By Ken DeLaat
Harper is 3.
She is the youngest of my four precious and precocious grandchildren who each possess above average looks, remarkable levels of intelligence and exceptional personalities along with what one might describe as more than adequate table manners.
And she is a dancer.
H. began dancing for us just after she mastered walking and never stopped. A stint in a dance class helped whet an appetite for the art form that has not diminished in the least over time. I have personally witnessed performances that segue from ballet and a more modern theatrical style to yoga-inspired moves with occasional pilates tossed in. Despite or perhaps because of the shifting genres each of these mini recitals are wildly appealing.
Before posing to her parents the possibility of bringing H. to see the upcoming “Wizard of Oz” ballet arriving at the Dogwood next month I wondered a bit about attention span (hers not mine though clarification is certainly warranted). Although we can play for hours on end with only a few toys and/or household items as props, I wasn’t sure how she might take to a theater show.
And like I said, she’s three.
Three is perhaps the most fun of all ages to be friends with. Three possesses a sense of wonder with the world and has a mind filled with questions while absent of any sense of filter and unburdened by any notion of time or protocol.
And yet Three can be stubbornly difficult should it occur to them to do so.
While pondering this I ran into my favorite banker, Rhonda Buter and recalled having included in an article the experience she had with her daughter at a ballet performance last year.
“By the way, when you took Charley to the ballet last year, how old was she?”
“She was 3.”
It was a go.
Decision made, I confirmed with LSC Lil (a.k.a. “Grammy”) who approved with enthusiasm we then got the o.k. from Lesly and Casi and soon after they broke the news to H.
Apparently the idea appeals to her since I have been asked numerous times ever since if tomorrow is the day we’re going to the ballet (it’s April 14) and whether she can show me one more time the recently purchased dress she is planning on wearing (it’s pink). I have watched dance moves that she feels certain will be part of the program and when I deliver my extensive series of Wizard of Oz impersonations she has been either most appreciative or exceptionally polite given her level of laughter.
My idea was to secure a spot near the door in case a hasty exit might be needed. This idea was shot down by one much wiser with regard to such matters who proposed a seat up front where she can capture the show in all its glory.
When Lesly and her brother were quite young we would take them to the Nutcracker at DeVos each year. I still recall the first time they saw it. We didn’t know how they might do so I got a set of seats in an upper loge in case frequent bathroom trips were required or should one of those firm, loud and somewhat threatening whispers become necessary.
The fears soon became groundless.
The show with all its splendor and majesty grabbed them and held on from overture to the grand finale. My daughter adored it and my son despite later emphasizing how much he didn’t like it barely moved while taking it in, a rare occurrence during those years if I recall.
If you decide to go, do yourself a favor and bring along a young person. Sit with them as they feel the sense of wonder elicited by the art of dance and pay occasional attention to the sparkle in their eyes. You will have given them a gift they will long hold in their hearts.
And if there’s a slight commotion in front that results in a spontaneous and unexpected addition to the cast?
Check and see if she’s wearing pink.
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