A few months ago, before the summer holidays, my daughter’s ballet teacher gave out a letter about a choreography concert she was planning. The girls could work on their own, or with friends, to choreograph a ballet, tap, jazz or modern routine, and they would perform it at a special concert in October.
My daughter and her two friends instantly decided to work together. It’s strange the way the three have them have been drawn together in recent months. One is a girl from her school and they’ve always got on well, despite being in different classes. The other goes to a completely different school. For a long time, she and my daughter weren’t friends. But over the last couple of years, their class has really shrunk as kids have got to the age where they give up ballet. There are a couple of other girls of their age who still do ballet, but these three are the only ones who do both ballet and tap/ modern/ jazz (they learn all of those in one lesson). They are also the only three who do exams and the ones who their teacher has picked up on as being the most talented. So they’ve grown together.
But then the summer holidays came along and nothing else was said about working together. I didn’t even have any way of contacting the girl from the other school. But my daughter wasn’t going to sit around and wait for them. So she started working on her own thing
She experimented with a couple of tracks, but quickly opted for Passenger’s Let Her Go. She was going to do ballet (with a little bit of contemporary thrown in), as that’s her strongest style. It amazed me how quickly she pulled something together, interpreting both the music and the words, to come up with something truly beautiful. She honed it over the holidays, adjusting it and tweaking it, until it was almost perfect. There was a bit where she wobbled, so she practised it again and again, until she didn’t wobble any more. She bought herself a costume – a delicate white leotard with a floaty dress attached.
At the end of the holidays, the teacher emailed to find out who was dancing a solo and who was dancing with friends. I emailed her back and said if the other girls say they’re dancing with my daughter, they’re not, because she’s now come up with a solo.
And the other girls did say they were dancing with my daughter. But her lovely teacher said she could do both.
The girls didn’t practise their group dance until school went back. Luckily, one of the mums had come up with a concept, as they had very little time to get together. They would start off with the intro of Strictly, then one by one they would do a little solo – one ballet, one tap and one jazz – before coming back together for a final ballet dance. It was a lot to fit into a minute and a half!
None of the girls wanted to do tap, but I made my daughter do it as she was lucky enough to have her own dance too. It seemed only fair. They all chose their music for their individual bit and a very eclectic track was pulled together, which included a Coldplay song, All That Jazz and Uptown Funk. The routine required a bit of acting as the three girls shoved each other off the stage and tried to get the attention of the audience. It was either going to be brilliant or a spectacular failure.
There were nearly 30 acts in the concert. Most of them were girls a couple of years younger than my daughter. Most of them were ballet dances. They were a mixture of solos and duets. There was a lot of cuteness, some brilliant dancing and some bits where we might have had to try hard not to laugh.
My daughter’s group number was halfway through the show. It required my friend to help my daughter with a quick shoe change from character shoes to tap shoes.
The girls had so much polish! They smiled, their moves were sharp, their comedy actually made people laugh. It was a beautiful and funny dance. It wasn’t a spectacular failure, it was brilliant. It really showed their talent. There were a handful of slightly older girls who took part in the show, and my daughter’s group dance blew them out of the water.
My daughter’s solo dance was the final dance. She got into position, all poise and strength, and then she danced with such emotion. My daughter’s face is what sets her apart from other dancers. She has so much expression. She feels the music and she shows it through her dance. I’d seen that dance hundreds of times before, but in that little room, with the lights down, and her shining in her lovely white costume, it was better than ever.
She got a big cheer. So did everyone. But I like to think they’d saved the best until last.
I was one seriously proud mum, with slightly damp eyes. My daughter is amazing.