For a girl with very little to show for it, ability wise, dance was a huge part of my life. Huge. It all started with that first tap and ballet combo class at six years old. I distinctly remember getting in trouble for grand battement-ing into the rear of my good friend in front of me. It was on purpose... I think.
The next stop on my long dance road was ballet with Joann. That was her name right? Don't remember much of that. I remember being absolutely terrified of her. I also remember those tap cds where a robotic voice with the music led you in the barre work we were doing that day. Don't really actually even remember having a teacher around...
Then there was a brief stint into clogging. If I remember right it was only a few months long and whenever I think about that time the songs "Elvira" and "Achey Breakey Heart" start running through my head at a viciously cruel pace.
I made one of my longest stops next, into the world of Hirz Dance Company. There I discovered my love of jazz. My Aunt Gail once lovingly referred to me as "Myca's little jazz teacher" since my dear cousin was still trapped in the world of ballet and tap. I still remember most of the moves to our "Straight Up" routine we choreographed in her living room.
My years at Hirz included not one but three different trios. The trio was big then... as were the jazz "boots".
I think it was about then I realized my mad dance teaching skills. I mean, how else can you explain Myca passing me up in skills and performance placement within a year of joining the group?
Then, clogging came double stepping its way back into my life with the first few moments of the now renowned Today's Generation.
And then the teaching career really began. Myca and I became the main teachers for Today's Generation for our last two years of high school. That was followed by years of choreographing, teaching workshops, teaching for Las Vegas schools and companies... etc.
Dance... a big one for the life of one Kacey Earl... Nielsen.
But this post isn't about me (can you tell?) It's about Scarlet... the next generation.Scarlet started dance this last summer at a once a week jazz/tap combo class at the rec center. Mondays quickly became the treasured day of the week. She absolutely loved it. Her teacher, Miss Lori, is as nice as can be and corrals three year olds with pure skill.
I am sure it will shock you to hear that in Scarlet's class of all three year olds, she is the tallest... by far. She also has the biggest shoe size... second place is about three sizes down. But, size aside, her attentive skills and smiling face got her the coveted front and center position in their jazz dance.
(Now there is a chance that the teacher just placed the kids in whatever order they stood by her feet on position assignment day. All I know is when I taught three year olds, the kid who knew the dance the best went front and center. Not only did it seem to the audience that a few of them actually knew the dance, but occasionally a back rower would decide to watch front-and-center girl and participate. Just sayin...)
Scarlet was ecstatic as they prepared for their dance performances. They had a winter recital scheduled, but before that, they were going to have a chance to perform their tap dance at the local winter festival. We had our adorable Christmas costume ready, took an early nap, loaded in the car, and headed out to what I dreamed would be pure blissful happiness as I watched my daughter's very first performance.
Don't worry, I won't make you wait any longer, here it is.
I shortened it for you. You didn't miss anything. She didn't move. Not a muscle. Not a leg twitch. I should have sensed what was ahead as we waited backstage. While every other girl in her class played with their tutus and made the loudest noises they could with their tap shoes, Scarlet clung to my leg looking panicky at the stage. While the other students walked out on stage, barely realizing they had left their mothers behind, Scarlet clung to me with tears in her eyes. The only reason she is standing on stage and I'm not is because I promised her a treat if she stayed in her spot. I really should have been more clear. I meant stay in her spot AND ACTUALLY DO THE DANCE. But alas...
After that performance I was a tad bit worried for the recital. But, the recital was back at the rec center so I was really hoping familiar territory would equal more actual dancing.
That Monday morning was one of those crazy mornings where I thought it was about 8:30 a.m. and it was actually 10:20 a.m. I scrambled in the car with a purse, a Scarlet, but no dance shoes. I wasn't too concerned. They were just standing in their spots for five minutes anyway.
We roll up just in time to throw Scarlet in her spot and find a seat in the bleachers. The music came on.... and she cried. Cried and cried and cried. Through her crocodile tears, she made it over to my side to tell me, "mom, I don't even have my dance shoes on. I'm just wearing these flip flops and they don't work!"
We decided to brave the rest of the rehearsal barefoot. Before she headed back to the floor of terror, I asked her where I could stand to help her be brave. She decided if I could sit right next to Miss Lori, she could be brave. And shockingly enough, it worked.
Unfortunately, she spent the dance watching me and not Miss Lori, which meant I got to do the dance as well so she knew what she was doing. Miss Lori leaned over to inform me I was good at the teacher part. Little did she know...
Without further ado, Scarlet's jazz performance. I was so totally proud of her.
And tap performance.
So along Scarlet's road of dance we continue, signing up for spring semester this week. I don't know how long this road will be, but, if the last five months are any sign, I am pretty sure I am going to love it.