Copyright © 2013 Stephen Hawley, all rights reserved.
It’s spring, so for Alice that means that for the past several months she has been going to rehearsals for ballet. Her local company, Pioneer Valley Ballet, does two large productions each year. In the winter, they do The Nutcracker and in the spring, they do something different. This year, they did “The Little Mermaid” and Alice was cast as a sea turtle. Alice went to the rehearsals in a steady ritual. Mom gets her hair ready and puts it into a bun with a serious armada of bobby pins, while Alice works on some crocodile tears about how much it hurts. C’mon, Alice, you’re not fooling anyone – I’ve seen you drag a brush through your hair like you were hoeing a row. Then she would go to the rehearsals and learn her part.
Alice has a love of the ballet and of theater. For this performance, I was backstage dad and kept myself available for when Alice needed some assistance, but quite honestly, she doesn’t need us back stage anymore, and I don’t think we should be there. Alice knows the routines and know what needs to be done and is eager to get there. That tells me that it’s time to step away.
When Alice walked on stage, I was in the basement watching on a video monitor. She came out and like her previous Nutcracker, hit all her marks and did everything that had been asked of her. I couldn’t see enough detail to see if there was any stage acting, but that’s OK. She came back full of energy and very happy about being on stage. As an aside, it’s clear how many people back stage know Alice and took time to talk to her and encourage her or congratulate her. It’s a wonderfully welcoming organization and an outlet that it constructive and valuable for Alice.
Seeing her excelling–and she truly was–made me very proud. If I had been wearing a shirt with buttons, it would need some mending. It’s been a pleasure watching Alice growing up doing ballet, from the early days when she was struggling to keep up.
To now, where we go out and celebrate with a nice, late lunch together.