At the end of June, Hannah and Ellie's dance studio, Douglas Ballet Academy, held their dance recitals.
Apparently these recitals are a big deal here. I would know this because I waited for 3 hours in a line-up outside the studio on a Saturday morning to buy tickets to the shows. This in itself is not that exceptional. What is exceptional is that there were some moms who were camped out in lawn chairs waiting in the same line-up since 6 am that same morning - 3 hours before the tickets went on sale! Can anyone say "Toddlers and Tiaras"?
Hannah has continued with ballet this year. She has done for many years now and has been very dedicated to becoming a disciplined dancer. We have never pursued dance exams - it just hasn't been something we've wanted to do. In Winnipeg that hasn't been a big deal - but here, it seems everyone does the exams. The majority of the time in Hannah's weekly dance classes this year has focused on preparation for exams. Hannah found this a bit cumbersome and disappointing, and so she's made the decision to switch to a different discipline of dance next year. She's excited about the creative outlet that taking Contemporary dance will bring her.
This was Ellie's first year taking Jazz. We signed up for dance a wee bit late so some studios and many classes were already full. The Jazz class at this studio that still had room was one with girls in grades 5 and 6 who had been taking Jazz for several years. I knew Ellie was very flexible and eager so we gave it a shot... She's done so well. Imagine being 4 years younger than most of the girls in your class and to top it off, never taken a Jazz class before! I was so proud of her maturity and her attitude. She marched right in and made friends the first class. Her teacher was amazed at her flexibility. Mike and I are both stumped as to where she got it from.
Because the girls are part of a large dance studio, they had the recitals split into 2. This meant that both girls were in their own shows. This also meant that we would be sitting through 6 hours of dance on a Sunday afternoon and evening with an hour break in the middle. That's a lot of dance. That's a lot of sitting. Just ask my hip flexors which went into extreme stress mode the day after and put my back into some of the worst spasms I've ever had.
The studio takes their recitals seriously and puts on a full-length show that tells a story. There is amazing lighting, costumes, props, and a lot of preparation that goes into it. This year's show was called "Shipwrecked" and it took place at the Michael J. Fox Theatre here in Burnaby. It told a "Gilligan's Island" type story beginning on a cruise ship.
Ellie danced in the first show. That meant she was able to get ready at home and have a lot of pictures taken. From the amount of pictures taken of Ellie and the scant few of Hannah from this day, you'd think we were compensating for Ellie being the second born and having half the baby pictures of her we had of Hannah. The dancers in Ellie's group were grooms and brides - with Ellie being a handsome groom!
The money shot. For reals.
How can you do Jazz without doing Jazz Hands?
These are from the show itself.
See if you can spot Ellie with her lovely bride.
There were some other amazing performances...
After Ellie's show was over, we had a quick picnic supper on the lawn of the Theatre. Now it was Hannah's turn! She wasn't afforded the luxury of getting ready at home... she used the van and the bathroom at the theatre as her dressing room to transform herself into a Hawaiian hula dancer from the Island the ship ends up on. Let's just say Hannah wasn't too thrilled with being cast as a hula dancer. Ballerinas want to wear the tulle, the poof, the sequins, the taffeta - the whole nine yards! But a hula dancer she was, and we thought she was a fabulous one.
Here are some photos from her piece...
Try to pick her out.
Yes, that's Hannah leaping through the air!
Tired and happy at home after the performance...
It was a super long day filled with make-up and hairspray and jittery nerves, excitement, flowers and applause. We were proud of them. Putting your body on display in a vulnerable way through dance is not easy. It takes courage and hard work. It's also a lot of fun. The recital was a great reward for all the hard work over the course of the year.