Photo Credit: Ambrosius Studios
But by late summer, Abigail had decided she still wanted to dance. We determined it wasn't really feasible to continue with the classical ballet school in which the girls had most recently been enrolled (in conjunction with our homeschool association). But, after much research, I decided that a studio dance class offered through our YMCA would fit the bill.
She had to wait until late October to start - what an exercise in patience! - but thoroughly enjoyed both the dancing and her classmates from the moment it began. In fact, she quickly became the de facto class leader, which was really fun for her because, as she's noted several times, "I'm never usually the oldest anywhere!" And she was especially excited to learn from the start that there would be a real recital - something the girls experienced their first year in dance but had not had during their time at the classical ballet school.
And today was the big day!
Abigail's group was one of 18 classes - some with three- and four-year olds and some with girls as old as 13 - and each group performed twice. Yes, it was a pretty long recital! But the little girls were cute and funny - each class seemed to have at least one girl who was totally oblivious to the task at hand, choosing instead to stare at the lights or pick her nose! - and I was relieved to see that (unlike our first recital experience) none of the costuming or choreography was inappropriate. I wasn't really a fan of the hip-hop or pom numbers, but, by and large, I was pleased.
And Abigail did so well! She clearly enjoyed herself, and it seemed very obvious to us that she alone in her class really knew her stuff.
In fact, when we were eating at McDonald's afterward, an older lady came up and complimented her, saying she'd come to watch her young granddaughter in a different group but had noticed Abigail because she was so confident and good at her steps. Oh, if only I'd had the camera to capture her shy but beaming smile at that moment!
Of course, she's already planning to dance again in the fall. And, as I suspected (and hoped), Rachel's interest was re-piqued by watching her sister and the others today, and she will likely join a class, too.
I don't think every young girl has to take dance class - and we've had enough questionable dance school experiences to have left me very cautious about it (Most disturbingly during our first year, we faced an environment in which the teacher seemed bent on making the girls out to be JonBenet Ramsey wanna-be's and choreographed a daddy-daughter dance - not involving my girls, thank God! - in which the men cross-dressed!). But both Rachel and Abigail love to dance in their free time and are quite body-smart. So, having had a good experience with the Y this year, I'm more than happy to keep the calendar open for more dance in the fall.