So I never thought I would be writing a post on ballet. I especially never thought I'd be writing multiple posts on ballet. But the ballet dominated our month -- and especially the last three days of our lives.
I have really been working on the focus of my life in the recent weeks and months. I have stepped away from social media, reading the news, and chatting about things that cause me stress. I have instead been truly focusing on things that bring me joy. My dogs. Our animals. My kids. Ballet. Music. Church. Friends. My husband. Christ. Family.
And my spirit can feel the difference. We share so many things just being a part of the human race. And I love focusing on the happy things.
As I look back on this ballet performance, I realize that this was a happy thing.
This was a LOT of time, but it truly was a beautiful experience. The people that are with this ballet group are just delightful. The parents and children are really just fabulous people.
In addition, I loved watching Abigail be a part of something bigger than herself. I really hope in the future that we can participate as a family. I volunteered backstage bringing acts up and down the stairs. And of course, JB did make-up. (Pretty sure he'll be doing that every year now.) Grama helped with sewing. But I'd love for the boys to choose to participate helping backstage, or even doing some of the men solider/fighting scenes someday. (Lots of brothers are used for the boy roles.)
And Hannah? Well today I asked Hannah if she was a princess, and she said, "No mom. I'm a queen." So that girl will pick her own future. Originally, she was taking ballet and going to be in this performance, but we really felt she needed to be a little older to truly commit to something and decide whether or not she enjoyed it and wanted to do it. (She also has to decide whether she wants to listen to the teacher or try to do things her own way. Ha!)
Here are just a few photos I really love:
This is Elizabeth. She is fifteen. JB did her tattoo arms. She was pure EVIL in this play and was simply and utterly AMAZING. I could watch her all night long. I am not her mother, but I felt such pride on behalf of her parents to see her perform. JB tells me she is going to be focusing more on acting, and I think she should! While her ballet was amazing, her acting was simply breathtaking. She truly mesmerized me.
This is Abigail with her teacher Amelie. This is Amelie's first year teaching, and as someone who started teaching and coaching at about her age, I love watching her learn as she teaches. Abigail really loves her, and Amelie has been so encouraging of Abigail's ballet. (Hannah adores her too even though she doesn't want to listen much in class. :)
Here's Grampa and Grama all dressed up for the ballet! Both of them were under the weather, but they (especially Grama!) wouldn't have missed it for the world. Grama ended up helping a ton with the costumes and backdrops for the show. I have a feeling she will be doing that a lot more in the years to come.
Here is a picture of Abigail with our piano teacher: Ms. Leslie (and her husband is in the background.) Abigail absolutely LOVED that people came to watch the performance, and would ask about who was there, would look for them during the performance, and wanted to go and see them all afterwards. A big thank you to Ms. Karen and her mom and Jada who came, Ms. Robin and her husband, and Ms. Kim and Avery. Being as we are new to the town and still getting to know people, having these wonderful people in our lives join us meant so much.
On Friday evening, JB and I both remained backstage. On Saturday afternoon, I snuck away to watch the second act (that Abigail wasn't in). On Saturday evening, Sidge and I sat through the show and today, Sunday, JB watched with both boys. Watching the movie "Malifecent" ahead of time really helped them follow the show.
Daddy changed up the Bluebird look each night. This particular night (her last of four performances) some special jewels were added. Abigail got a little tired of sitting for her make-up, but she always loved the finish product.
We tried to go very "light" on the post-ballet presents (that we quickly learned are quite the tradition) so as to not set the bar too high for years to come. $5 elephant and $2 rose completed the job. Oh did they bring a smile to Abigail's face.
Abigail before going up for scene 2. She was in three scenes: 2, 3, and 17. And then of course, she loved the curtain call as well. All of the girls were wonderful and elicited the expected "Awwwww's" from the crowd. They were all animals. They could pick which animal they were. Many girls were very particular about who they wanted to be, but Abigail just accepted the bluebird costume Ms. Lori Ann found for her and went with that. (One little girl picked an opossum and her mother sweetly obliged.)
I don't consider myself an intense mom or even very sentimental, but I have to admit something: when we went to turn in Abigail's costume (this studio provides costumes so as to keep the cost down for participants) I cried. (And while I can't be sure, I think my husband teared up as well.) It was such a fantastic experience as a parent. Watching my boys at their piano recital last year, seeing my kids sing at church .... these are really wonderful moments of pride for parents.
We definitely think we will participate again next year! There is an option to only do half as many shows and rehearsals, and we may tone it down a bit, but I don't think this is something we want to miss out on.
Thank you Central Ballet for giving my girl a great start in life! (And check out their website to see a cute pic of Abigail and Hannah holding hands and Abigail grouped with her class praying before the start of a lesson.)