Wednesday, December 03, 2008


In the Lynley Anne Ward School of Dance 2008 Show Hazel, Iris, H and K were in Group B; they were a Licorice Allsort and 3 Gummy Bears in The Chocolate Factory. They've been learning their dances all this term. The family only spent about a month working up to it with weekend rehearsals dotted here and there in the busy schedule of parental mountain biking, ultimate frisbee, role-playing, family visits, brunches, shopping, and barbequeing. 

But these last 4 days were dedicated to the show. On Saturday we lived at the Memorial Theatre; the girls had theatre rehearsals, a setting one with lights and props and effects starting to go in. I, from a drama background, was struck by the cavalier attitude dancers have to words. It seemed to me that Grandpa Joe (Felix Sampson) was being directed to make up things to introduce some scenes as we went along, right on the day of the first show!  Even though I often start with how a character moves in order to work out how to get inside their head and find out what might come out of their mouth I was amazed that of course he remembered his lines beautifully, they seemed in-character and it worked well. 

Almost immediately after that was the Dress Rehearsal. It's hard work, waiting, always alert for your cue, thinking about all the other dances, working out what the director is asking for and willing the dancers on stage to give it. By the end I was ready for a snooze but Hazel and Iris wanted to see the show and, as there are two Group A shows and two Group B shows, they were able to do so on Saturday night. 

We were swept off our feet by the beauty of the transition from backstage to front-of-house. I always am. Is there more magic in a show where I know intimately what it has taken to make it or one where it's all a slick mystery? Not sure. We were amazed at how many of the dancers we know. We saw some of our best loved bigger kids and our babysitter Siobhan Enright perform with wonderous grace. 

On Sunday we took things quietly, and on Sunday night Grandma, Ruth and Damon came to the show. I was on duty as a supervising parent. I had a lot of good ideas for things to bring but only managed a a Paddington novel (successfully read aloud to make a calm atmosphere), a packet of biscuits (not chocolate because it stains), and some little mouthful muesli bar-lets (which can be popped into the mouth without harming the lipstick). I did not bring the water jug or the grapes, crackers, and cheese I had bought for the purpose.

I was most surprised at myself when I found myself giving a wonderful pep talk to 13 agog Licorice Allsorts

"I saw the show last night and I saw the Group A Licorice Allsorts. I looked at them and I thought Wow! these guys are great! but I know that the Group B Licorice Allsorts are even more amazing! You people know your dance utterly, you own it, and you can go on that stage and do it with as much vivacity and verve as any dancer in this show, and all the adults in the audience will be thinking I wish my child was a Licorice Allsort, they're so lovely!" 
"Yes, Edward?"
"Is my lipstick all right?"
"Yes, you look great!"
"I'm scared."
"Well, do you know what they call people who are scared and then go on and do the thing they're scared of anyway?"
"Brave. That's what courage is, it's feeling the fear and doing it anyway, it's being nervous and putting on a beautiful smile and reaching your energy out past the ends of your arms and legs and zapping the walls with your star jumps!"

We'll have the DVD of that show (possibly before Christmas) and I think we'll have a movie party with the girls some time when things have settled down. 

Last night I was in the audience when the kids were on; they were wonderful of course. Relatedness is a funny thing; Hazel wasn't in the front of her group this time but she was the star of that scene for me, and then these little tiny Gummy Bears came on and the whole theatre said "awww" and I perceived my nieces and my Iris as obviously the Gummy Bears with the wiggliest bottom wiggles and the most beautiful smiles and I felt a little sorry for all the people who were thinking that their Gummy Bears can hold a candle to mine. 


Blogger Karen said...

Though I didn't get to see them, I am absolutely certain they were the most perfect licorice allsort and gummi bears in the world... and I am considerably less biased than you:-)

9:41 PM  

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