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Friday, January 27, 2006 | Parentally Incorrect
My daughter may not ever become a dancer but she definitely is an entertainer.
That was my first thought after watching Alex kick her way through her first dance recital at the La Mesa Rec Center.
Alex has been taking dance lessons for a few months but because of my day job, I missed most of the rehearsals. My wife told me I was missing a great show because while Alex and her fellow dancers lacked the panache of the Bolshoi Ballet, they had more spontaneity. Much more spontaneity. As in no-one-knows-the-dance spontaneity.
I got a chance to see for myself when I ditched work the other day to see the final rehearsal before I got to see what I called the “Big Shoo.” Big mistake on my part. You see, Alex is not familiar with Ed Sullivan, nor was the dance teacher, so Alex thought I was talking about a “big shoe” and her teacher had no idea what I was talking about.
I have since learned to pronounce the word “show” properly.
The song chosen for Alex and her fellow two-year-old terpsichoreans was the classic Bryan Hyland hit, “Itsy-Bitsy Teeny-Weeny Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini” so, naturally, the gals wore pink bikinis during their number.
Watching my daughter during rehearsals, I learned a few things. First: She’s like Frank Sinatra. Legend has it that the Chairman of the Board always did his acting work on the first take and so does my precious child.
The first run-through she was almost perfect. By that, I mean she had it 70 percent down. I was in tears seeing Alex shimmy and shake to the strains of a pre-Beatles No. 1. The later run-throughs confirmed for me that she’s my daughter because A) we’re both natural hams and B) we’re both easily distracted.
The next few days, we talked about the show but I tried not to dwell on it because I didn’t want her to get nervous or freeze up by the time she was on stage (although I figured it was possible because you can’t perform “Itsy-Bitsy Teeny-Weeny Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini” in a one-piece with a coat).
When the big performance finally arrived, my wife put Alex in pigtails and she looked so adorable. So did the other girls but, to be fair, my eyes were focused on my daughter and how she might react when she was onstage. I’ve seen too many people freeze up under the lights and wanted to be there to support her if she got that deer-in-the-headlights look when it came time to perform in front of hundreds of grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, parents and neighbors.
I needn’t have worried. The problem wasn’t getting her on the stage. It was getting her off. She thoroughly enjoyed “shaking her booty,” which was one of the many dance moves taught to her by her dance instructor, who probably deserved combat pay for volunteering for the job.
I was so happy to see her doing well and, more importantly, enjoying it that tears welled up in my eyes.
My nephew saw the waterworks and asked why I have tears and I told him, “Because I’m happy.”
So was Alex. She happily posed for pictures but when I came up to congratulate her, she made it clear what she wanted.
“Where’s my flower?”
Uh, I knew I forgot something. Luckily, the dance teacher gave all her students a rose so they could feel like true dance divas.
It’s been a few days but Alex is still enjoying the flower, though her mother and I have limited the hours when she can dance with it in her teeth.
I don’t know if this recital will lead to a career in the performing arts or if Alex will even take more dance classes but I do know that she has gone through an important rite of passage and since we have it on tape, we will be able to torture her with it for years to come.
David Moye is a La Mesa-based writer whose first stage appearance was as “Turkey Lurkey” in the Maryland Avenue Kindergarten production of “Chicken Little.” And, yes, the critics raved. He can be reached at