Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Monday, June 3, 2013

An "Encore" of Big Magic

I’ll admit it. I didn’t want to be there. I had sailed in at the last moment, hair and make-up undone, having dashed out of my house when the contractor working on some house repairs had left earlier than I expected. I had thought I would not make the show, and I wasn’t truly sorry, because I was a bit nervous. It was a recital, and I’ve been to recitals before. Far too often I have walked away a bit chagrined at the length of time I had spent, the amount of time I could have been doing other things – laundry, or groceries, or eating nacho chips and salsa in front of my television. But I had been given a ticket to the show by one of the instructors, and I have a strong guilt conscience. I knew that if I did not attend that it would eat at me, the guilt and the shame – and so there I was at the Keyano Theatre, hunkered down in my comfy seat thinking that at least if nothing else I could probably nap if the music wasn’t too loud. And then the lights dimmed – and the show began.
The show was the year end recital from the MacDonald Island Dance Academy, and I will admit something else right now. I was wrong, tremendously wrong, to have been so reluctant to attend. From the opening number, a lovely ensemble tap dance piece choreographed to big band music, to the final applause, it was a pure joy ride.

There were so many moments, from the lovely little ballerinas to the rough and tough basketball hip hoppers. There were the tiny ones, the little tots in tiny little Elvis Presley-in-his-Vegas-days costumes to the little lions to the tiny dragons to the teddy bears. Speaking of the teddy bears, I found myself singing “Teddy Bears’ Picnic” – and that’s when I knew I was gone, hook, line, and sinker gone. These dance kids and their instructors had me completely transfixed, and I remained that way for the entire length of the show.
I enjoyed every number, and what I think I loved the most were the smiles on those faces, faces that ranged from tots to teens. I was enchanted by the dance teachers, Miss Kelli and Miss Katie, who led their tiny students with such gentle attention. I have the program in front of me now, and I can recall each number. There were so many students who stood out – the young man in the basketball number who patiently herded the younger boys, and the two lovely ballerinas in their pointe shoes, shoes that are hard-earned through dedication and hard work. But in the end they all stood out to me, those shining little faces and those happy little smiles.

There is so much going on in this community that is “big”. Big dreams, big projects, bit goals, big ideas, big growth, big progress, big spirit...and yet it is in these grassroots endeavours, these little dance recitals and such, where the real big spirit might just reside. It is in those proud faces of parents, and the shy grins of little dancers. It is in the atmosphere in a community theatre where for almost three hours the world outside stops, and all that matters is three dance instructors, four hundred (give or take a few) students, and an appreciative audience. There is so much “big”  happening in Fort McMurray – but in Keyano Theatre this past weekend a little dance school created the kind of “big” that is beyond words, and well into the realm of “big magic”. I stood at the end of the final number, giving my own standing ovation to a little dance recital titled "Encore", a recital that captured my heart.
I entered the theatre resigned to losing three hours of my life, hours I would never get back. I came out smiling, and humming – and with the memory of three hours I would never forget, regret, or trade for any other experience. And that, folks, is big magic indeed.

My sincere thanks to the
MacDonald Island Dance Academy,
Miss Dara-Jane, Miss Katie, and Miss Kelli
for creating magic,
and sharing your passion for your art.
You are helping to mold our future -
our children.
My thanks to all the parents and volunteers -
your commitment to your children is what makes
 recitals such as this one possible.
My thanks to all the dance students -
you know how much work you put into this show - and so do I.
You are talented, dedicated, hard working -
and wonderful representatives of our community.
You are our future -
and I am so proud.

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