- Written by Dalyce Suanez
The lights are out and the theatre is quiet… Or as quiet as it can be at a sold-out show when the diverse audience includes parents, grandparents and siblings, all of whom are devoted fans of the keen and uniquely talented performers about to go on stage.
Cut to back-stage. Literally hundreds of children are caught up in the non-stop game of ‘hurry up and wait.’ Parent volunteers patrol the halls and dressing rooms, dusting off costumes, doling out lipstick and most importantly, keeping the cast lined up and ready for their moment of truth. Dance teachers are strategically positioned on each side of the stage, providing their last words of wisdom to the groups they so carefully coached over the past year.
And if you are a parent sitting in the audience, the minutes just before the show that is about to begin are filled with nervous excitement, as you get ready to watch your child take the stage. You hold your breath when you hear the first notes of the music your child has been practicing to for months. And you watch their every step, hoping they don’t miss a beat. If you can do all of this dry-eyed, you are a seasoned veteran of the annual dance recital.
‘Tis the season - with spring officially here, winter activities are winding down. For the thousands of Calgary children who take part in dance classes, their months of practice culminate with the yearend recital. While this is an event that will clearly be enjoyed by the entire family, it is the dancers that reap the true benefits that come from being part of a committed dance ensemble.
At a time when childhood obesity is on the rise, emphasis is placed on exercise and the importance of providing your child with enough outlets to meet the recommended one hour of physical activity per day. For adults that have attempted a dance class, the answer is unanimous - dancing offers a solid cardio workout, while improving muscle strength, flexibility, poise and posture.
Dance classes can also help children experiment with goal-setting. Learning a routine and working toward a yearend recital are tangible targets children in dance aim to achieve each week and each year. Reaching these milestones teaches children direction, purpose and self-esteem, and these are qualities that will last a lifetime.
Performances and yearend recitals offer another means of boasting confidence. Having the courage to get on-stage in front of dozens and perhaps hundreds of people is a sure-fire way to keep shyness in check. On stage, children quickly learn that no matter what, the show must go on. Drawing upon this kind of confidence and resilience will help in presentation, public speaking and high-stress communication.
And dancing broadens the mind. Through dance, children are exposed to culture and music, fostering an overall appreciation for the arts. This is a positive interest many children continue to cultivate well after their dance career is over.
Now, back to the recital... Make sure your camera and video camera batteries are charged. Don’t forget the bobby-pins. And most importantly, breathe and enjoy! Bravo.
Dalyce is VP of Open2America and proud mother of Eva and Luca, who dance with Barvinok. For more information, visit www.barvinok.ca.