Never did I realize three years ago, when I enrolled Siella in a tutu tots class at Downtown Dance Factory, that we were not only signing up for a class, but joining a wonderful community of dance teachers and soon to be friends, from all over New York City. Siella was in a tutu tots ballet class for about a year, eventually advancing into KindiBallet, where was able to participate in the 2015 recital. While watching other performers during the show, she love the dancers in the hip hop class, and asked to join that class for this year. Following in her big sister’s footsteps, and basically coming to every one of Siella’s classes, Gemma joined tutu tots. She loved it, so for this year, the teachers suggested that she try KindiCombo classes, which teach ballet and tap in one class.
Having been part of the Downtown Dance Factory’s recital last year, I know just how big of a production it is, and the sheer dedication and talent of all of the students and teachers put into this weekend. The two hour performances are quite special, with each number practiced for weeks during class, and the most darling costumes. It was all much more elaborate than the dance recitals of my childhood. In fact, there are so many kids enrolled at DDF, that there were seven separate recital shows between Friday evening and Sunday afternoon. With three classes between my two girls, it meant three shows for us.
Siella was first up, with her Cherry Blossom ballet dance. She graced the stage, in her gorgeous kimono costume. She probably doesn’t realize it yet, but she has such a gift, and I hope she continues her practice, and her love for it persists. As the years go by, it’s fascinating watching her progress in class, paying close attention to her form. I was totally teary eyed watching her perform up there, with such poise and confidence. Such a proud mom moment.
Gemma had the late afternoon slot on Saturday, so after a quick brunch break, it was back for some more dancing littles. As some of you know, Gemma is a free spirit. She dons a fierce personality, and marches to the beat of her own drum. Sometimes there’s just no stopping her, which can be good and bad at times. During recital rehearsal last week, she wouldn’t take part in the number, refusing to do any of the moves. I was afraid that we would see the same performance, or lack there of, on recital day. Unsure, I dropped her backstage, giving her a little pep talk, reminding her to follow the older dancer, Grace in her routine. From the moment she walked on the stage, you could tell that she wasn’t going to exhibit the same bad behavior from rehearsal. She busted it out, throwing some Gemma personality into the mix, leaving the audience in tears, laughing. I couldn’t even keep my camera straight, I was laughing so hard. And that’s Gemma for ya.
Saturday left us wiped, but we had to do it all over again Sunday. Ryder had a baseball game before Siella’s hiphop performance. Jason took Ryder to the game, and I shuffled both girls over to the theater for the show. Siella’s hip hop number was to Rocky’s Eye Of The Tiger, with little mini boxing costume for all the pint sized dancers. She absolutely loved her costume and got dressed about three hours before her show time. Somehow, I was able to snag seats in the second row, so we were up close for the action. This was the last of seven shows for the weekend, so everyone was full of emotions. Excited to to have gotten through it all, sad it over, and probably exhausted, all at the same time. It was an emotional finale, and we all were just wowed once again by another round of truly amazing performances. Witnessing all these young performers working so hard after such arduous practice, left the audience overwhelmed.
With that, I am truly grateful to have my girls be part of this community. In fact, Ryder was so impressed with the shows, that he asked me to sign him up for the boys street dancing for next year! Naturally, I totally did as soon as we got home (well, after a quick dinner to celebrate our epic weekend). So proud of our little family right now. They are growing so quickly, and I feel so blessed to be able to let them grow up, exposed to everything this town has to offer.