appeared to be having fun and this was definitely not a heavy-makeup-pageant-dress sort of recital--almost no blush or glitter in sight. I smiled and laughed and really enjoyed the entire event. I also now know that there exists in the world a sort of lycra sock that can be fashioned to fit over a tap shoe and then pulled up to look like a white go-go boot. I think the five and six year olds were wearing these amazing sock boots, and I have to say that I was mighty impressed and hope that Fancy gets a crack at some of those in a few years.

The rest of the day with Fancy Dancer in Fancy Fairfield, I will narrate with some photos.

Fancy striking a pose while Grammy did some pre-show day alterations on her costume.

Swiper and Bub were angels throughout the recital. They alternated between watching with rapt attention, doing their own hand motions along to the music, and standing in front of their seats dancing their little booties off. My purse was packed with fruit snacks and suckers, and the Bub did not require a one. He made it through the entire first half and Fancy's numbers post-intermission before the hubby had to take him to the lobby to run around.

The dancing was so inspiring that Bub felt moved to be "Footloose" during the recital. Let's hear it for the boy . . .

Sweet, sweet Fancy.

Swiper touches the stage and dreams of the Fall when she too will enroll in the Beginner Ballerina class.

Bub enjoys his Flub's in the Fancy Fairfield Village Green.

A very fancy day indeed.

*Further evidence of my lack of coordination is the fact that at the end of fifth grade, I tried out to be a sixth grade cheerleader -- there were 8 spots and 11 girls, and I did not make the cut. You will be happy to know that I survived this setback and have gone on to make a pretty nice life for myself, despite not being a cheerleader.


T-Baby said...

I will attest to the fact that MEP does still remember her tap routine. I challenged her on her boast and got to see an 8 month pregnant woman dressed in purple perform a tap dance. Only if I had a camera! I am sure this talent will rub off on my new son. NTB.

Anonymous said...

Personally, my ballet days were spent at Miss Shirley's. No recitals to speak of, though I do wonder if Fancy's recital lasted 3 hours and included grown women in flashy evening gowns salsa dancing or a marriage proposal on stage between two people apparently completely unrelated to the Fishers YMCA, as did my 4 year old niece's?

Actchy said...

I took a dance class in the seventh grade at a fancy Arts center with some of my girlfriends. One day, a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer showed up and snapped a number of photographs of our class, including four of me by myself, in close-up. I recall being devastated when the article in the paper didn't include my solo photographs, but rather, one of our hot instructor at the head of the class. With retrospect, I have a special place in my heart for the kind photographer who didn't publicize a photograph of my emaciated age-13 self, wearing spandex, to the greater Philadelphia region.

Anonymous said...

I have to smile just reliving the fancy day through your post and pictures. I do feel Charlie certainly caught on to the hand motions quickly. He watched and mimiced, very cute, NTB m

Land of Bean said...

I survived one whole ballet class at the tender age of 4 before it was agreed by all parties that this was not an activity I should be participating in. So it was back to climbing trees, beating up boys, and making divine mud pies. I am very excited to get my little one into those sorts of activities, though. I have to say that I think it was cruel and unusual punishment to ask an 8 month pregnant woman to tap dance!

E... said...

I also, had just one dance class. For me, it was also tap at age five. Since our entire house at the time was carpeted (even the kitchen), my dad had to fashion a large sheet of plywood for my practicing. I think it says something for my own coordination and dance aptitude that my brother, two at the time, picked up on the steps more quickly than myself. However, I still get a little urge to tap when I hear the song "Alley Cat."

Steph said...

What a pair of cuties!

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