Leave it to me to find social commentary in almost any event.

In case you missed it, this weekend represented an interesting milestone.  One of the Route 60 Sentinel’s sponsors, Lana’s School of Dance, performed it’s 40th major production/recital (which, I couldn’t help but notice that one of the R60’s contributors also had a role in the performance).

The news of this 40th anniversary caught my attention because my sister took part in no less than seven of those productions (I even participated in one of them, not as a dancer—just a performer).  Unfortunately, I was unable to attend this weekend’s performance, since I wasn’t in Enid, but I’m sure it was great, as all of the previous shows have been.

Strangely enough though, I DID attend a dance recital this weekend, in Oklahoma City.  It too was a major production put on by one of the largest dance studios in OKC, and as I sat and watched the three hour long performance, I started thinking about a lot of different things.  I’m guessing that many of my thoughts can apply to both shows, and many, many others as well.

As I watched the youngest girls trot out on stage, I couldn’t help but be reminded of little league baseball.  You know, the LITTLE, little-league baseball…the ones who are more interested in picking dandelions in the outfield than they are in the game.  The same sensation struck me with these little ones… pre-occupied with their costumes, one actually stopped to wave at the audience.

As these performances continued, I started thinking about the different purposes that parents might have for getting a child to participate in something like that.  And again, my mind went straight back to baseball (I know, it sounds like I spent the entire dance recital thinking about baseball, but I really didn’t… it was quite good actually).

We’ve all heard about the over-aggressive little-league dads… the ones who become overly competitive, forcing their kids into a sport they might not necessarily enjoy.  As if winning that city championship might somehow rectify all of the wrong turns they made—and make up for the fact that they didn’t get that minor league contract they were angling for.

I thought to myself, is it possible that some of these little girls in tutus are the female version of that? Women hoping to live out some past glory, or turn their daughters into miniature versions of their past selves?  Obviously this wouldn’t apply to ALL the girls, but it was just a passing thought I had.  I just hope the girls are dancing because THEY want to, and not because their MOM wants them to.

Again, please don’t misunderstand. I realize there are many wonderful, valid reasons to encourage a child to dance.  It helps with grace, poise, balance, rhythm, and coordination, all of which can be useful in whatever the child may choose to pursue later in life.

And obviously, many of the older and more mature students are very talented, and getting the most out of their abilities.

As I continued watching, another thought occurred to me.  I found it uplifting to know that there still seems to be a large number of kids out there who have the patience and devotion to learn a skill such as this.  There were quite a few high school aged girls (and two very talented guys) involved in the show.  In our world of instant gratification, it was nice to see that these were obviously kids who had worked hard to perfect their craft, rather than quitting at the first sign of adversity.

On top of that, I’m aware of how much work it takes to put on a show of this magnitude.  The countless hours of rehearsal, costuming, make-up and everything else…  it leads me to believe that there are still people out there who understand the satisfaction of a job well done… and that the idea of “laboring to produce” and being proud of the finished product, is not entirely dead.

So, congratulations to Lana, Shawna and all the other dancers out there, keep dancing!

Thanks for reading.