I am happy to report that Julian had a blast at the NYCDA convention despite his reluctance to go. He loved the teachers, the choreography and the competition.
I had a blast, although I was only there on Saturday night for the competition and on Sunday, and here’s why: I had such fun watching the boys prepare for and perform their “part” in the ballet class taught by Duncan Cooper. He had choreographed a special part just for the boys, which Julian thought was totally awesome — both the choreography and the fact that the boys had a part of their own. And during the class on Saturday, the boys congregated at the back of the room and began rehearsing together. They worked and worked and worked…and helped each other. It was not an individual effort but a team effort. Yes, they were each going to be performing the choreography as a solo act — and later auditioning alone (well…in a group but each as an individual), but they practiced it together as if it were a group performance. And that made their performance really something special. Some of the boys even shook hands at the end as they stood at the edge of the stage to allow the judges to write down their numbers (or not). It was awesome.
I commend Duncan Cooper….and the boys. Well done!
Also, I was thrilled that Julian seemed to have found something within that changed his dancing this weekend. He used his upper body better and was much more expressive with his dancing. He even said that he felt so much better in general about his performance. In fact, here told me several times how happy he was because of the way he had danced. He felt he had made a huge step forward in his ability. He did receive a scholarship and felt proud to have been complimented by two teachers, but he said this was nothing compared to what he himself felt about what he had achieved. Those words, and his sense of pleasure with him self and with his ability, did this mother’s heart good. He finally realized what really matters — and it’s not that piece of paper he had in his hand when he came off stage (and that he may never even use). He even said that the scholarship really didn’t matter to him; he just felt great about how he had danced.
However, Julian hurt his heel dancing on the hard ballroom floor. He has had a problem with his heel before, mostly while he was in the ballet program at Ballet San Jose but not so much since he hasn’t been doing just ballet. The chiropractor said he strained it and should take it easy this week. No jumping or leaping.
Those conventions are really hard on the kids for that reason — the flooring at those hotels is really not suitable for spending hours dancing. I hear all kinds of stories about kids who end up with sore joints and backs afterwards. I suppose there is no where else to hold them, though. Where else could you fit so many kids into a room to dance?
On another subject, I had a great idea — don’t know why I didn’t think of it before — for this blog. For my other blog, www.writenonfictioninnovember.wordpress.com, I ask experts to write guest blogs for me during the month of November. I usually comment on the subject, too, but they offer advice and information. I thought, given that I’m not an expert on dance per se — I’m not even really a parenting expert although I have two kids and two step kids — I’d occasionally ask a dance exert to write a blog for me or to let me interview them. You see, my expertise comes from my experience as a dance mom raising a dancing son and from my research as a journalist and author into the lives of male dancers and into dancing in general. But I’ve never said I have all the answers. I just pose some questions, say what I think and maybe too often tell you what’s going on in my son’s dancing life — and in my life as the mom of a dancing boy.
So, to avoid some of the drivel (which I write when there isn’t much going on)…and to stay with my new focus on bigger topics…I thought I’d let the experts do a little talking now and then. In light of that, this past weekend I asked Joe Lanteri of NYCDA to guest blog for me a few times. (I’m not sure about the topics yet, but I will likely pose the convention choreography one to him.) I also asked NYCDA ballet instructor Duncan Cooper to either write a blog or let me interview him.
If anyone has suggestions on great male dance teachers that I should contact that you feel would be willing and available to write a blog or chat with me by phone, please let me know. If there are male dance teachers — or professional male dancers or older male dancers who feel they have wisdom to share — reading this blog, please contact me as well. And, as always, email me or post comments detailing the types of issues you have with your sons’ dancing or about men/boys who dance, so I can get these experts to address them. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recently there have been some people upset with my blog’s focus. I hope everyone will be happy with the new focus. I only want to serve those who read this blog. If you have suggestions on ways for me to improve what I’m doing, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.