I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know my daughter did modern dance. I knew she did something else at her tap class, but I thought it was jazz. Or is jazz actually modern? I don’t know. I might be a dance mum, but there’s plenty I still don’t know about dance.
But in the summer we learned that she would be doing her Grade 2 modern exam this autumn. This would be her first Grade 2 exam (she got distinction in both her Grade 1 ballet and Grade 1 tap last autumn).
The teacher said they had to practise over the summer holidays. There wouldn’t be time to re-learn what they had forgotten in September and October – they needed that time to polish and perfect their moves.
My daughter practised at least twice a week over the summer holidays. Her dancing was stunning and a real joy to watch. We had a wobble at the start of term when we realised we had nothing to play her CD on, but I got her a CD player which has been worth its weight in gold, and she got back to practising a couple of times a week.
There were also extra exam classes on a Wednesday (meaning she had to take a break from her street dance classes) and her regular dance classes.
When we first decided, way back at the start of August, that she would audition for the panto, I read that they mustn’t miss a single rehearsal. Obviously there wouldn’t be any clashes in November because we had nothing planned for November.
Apart from a modern exam.
I felt silly emailing her teacher in August to ask that my daughter be allocated an afternoon exam slot in November because of a panto she wasn’t going to get into.
But fate was clearly smiling on us, because the teacher was organising the exam timetable that very day. And, of course, my daughter did get into the panto.
She missed her final week’s classes due to the panto rehearsals. It was also really hard to make her practise modern when she got in from rehearsal at 6.30pm. To be honest, having dominated our thoughts for weeks, the exam was almost forgotten due to the sheer intensity of the rehearsals which had taken over our lives.
Thank goodness my daughter had got her modern nailed months ago! I just hoped she wouldn’t forget it because her brain was so full of panto dances.
Appearance is very important for classical dance (ballet, tap, modern), so she spent a lot of time spraying her hair into the most immaculate bun possible. Hair doesn’t have to be in a bun for modern, but with hair as long as my daughter’s, it’s the best way of keeping it neat. When she arrived (in good time), her teacher suggested she take her knickers off as they looked a bit lumpy. Then she decided she needed to borrow a smaller leotard off another family as hers was a bit baggy. She’s had it for two years and still hasn’t grown into it!
And then my immaculate girl was ready for her exam. She wasn’t at all nervous – she never is. She doesn’t understand why people would even get nervous. She skipped in with three other girls (they’re usually examined in groups of four) and she was gone.
The music I’ve come to know so well over the last few months could be heard floating through the door. Some of the routines and exercises had to be done individually, other parts they did as a group.
Half an hour later, they skipped back out again. Their faces were a bit redder and sweatier, but they were smiling and happy. The examiner was nice and had put them at their ease. My daughter was happy with how she had performed and confident that she will have done well – a merit at least, but maybe a distinction.
Now we just have to wait a few weeks for the results.
I’m very proud of my girl. Doing an exam in the midst of all her rehearsals can’t have been easy.