Hey Mark, be honest, you can’t actually almost cry every time your daughter performs with her dance team or with her dance studio, right? Sometimes, you are there because you have to be, right? I guess you’ve never seen my daughter dance if you think for a second my answer would be yes to those questions. And, it’s not just because of how good she is, there’s a lot of history I have with this dance thing. My wife has been dancing her entire life. So, seeing my daughter have that same passion for it always melts my heart. You might even say I would be a good wedding date because I love to make an idiot of myself on the dance floor. I have absolutely ZERO rhythm, but I really enjoy having a drink and getting in the middle of a dance circle. Getting to see my daughter stress about a performance, doubt herself and then seeing the final, beautiful performance always makes my heart skip a beat. I get to see lots of the behind the scenes footage, being home to hear of a new part in a ballet, or see the tears because her back is killing her, or getting the phone call when she made varsity dance team a couple years ago. I get to see all the good stuff before the audience. I get to be extra proud when I see her pull off a move she was so scared to mess up just a day before. Dance is a huge part of her life, so, it’s a big part of mine.
This dance year has been, well, what the right word here, maybe miraculous? From her dance team finally being able to practice and perform to her dance studio filming a ballet show and renting out a movie theater for all of us to get to watch it on. The lengths that all involved went to so the kids could do what they love will always be something I look back at during this long strange COVID time and smile about. Don’t let the media fool you, lots of heroes emerged during strange crazy times and I would put teachers, and dance studio owners right on that list. My daughter never stopped dancing; her ballet feet never got to rest. She always had that to look forward to, and to me, as a Dad, that’s all I need for her.
This year at her dance studio we knew was going to be an emotional one for my daughter. This was her best friends last year at the dance studio, as she is graduating. My daughter, being only a junior, I thought I would not have to deal with “lasts”, until I remembered her best friend. This girl has been my daughters everything for a long time. They are referred to as “The Meghan’s” at her dance studio. They come as a package deal, carpooling everywhere together, texting all damn day together, I love their friendship.
With it being her last they decided to do a special duo together, and they asked another senior they love to choreograph it. Another absolutely stunning dancer, owning every stage she is on. My daughter is incredibly lucky to dance at this studio, the talent is really off the charts, but they are all actually really good kids. As one Dad said to me at the latest recital “I’m not sure what it is, but we really got a good batch of kids” and I could agree more. So, they practiced this dance over and over, even showing me a few small clips as it came together, but always asking me to not show or tell Mom. They both wanted their Moms to be completely surprised, with the song choice, the costumes, everything.
They entered the duo in one of the recent competitions the studio participated in. It was in the time where not everything was opened back up, so only a few spectators could attend, and it would be live streamed for others to view. I had seen the full dance a week prior, so I knew what to expect, and of course, as they normally do, they crushed the performance. They both wept thru the performance as they danced their last dance together. And, their Moms smiled as they completely wept. And, their Dads, shed a few tears also. It was really a beautiful moment. And, when my Mom texted us after and said, “who was crying so loud I could hear it on the live stream?” I had to tell her it had to be the Moms, but I wasn’t sure, it was really the best gift those girls ever gave. Such a moving dance to gift to their Moms, but really, honestly, a better gift they gave to each other. They’ll grow up, become whoever they will be, make a million more memories, but this one, I know will travel with them. Two insecure little kids, becoming these confident, talented, beautiful humans together and sharing that stage throughout all of it was incredible to get to watch.
They performed it a final time last week at the final recital of the year. They cried again, a lot, and their Moms and Dads did too. Even though they had already done the performance before, it was somehow still so emotional. My daughter is really able to use her face when she is dancing, you can see her face performing as her feet move. She’s always been good at that. So, when she was weeping during the dance, I’m sure some just thought it was part of the performance. So much so, that during intermission as the studio owner was making a few announcements mentioned those were real tears as they performed together as best friends performed one last time together.
My daughter will get lots of lasts next year in her final year at her dance studio, but I’m so happy she was able to be such a big part of her friends lasts. Good humans these two Meghan’s. Glad they found each other; glad dance brought them together.
A thousand words written for your daughter’s probably ten thousandth dance performance? Yeah, I hate dance sometimes….