Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Journey of the First Year (Part 1)

With my daughter recently celebrating her one year danciversary (the day she began ballroom dancing) on June 10th, it got me thinking that we should be chronicling this journey.  She began dancing when she was three, after I took her to see the Nutcracker performed by the Houston Ballet.  She told me she was going to be a dancer when she grew up, and I patted her on the head and said, "Of course you will, sweetie," in probably the most condescending way an adult can.

It hasn't been an easy road.  She threw herself into contemporary dance (quite literally, as I describe contemporary dance as throwing oneself on the ground emotionally) and was taking private lessons in pointe, yet still managed to injure herself more often than not.  Ballroom started out as a lark, really.  I think I've dreamed of her competing on So You Think You Can Dance way more than she has, and so when I found a sign advertising a six week ballroom course during a time when her dance school was on hiatus for the summer, I gave them a call.  When they told me that they didn't take younger students, only people 18 and older, I'll admit that I got irritated, and determined that I would find someplace that would teach an almost-thirteen-year-old.  My first call was to Fred Astaire in Clear Lake, and they said they'd love to work with her.  I had no idea how much that phone call would change both of our lives.

I see moms bringing in new students now, and I have to laugh at myself, because I was THAT MOM.  You know, the one who takes hundreds of pictures and videos of her precious angel and how good she was.  My son started taking lessons about the same time, for fun, and he was subjected to similar treatment, the poor boy.

Her first lessons were with Richard, and she picked it up really quickly.  She ended up only taking four lessons of basics before they moved her into their Bronze program.  I credit a lot of that to her prior experience, but she has always had a great deal of natural ability, so it wasn't too surprising.  In fact, they recommended fairly quickly that she participate in a "spotlight" dance at the celebration for her promotion into Bronze (level passing that they do twice a year).  She attended her first in August of 2014.

Before that, though, she began attending all of the group classes available.  We could only afford for her to take one private lesson per week, but she gets all of the extra practice she can.

 She attended weekly parties with her brother, who "happily" danced with her.

 Sometimes her brother would even go to group classes, too, so they could learn the same steps.

During all of this, she was still attending camps at her main dance studio, but was starting to pull away from it a bit emotionally.

 At this point, they began focusing on her cha cha for the spotlight.

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