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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Talent Co-op anyone?

I blame my parents. When I was a kid if I showed the slightest interest in anything, they were on it. I was taking lessons, or on a team in a matter of weeks. It was great. It allowed me to excel in what I was good at (acting/soccer) and fail at what I wasn't (gymnastics).It was really not a good fit for me. First of all I get terrible motion sickness and secondly I wasn't limber. In fact,  I was recently told by a physician that I have the flexibility of an 80 year old woman, and it was the worst he had ever seen in anyone in their 30's even 40's. But I at least got to try to do the splits and participate with other gumby little girls. I didn't feel poorly about that  because I knew I was good at other things.
I want the same for my boys. But I had no idea how expense exploring my youngsters interests could be! So far, I have taken our two older ones to tennis lessons, soccer, t-ball, pottery and now tap dance lessons.  Yes I know, tap dance lessons?  Both Don and I have always admired a good tap dancer, it combines just the right amount of athleticism and grace. It also is a fantastic thing, in my opinion, to have in your talent repertoire. I'm the type a girl that finds a guy who can dance, and (doesn't do the sidestep in the edge of a dance floor) very attractive. Even if a guy gets out there and just has a good time is already 3x more attractive than a guy who is better looking and standing there with his hands in his pockets.
So today we embarked on this tap endeavor.  We arrived and I had quickly forgotten how the smell of lycra can just make my muscles ache.  The woman was all business too.  Having me sign my boys tapping feet away for the next 7 months!  She called it a "semester". Wait a second...I don't remember this when I was a kid.  She then whisked the boys off to the "shop" and had them fitted for tap shoes.  All the time the boys are doing what they think are tap moves, which looks a bit more like a riverdance combo with the Russian guy dance.
Slowly I felt my purse being tugged and tugged again.
$ shoes
$$ registration fee
$$$ tuition up front
Before I knew it, I had spent a mortgage payment on something that I don't even know if the boys will like. They just said they thought it would be fun...well, wait, maybe I asked them if they wanted to learn, I'm so baffled and I just don't know anymore. And I just realized that this will certainly cut in to their baseball season and I can be pretty sure that their dad isn't going to have them miss a couple games for a tap recital...just a hunch.
The rest of the students arrive and it takes all of 2 seconds for them to both realize that there is not a boy in sight..except for a little girls brother, and I sensed a bit of hesitation.  But I explained that this was really a cool thing for them to know, and that I was proud of them. Then they are herded away to a secret room that I cannot observe except on observation days.
Do I think that in the next 20 years they will be starring on Broadway as Billy Elliott?  No.
But maybe? Would my brother be a Grammy award winning opera singer if my mom hadn't put him in church choir when he was 9? Maybe but doubtful.
Would I be an Oscar award winning actress if my mom hadn't enrolled me in the local Shakespeare camp? Wait a second... but I'm still a more well rounded person who can do a killer Lady MacBeth impersonation because of that experience. And if I were to be frank, there were a cupple of little pork chops taking the same class, who clearly don't have the bone structure for dance. Softball?  Maybe.
But why should it cost an arm and a leg to let the kids experience something just to see if they like it?
I think it would be great if parents got together and figured out what each of us is great at. Not good, not expert level, but great enough to show newbie kids the gist.
For example, I'm a pretty good ice skater... I would be more than happy to take a few kids on Saturday mornings to the ice rink and teach them the basics.  I know someone must know how to play the piano, cello, violin, etc. well enough to introduce it to a group of kids without me purchasing the instrument and the lessons only to discover that my son is not the next Yo Yo Ma.
Is it really any wonder why the arts are dying a slow death amongst our youth?  If I had to choose between feeding my kids belly or talent, I would, of course, choose belly.
So finally after a long 30 min. which if I calculate the cost per minute I would probably fall off my chair, the boys emerged from the dance studio.
Were they filled with inspiration and glee? Hardly. Parker said, that was hard. Finegan said, that was too fast and the girls were better than us.
This road to SYTYCD may be a long one, but someday, when they are giving their bows on stage they will look at me and mouth "thank you mom". and it will be all worth it.

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