Monday, December 20, 2010
Diane Thomson's "Nutcrackering"
As a former dancer, I swore I would not put my kids in dance... I spent most of my childhood in a dance studio and all of my teenage years living away from home training professionally. I loved every minute of it, but I never wanted to be the dancer that grew up and forced her dreams on her kids. Well, it seems I had no choice. Both my girls were doing arabesques at the coffee table before they were able to walk. They have always loved to dance around the house and put on shows for us. So, I decided to enroll them in ballet classes through the City Of Toronto. The classes were fun for the kids, but they were learning nothing. I kept them in the classes, only because they were dirt cheap and the girls were having fun, but it always bothered me that my oldest had not even learned what first position was by the time she was 4 years old... yet, my 2 year old was standing in first doing plies and tendus with her class... there is definitely a lack of consistency between the various teachers at each recreation centre. Then, I was told about the classes taught by Diane Thomson. She has a professional background and offers classes through the City programs. The big difference is that Ms. Diane feels that there is no reason you can not pay the City prices, but still get great training. What she is doing for the community is wonderful. I enrolled both my girls this past year and I am so happy that I did.
Ms. Diane may expect a lot from the parents and demands that the program is taken seriously, and it shows with the results she gets. We have just experienced our first show with Ms. Diane. It was a little crazy at times, but the show was a huge success and my girls had a blast! I volunteered as a dancers assistant, so I did not get to see the entire show as I was behind the scenes most of the time, but what I did see was great! I had 16 friends and family come out to support the show and they were all amazed at the production. Diane puts her all into the show and all she expects in return is that the parents are willing to help out as much as possible. This is the only way the program can be as successful as it is. The "school" depends on volunteers, donations and fund-raising to survive.
The past few weeks have been filled with rehearsals, photo shoots, more rehearsals, and the show... but, we all survived it and I am already looking forward to what she has planned for the June show! Maybe it is the dancer in me, but all the stress and craziness is worth it.
The other thing that surprised me was what it brought out in my oldest. She is normally a little shy and very anxious little girl. Even in the classes and rehearsals, she always held back and would let the others take charge... even if she knew they were doing the wrong steps and she knew the dance. But, on stage, she had a new found confidence. She got on stage and paid no attention to the audience... she just danced her little heart out and helped her friends as they stumbled and did the wrong steps. She knew what she was doing and was not afraid to lead her friends through the dance. I was in tears, I was so proud of her and happy to see such a confident little girl emerge from a normally anxious little girl. She was glowing.
My youngest decided that she did not want to go on stage. She stayed in the wings with me, dancing for her friends on stage so they did not forget their steps. I was not bothered by her not going on. She is not even 3 years old yet, it was all a little over-whelming for her. She loved being in costume and getting her make-up done... but, that was enough for her. She has already decided she will watch the June show with Daddy. Maybe next year she will be ready to try again... I will not force it though. The funniest part is, she is the out-going, show-off of my 2 girls... but, being on stage was just too much, even for her.
If you are interested in checking out a fun "Nutcracker" based show in your local community, I recommend Diane Thomson's "Nutrackering". But, you will have to wait until next year now. As my brother-in-law said, "I have now had my fill of cute for the year". It is a cute show with some "preschooler" moments and some emerging talent, all rolled into one great performance by a lady that truly is giving back to the community. Thank you Ms. Diane, we all appreciate what you do for the arts in Toronto!