Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

Dance recital

Today I went to my office, and in a brief sojourn there, got a great deal done. I drove into Dallas to spend more time at the sale at paularubia's bookstore. I found tons of poetry, some autographed by the poet, as well as novels, bird books, and other tomes, at frighteningly low prices. I left with a huge box of books, at a very low price. Had I a place to put them, I'd have bought a thousand books. I retreated to a lunch place for a late lunch, soaking in a new purchase, Lawrence Durrell's "Key to Modern British Poetry".

At home, I revelled in receiving payment for Scott_M's CD from an eBayer, and had a nice chat by IM with a friendly acquaintance fellow about my own CD. The third auction of my CD has already drawn a bidder, so this will mean 3 have sold so far. The bidders seem to be electric football fans--my aim is to make the avant-garde safe for people who like to watch plastic figurines gyrate on metal surfaces. Then I took a spin around the pond at Glendover Park, to get a little exercise in before we hit the road. We had a trip to Denton, some thirty five miles away. We were booked to see a dance class recital.

We picked up our friends Donna and Scott, and headed up the 35E freeway. We got to Denton, and had middle eastern food in a little grocery/cafe right down the street from the University of North Texas campus, which was all well and good, except that the sound of birds chirping sounded at the back of the restaurant. Call me conventional, but I don't really want birds chirping in my meal locales.

We found a parking place and headed into the oldish auditorium on the campus, which had the convetional auditorium seating, but for a huge pipe organ on the right side. Somehow, I had the impression that since my wife's and Donna's friend who was performing was an adult, the affair was to be more of an adult performance. Instead, I found this was a good old-time "dance recital", in which peope ranging from tiny tots to full-grown adults would be showing off their skills.

I had not been to a dance class recital since my sister, now 36, was 6 or so. Back then, I remember long lines of tutu-clad tots tap-dancing rather asynchronously while singing "The Good Ship Lollipop", in which ship, apparently, one sees a sugar cane rather improbably do a dance called the tootsie roll while the viewer lives with the constant foreboding, entirely natural in the candied setting, that over-eating can cause one to wake with what is euphemistically called an "ooo ooo tummy ache".

This dance recital started with the usual accoutrements of such affairs. While some of the most juvenile dancers hoofed their paces like sure-footed horses, a frank few of the toddler set seemed to view dance as an abstraction having little or nothing to do with their daily lives that evening. I was particularly taken by the blonde four year old boy, who had a knack for refraining from all dance-like activities other than a kind of spinning pirouette, in which he engaged with regularity, marching to the tune of a decidedly different drummer.

I usually don't go in much for professional dance, though folk dances like ballet folkloricos, when well done, catch my fancy, and I do like sometimes to see something in the modern or "free form" artsy genres. I'm of the mind who enjoys watching people in sheets with giant TV antennae on their heads slowly move in time to the music of the Residents. Although I love show tunes, a character flaw I know a few of my LJ friends do not share, I really do not much like Broadway dancing. I also have little sympathy with the newer, darker plays, because the musical seems to me a form too inherently silly to do much with hanging corpses and ambiguous plots. Give me four dollops of melody, and jaunty, humorous, socially conscious lyrics, and I am usually quite boomps-a-daisy.

I worried that I would have to sit through too much Broadway or too much of the "Swan Lake" type ballet repertoire. Here, however, the instructor wisely struck with the "classics". We were regaled by Sarah Brightman's version of "Whiter Shade of Pale" as dancers balletically twirled. Instead of "Rites of Spring", we got Bryan Ferry, and that's a fine trade for me. Even Enya, who can incite debate on quality generally, can be preferable to much of the "proper" dance accompaniment (and it is always interesting to hear just how many voices and languages she layers into those songs).

Our friend C. did a noble job tapping with a group of other women,
to a tune from "Chicago" (which musical and movie I have remained altogether immune to, although I am anything but immune to Bebe Neuwirth). She's really good at it.

At intermission, I mentioned to my wife how I was enjoying the show, but how I could only take limited dollops of dance fever. She gave me that look which, in spousal silent communication, clearly meant "Hey! Parents are present!". I hastened to compliment every dancer. The second half of the show continued in the vein of ballet and tap and jazz and jaliscan and hip hop and belly dancing (to curious music I can only call 'Eurotrash disco goes to Baghdad') and free form dance. It's no longer a tap, ballet or jazz dance world only. One song of construction noises could have appeared on an album called "Vibrating Electric Fields". The whole show was entirely wonderful, I must admit, and I did not parent a single child in that room (and my life is so ordinary that I don't even have to add the traditional Arkansas caveat "that I know of" to that statement).

I was touched by the next to last piece. A girl, possibly six, came out in a powered wheelchair, accompanied by two similarly aged dancers who had full use of their legs. The wheelchair had been festooned with huge, colorful/gorgeous butterfly wings. The girl in the chair began to dance, moving her legs a bit in the chair, and then wheeling the chair along with the choreography. The other two girls danced along, sometimes riding on the back of the chair in "assume the point" ballet positions, sometimes dancing separately alongside. The whole thing was poignant and real and the audience stopped dead in its tracks and then I nearly cried, cried for children who face challenges and try so hard, and then I realized that this girl wasn't crying, and she didn't want to be special, and she was just part of this dance along with two other little girls, and I checked my tears and watched her chair "pirouette" (in my mind, anyway) and slowly spin.

Soon, the dance was over, and rather than a chore, I felt attending had been a privilege. But I wish they'd done the "Good Ship Lollipop" rather than that tune from Chicago in which the women in jail brag about their murders. What a fun night! What fun that a technical writer by day tap dances by night. Tomorrow I want to tap dance my way through mowing my yard, getting work done and taking a tapping nature hike.
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