Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Score of the Dance Recital

Sunday was my daughter's third career dance recital, the one where I bemoaned the fact that she, while representing the decade of the 1990s, was forced to dance to "Fly" by Sugar Ray instead of something eminently better, like anything by the Beastie Boys or just Ugly Kid Joe. I was able--barely-- to stop myself from going on the big rant about how much I hated Sugar Ray, but really, even had I gone through with it, added a few choice swear words, and then slaughtered a cow in the driveway, she wouldn't have noticed anyway. Nothing was keeping her off of Cloud 9 all day.

She got up at 7AM, later than she did Christmas morning and definitely later than Easter morning, to get her makeup done for the 3PM show. So we had to cool her heels a little. She wanted to practice her routine, but unfortunately, we didn't have a copy of "Fly" around anywhere, (unfortunately), and YouTube was mysteriously broken all day. We would have to just imagine the song for the next 7 hours until it was time to get ready. She did. Very effective use of the kindergarten imagination.

For the first time in over 17 years of knowing each other, my wife and I actually got everybody somewhere early. The one-year-old did us the favor of sleeping during the waiting part and then waking up just before the show started.

About three minutes before it started, I finally learned the show's official title/theme, "Dancing Down the Road of Rock and Roll" which I think meant I no longer had to wonder what sort of music would come before Bill Haley and the Comets' "Rock Around the Clock," because by definition, it's nothing. Here, then, is the entire playlist for the dance recital:

"Rock Around the Clock" - At many of my daughter's dance practices, I could hear the older kids rehearsing to this song in the other room. After one of the practices, one of the dads informed his tweeny daughter that he had that song on his iPod. "Yeah, well, I think it's a stupid song," the daughter answered, and that probably set the tone for the afternoon, kids dancing to songs that their parents loved but that they couldn't stomach. Except in my case.

"Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On"

"(Let Me Be your) Teddy Bear" - Performed by the 2 and under group, each holding a teddy bear. Awwww!

"Jailhouse Rock" - Two generations ago kids people were trying to censor this and Elvis in general. I'm happy to live when I do.
Anyone born after the end of WWII and before the start of the Vietnam War will tell you that the best music in the history of civilization came from the 1960s. So why only two songs today? I admit I didn't shed any tears when I saw this. 

"I'm a Believer"

"Satisfaction" - called "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" in the program.

Meanwhile, nobody ever claims the best music in the world came from the '70s, unless they're trying to sell you a Time Life Collection. Yet there are six songs from the decade. To each his own.

"Sweet Emotion" - I guess my daughter was bound to hear the line "Standin' in front just shakin' your ass" eventually. (Hey, aren't you the one complaining about censorship just two short decades ago up above?)

"Imagine" - WKRP in Cincinnati flashback.

"Go Your Own Way"

"You Should Be Dancing" - About here I got an urge to check in on the Pirates, but I fought it off.

"Rock and Roll All Night" -  called "I Want to Rock and Roll All Night" in the program. Mildly disappointed nobody came onstage in white makeup.

"Taking Care of Business" Any time you can work BTO into a dance recital, you have to do it.


This was a poorly timed intermission because we had to trade kids. I gave up the three-year-old, who was perfectly behaved thus far and clapped heartily after each piece. One time he was even the dreaded "first clapper", the person who rapidly starts clapping a half-second before everyone else. That award usually goes to an old lady. In return I received the one-year-old, who engaged his mother in some sort of freestyle, borderline-Olympic-sport sort of wrestling throughout much of the first half.

"It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" - Three dance recitals, three different Billy Joel songs. ("Pressure" and "Just the Way You Are" were the others...meaning we narrowly averted a repeat of this.

"You Be Illin'" - Elementary school talent show flashback.

"Your Mama Don't Dance" - Really, 1980s? I thought I had made it all the way through with no Kenny Loggins, too.

"Living on a Prayer" - At the risk of expatriation, I always thought this song was overrated. Shocked that this number did not feature a boy in dockworker's clothes and a girl dressed as a waitress.

"Jump" - Van Halen version, not Pointer Sisters version.

Getting ready for the highlight of the show, the 1990s, and both boys' patience was shot. The three-year-old was rubbing his eyes, starting to face the wrong direction, and asking where Dorothy was. (Last year's theme was the Wizard of Oz.) The one-year-old was building the Gateway Arch on my body, head in my neck, feet on my knee, could fit an elephant under his back. Luckily, we still had a secret weapon, the bottle, which I nearly dumped all over myself earlier in the program.

"Smells Like Teen Spirit" - Now we're getting somewhere. Of course, they cut this song short.

"November Rain" - Oh no. We've got two kids ready to explode at any point, we're one song away from what we came for, and standing in our way is a song that lasts longer than the Nuremberg trials. Somebody, quick, get the bottle. Now, if they just cut the last song short, they HAVE to cut this one short. Meanwhile, Las Vegas has set the over/under on number of times the crowd will prematurely clap, thinking the song is over, at 1.5. It comes in "over" at twice (yours truly cashes), once right after the chick in the video dies, and once during the funeral. Yes, they let it go all the way to the funeral...technically they cut it short, but the one-year-old finished his entire bottle during the song and is back to flipping upside down on my lap. This needs to end, and now.

"Fly" - Never been so happy in my life to hear this song. And the girl kills it! She is placed at #3 out of the seven girls, so just left of center, which I understand is good. She's the only one of the seven who smiles, and she smiles enough for all seven. She absolutely gleams. She actually does her best when she's not watching the adult helpers located at either end of the formation, slowing down a little as if thinking too muc when she does watch them. Afterward, she would admit "I still don't know my left from my right." Huh? She also was promoted to Beginner Level I (that also profoundly confused me, but I think it's a good thing.) The three-year-old again clapped proudly and robustly, which may have been taken as just sucking up to his boss.

I shuttered at what we might get here.

"Fix You" - They keep saying Coldplay is the next U2 (is it because U2 used a piano in, like, three songs in 1981?) I keep throwing them back like an undersized fish and hanging on to the original U2.

"Numb" - (Linkin Park) My mother-in-law confesses here she "doesn't get this rap generation." It could have been a LOT worse.

"With Arms Wide Open"  - This was originally meant to be a solo, but the outgoing senior was injured, so she came out and sat onstage, nearly in tears, while other girls danced by, holding signs made of her old dance pictures as she progressively got older. It was sweet.

Grand Finale:
"R.O.C.K. in the USA" - Can't have a rock-and-roll themed anything without this song.

Ice Cream:
at Friendly's - Monster Mash for the girl. They could have played that song!

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