20 September, 2010


With the end of summer and the beginning of school comes the start of a new ballet season – hours in the studio for my daughter; hours of donated time for me; and the anticipation of the latest and greatest Nutcracker performance.  Each performance, is different and dependent upon the skills of the dancers.  I have not shared the story below with many – but after reading Aileen and Katie this morning, I wanted to share the beauty of my daughter – how it sown during one of her Nutcracker performances.  


“She’s crying.” My mom says from the seat to my left as we sit in the front row watching my daughter perform in her eighth Nutcracker.  It is the party scene – a scene she loves, and one she has anticipated for months. 

“She’s crying.” The family friend says from my right.  She sits in her green dress with classmates attempting to comfort her as the scene continues. 

Tears drip from her eyes as she dances.  She hits her moves, does her part, and performs the best she can.

I sit in the audience watching and wondering what has brought my dancer to tears.  She loves being on stage and has since her first performance years ago.  Curls in her hair, I remember her making her way with the other tiny dancers, attention focused more on mom in the audience over the moves or the music. 

I have watched her perform many times.  Watched her transform from soldier to duckling to gingersnap.  Witnessed her transformation from a bouncy toddler to a dramatic dancer with wonderful lines.  She sparkles on stage, reveling in the art as much as the costumes and the theater craft. 

Yet this year and this performance… tears.  She didn’t sneak a wave or delight in the swirl of her skirt.  She cried silently and left the three of us in the front row wondering and watching. 

Party scene completed, she dashed off to become a soldier and to find a bit of a smile and the comfort in a new part a bit more removed in time and place from the events of minutes passed. 

Intermission found me weaving through parents and guests, rushing to her side to give her a hug.  She smiled from within a new costume, a new hair piece arranged in her hair, a new attitude ready for the second half. 

And I hugged her. 

I pulled my nearly ten year old daughter and my favorite dancer into my embrace and held on tightly. 

Tears crowded the corners of my eyes as I told her just how beautiful she is; just how proud of her I am. 

“But they made me go on stage.”

“They encouraged you to go on stage.  You chose to walk out.  You chose to dance.  You chose to do your best despite the frustration and the tears.  You chose!”

Big eyes looked at me as I peered down.  Beauty, beauty of spirit, beauty of courage, beauty of professionalism. 

My daughter went on to perform beautifully for the rest of the night and the performance that followed on Sunday.  She smiled and charmed and delighted as only she could.  She looked beautiful on stage – just as she did off stage. 

I found myself proud of her throughout both days, but the test of spirit and the beauty of her soul shown most brightly that Saturday night. 

Beauty can be found in everything – from the natural to the created to the inspired.  Sometimes we have to look a bit harder and open our hearts a bit more to see it, but beauty is everywhere.  That Saturday night, as over a hundred people watched, my daughter demonstrated beauty of another sort entirely – courage, professionalism, and teamwork.  She exhibited beauty that inspired.


Constance said...

Very well recognized and said. Inner Beauty is inspirational as it cannot help but be shared by others who witness it.

Aileen said...

What a brilliant choice to write this post and share with us the many sides of beauty.

"my daughter demonstrated beauty of another sort entirely – courage, professionalism, and teamwork. She exhibited beauty that inspired."

I truly loved reading this!

Sara said...

TE -- What a beautifully written post. I loved how you talked your daughter about the dance and how she "chose" to go on stage.

The ending to this post brought tears to my eyes. You are so right that beauty comes in many forms.

That Saturday, your daughter did shine in her courageous beauty, but so did you in your Mom's beauty...both of you have good souls:~)

BigLittleWolf said...

How absolutely lovely. Beauty of spirit. Yes. We need that, don't we, if we're to get through life and flourish.

It sounds like she has it, that spirit. Especially with your support.

Belinda Munoz said...

Beautiful, TE. How wonderfully empowering for her to hear that she chose to walk out there and do her thing.

Thanks for sharing.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi TE .. that is a lovely tribute to your budding daughter and you'll both treasure this memory for many a year - it'll give her courage for her future .. and give you wonderful memories of her young days ..

Loved it - gorgeous .. thanks for sharing with us .. Hilary

LesleyG said...

That IS beautiful!

The Exception said...

Thank you each for your thoughts and comments. She may have another challenging performance this season – I learned yesterday afternoon. I have no doubt that she will shine regardless of how she is feeling inside.

She and I spoke of the forms of beauty yesterday – her comment “beauty is in everything” – this stated as we crunched through the first of the fall leaves, the sun peaking from between the trees, and her hand held securely in mine… and yes, beauty is in everything.

Tess The Bold Life said...

What a great story! One of my favorite ages for my girls was 10. They are still sweet and very innocent. Enjoy!

giulietta nardone said...

Hi TE,

You are a great mom! I consistently get that feeling ...

I loved being ten years old. It's one of the most powerful times in a woman/girl's life. The courageous ballerina! Lovely story about your daughter.

Yes, beauty is everywhere! The Earth is so beautiful, yet not everyone can see what they have in front of them. I wonder why that is?

Maybe schools could teach a class called beauty and talk about its many forms? Inner, outer, wild, courageous. Perhaps, math and reading and science might be better integrated into larger topics?

Every time I look at a flower I'm amazed by its beauty.

Enjoyed! G.

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