Things like dance recitals make child rearing worth it
October 3, 2008 · Updated 1:29 AM
When I think back to when my ever lovin' and I decided to have
kids, I tried to picture how our life would change. I was off by about 90
percent. I had no idea how hard it would be. My sainted 78-year-old mother
had seven kids. Somewhere in the back of my mind I remember her
moaning about doing three loads of laundry
every day for 30 years, color coding my brothers' skivvies to keep
them straight and cooking 25,000 meals on her old stove. It didn't quite
register. Kids are hard work. Mom made it look easy.
It is easy to get caught up in all the drudgery of child rearing. Children
are an endless cycle of feeding, cleaning, washing and holding them when
they cry. Not to mention the dreaded daily homework. Contrary to my mother,
I am not graceful at this. I swear that I spend most of my time putting out
the many fires of childhood. But every once in a while I get to sit back
and see what magical creatures my children are.
TJ Dance in Duvall supplies that magical moment. Owned and
operated by Peg Burnside and Jayne Hancock, TJ Dance is a place where magic
happens. All year long Peg and Jayne spend their days cajoling and
praising my little angels to tap, shuffle and hop until they get it right. They
are sent through their paces in jazz, ballet and tap until magically the
troop comes together into a cohesive whole greater than their parts. They move
to the music like wheat dancing in the wind. It is delightful.
Peg and Jayne choose music that is perfect for every age. They have
to since TJ teaches dancers ranging in age from three years to six
decades. Moms, grandmas, tots and teens everyone finds a place to shine at
TJ Dance. All year long they sweat away, learning steps and hitting their
marks. All this hard work culminates in recital week.
Every movie about kids needs to have the scene where the kids'
recital is either unendingly boring or a complete disaster. Not true. Peg and
Jayne preside over an operation that marches like an army. If you figure the
logistics, your mind boggles three separate shows with twenty numbers
each. Dances range from solos to full production numbers with 150
dancers, sets and lighting. And the costumes are amazing. Neon-colored chiffon
that floats like a feather. Leather, lace and yard upon yard of sequins and
feather boas. Every costume gets a prop and the costume styles range from
Bob Fosse to Ballanchine, whatever it takes to create the mood.
My mood would be insanity if I had to do what they do. There is
not enough Jack Daniels in the world to get me through a production of
this magnitude. The week is full of stage rehearsals, costume rehearsals,
pictures and more. I wallow in every moment of it. Last year alone I
spent over 24 hours watching rehearsals. I cried every moment. All those
little kids who didn't even know their right from their left feet get a moment
in the spotlight.
After the endless preparation, it all comes together on recital day.
This year it is on Saturday, June 24. The Cedarcrest auditorium will be
packed to the rafters from noon until well after 9 p.m. The three shows all start
and end with big production numbers featuring all the dancers decked out
in finery. What follows is a show like no other. Peg and Jayne encourage
the audience to participate in the performance. Hoots, hollers and
applause make the tappers tap harder, the ballerinas reach higher and the jazz
dancers hot, hot, hot! The huge variety of talent and ages makes it a better
show than I have ever seen on Broadway and way more fun.
If you want to come, there may be a few tickets left. The shows are
at noon, 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for high school
kids and seniors, $4 for school-age kids and free for tots. Call (425) 844-9086
for tickets and availability.
I look forward to recital week more than my kids, I think. It is
the time to forget the work of child rearing and bask in the warmth of
little girls pressed and primped, ready to show the world what they can
do. Thank you Peg and Jayne for reminding me of what wonderful
creatures God has given me.
Kate Russell lives between
Carnation and Duvall. You can reach her at Katemo1@msn.com.