Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Performance Magic!

When my daughter was little she loved to put on dance shows for me.  We had a brick fireplace that was her stage.  She would run out of the room (or backstage) for costume changes and she would even pretend to come out at the end of the show and do a "meet and greet" with the audience (me and my husband.)

Her understanding of dance as a performance came from us taking her to see dance shows.  I am not talking about Broadway but whatever local dance company or school was performing, sometimes in the park or in a theatre or high school auditorium.  When my husband and I would take her, I would explain that we were paying money to buy tickets.  The tickets were to prove we paid so we could go in and out of the theatre.  The programs that we got told us who was performing, who worked on the show and gave us information about the performance.  I would take her up to the stage, if it was accessible, and have her touch it.  I would point out musicians in the pit, if we were fortunate to go to show with live musicians.  And if there were ushers, she would learn how they make sure everyone is in the right seat.

Any opportunity to meet the performers was always pure gold.  I would point out the costumes, hair and makeup.  I would let her know they are people like me and her.  They practiced often, possibly auditioned and put time, energy and love into their performance.  I loved her look of pure awe, mouth open, eyes wide whispering her questions to me.

Her shows at home were filled with all of these elements.  She would make us "pay"  for tickets at her make-shift box office.  She would show us to our seats and even "sell" us concessions at intermission.  My favorite part of her shows were her ""meet and greet" after.  The way she held out her hand to shake ours.  Her declaring that she was one of the performers and asking if I had any questions.

She is 7 now and she is still in awe when we go to shows.  It is a very special time we share waiting for the lights to go down, the music to begin and the curtain to open.  We hold hands, and giggle.  This live performance can't be rewound, paused or recorded to watch later.  We are experiencing a moment together that we will share in our memories forever.

I encourage everyone to take a child to see a live show.  So much can be learned about dance and the art of creating.  And it is pure magic!

Have fun seeing a live show with a child in your life!


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