Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Way It Is: Glitter, Glitz and Potty Breaks

Daily Forum column for 5-12-11.

We'd prepared for months, but following four years of experience, I knew that no amount of practice would help me fully know what to expect.

I'm a dance instructor, part-time, and know full well to expect the unexpected when it comes to recitals.

More than 100 children of all ages, sparkly costumes, loud music, sugar and a whole lot of waiting. It's a recipe for disaster.

My older, more experienced children left me with little to worry about other than making sure their costumes weren't tucked into their tights or that they had the right shoes on — or that they had their shoes on. Sometimes I wonder where their thoughts go.

It's the little ones that never cease to amaze me.

Good rehearsals lead to...

My final run through with said little one — a 4-year-old blonde named Allison, with a streak of independence — worried me.

They say that good rehearsals lead to bad performances and Miss Allison and I had just had a wonderful stage rehearsal together.

For her tumbling routine, she hopped like a bunny, rolled like a log, did the crab walk and even did the "big-girl" somersaults, all by herself.

Our next meeting added a bit of pressure.

Complete with a full costume — the glittery, pink kind — Miss Allison was to perform her routine on stage, with a smaller version of a audience, during dress rehearsal.

Now during practice, Miss Allison had a tendency to force poor Miss Megan, being me, into performing all requested dance moves with no regard to my age or physical ability.

"Miss Megan, you do it," she would giggle. And together, we would get to all fours and crab walk across the studio.

I was completely mortified that she would make such a request during the actual recital performance. Did I mention, in front of an audience of 200 people?

On with the show-

The night of Miss Allison's stage debut began as most dance recitals I know tend to.... mass chaos.

Dance moms chased half-naked children around the dressing room in an attempt to outfit them with the itchy, glittery tutus. Dads and grandparents wandered aimlessly looking for the best spot to perch the family video camera.

Back stage, Miss Allison and I exchanged our "good luck gifts" and I prepped her with the classic warning I got more than 20 years ago from my instructor.

"Now, Miss Allison, if our shoe falls off on stage what do we do," I asked?

"Oh well, keep on dancing," she replied.

"And if we forget to do that last somersault, what do we do?"

"Oh well, keep on dancing."

This kid was good.

I took her hand and lead her back stage.

As the audience applauded the group before us and I reminded Miss Allison that we were next, out came the unexpected.
"Miss Megan, I have to potty!"

Needless to say, we cut her performance a bit short — one less log roll here, two less cartwheels there — it was then, on with the show.

–Megan Tilk is a reporter and weekly columnist for the Mary ville Daily Forum. She can be reached at or follow her columns at

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