Three grade-school bunheads dressed in purple, turquoise, and sea-green costumes, flitted around the stage at the Rockfish Community Recreation Center yesterday afternoon while the Nelson County Community Orchestra played The Dance of the Hours from Ponchielli’s La Gioconda. Click here for another post about the orchestra.
Dance of the Hours is the ballet in Disney’s Fantasia, featuring anthropomorphized ostriches, hippos, elephants, and alligators. For those of a certain age like myself, the melody is the same as Allan Sherman’s 1963 hit, “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh” – a child’s less-than-happy letter from Camp Granada.
While watching the girls, I remembered the many dance recitals I attended when my children were growing up. Among the wee bunheads, there were always dancers watching the others to make sure of the steps – perhaps they were nervous or had missed rehearsals. Bossy dancers acted like stage directors, pointing and waving, even pushing other dancers to their places. Then there were those who might as well have been dancing alone on stage.
I chuckled at the girls’ earnest execution. After the wee bunheads came middle school bunheads dressed in dusty rose and sporting well-practiced smiles. Finally, six cool-calm-and-collected high school-aged bunheads dressed in soft grey commanded the stage, followed by the entire ensemble from the Amherst Dance Academy.
Many in the audience were parents and siblings of the dance students, grandparents, too, and families of the orchestra members. But several of us were friends of the orchestra and dancers, or members of the community happy to see the next generation experiencing what our children had.
Some years ago journalist Bill Moyers told a story about having children. One night, after moving their youngest to college, Moyers and his wife went out to dinner. At the restaurant, they overheard a couple, sitting at the table next to them, debating whether or not to have children.
During dinner, Moyers thought about the experiences he and his wife had because of their children, experiences they would not have had any other way. Moyers stopped by the couple’s table before leaving the restaurant.
“If I had a vote,” he said to them, “I’d vote yes.”
Because of that choice, I received both Fantasia and “Hello Muddah” blessings.
And I say, “Amen,” to both.