15 May 2005

my dancer-girl

about a week ago, ava had her very first dance performance and I'm all crazy inside about it. it's so much that I don't even know what to write or how to begin. such an emotional thing for me, seeing her on stage for the first time. yes, okay. I admit it, people. I cried. all these years dancing, performing, teaching (other people's children)... wondering what it might be like to have a child of my own who might be interested in dance. I am aware that ava is only four and this is probably one out of like, 5,731 things she is going to take an interest in, but still. there she was, up on that stage... in her brown velvet costume, under those bright lights, a little unsure, a little unsteady. the student musicians started to play (miles davis!) and they all began to dance (well, sort of) and my heart swelled and I thought surely I might burst into a million pieces. I wanted to fly out of my seat and onto the stage and hug and squeeze her and dance with her. instead, I sat quietly. beaming. at the curtain call, the sound of african drums filled the rialto theatre as a swarm of young dancers and musicians took the stage for final bows. I could barely see ava amidst the chaos. what I was able to make out was her smile-- small, but proud.

ava and dance. in the womb, she kicked (hard, man) while I worked with the moving in the spirit kids (usually when the drums were loud and driving). she is partly named after an amazing african dancer I met while studying at the american dance festival at duke university, summer of 1997. this woman (ava) was one of the strongest, most beautiful dancers I had ever met. behind the electricity and power of her dancing was also an incredible mother, so warm, so open and loving-- full of grace and life. I loved watching her move. fell in love with her name (and all that it had come to represent to me) that summer and secretly vowed that it would be the name of my daughter, should I ever be so blessed to have one.

and so this could be the first of many performances for ava... or the last. I have no way of knowing what will spark her interests in the coming years. of course, I would be lying if I said I didn't care. to take her to her first modern dance performance... to expose her to all the wonderful and different kinds of movement out there... to take an african dance class together... maybe even collaborate/choreograph/perform together. yes, that would be brilliant. what I am thankful for today, though, is this: I was given the chance to see her on stage dancing with live music and lights and excitement this once, to share this love of dance with her, witness this thing of beauty. and that is enough for me.

12 comments:

  1. love it!!! I can feel your excitment! Congrats Ava on your first performance!

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  2. Ava is blessed to have a mother that so passionately wants to share what she loves with her, but at the same time gracefully submits to the possibility that Ava's feelings may differ.

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  3. wow! how cool! you wrote that so well i really did get the sense of your joy and how proud you must've been. lucky for ava to have such a supportive mother in whatever her dreams may be. i love the name ava too and how you came upon it. (unrelated) something coincidental - i have a friend here who's name is andrea and has a son named ezra too.

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  4. Andrea,
    I got goosebumps after reading this entry. What a beautiful moment and memory. I would love to talk with you more about it, hear more of your thoughts.

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  5. that's absolutely beautiful. thank you for sharing

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  6. I wish we could have been there. Never had the chance to talk with you about it yet! So glad I read this.

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  7. Great post, I know what you mean. It's an interesting and amazing thing when you look at these brilliant little people, and catch a glimpse of yourself just a bit. But knowing that, we still know they came into this world with their own path, personality, their own strengths. It's great. God bless the little ones. :)

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  8. The way you wrote made me feel like I was there. You are such a good story teller.

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  9. Yep! Ava is a 'spittin' image of you when you were that age and it was so good to hear about how you felt. We felt the same way....We are so blessed with Ava... a gift from God Himself.

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  10. Man, I was such the proud papa watching my sweet little girl up there moving, dancing and smiling. We were a little worried about stagefright, but she proved us wrong. She had a great time up there.

    And Andrea, I have to say that even though I was there too, in no way could I describe that feeling as well as in the way you did here. Wonderful.

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  11. Well it's taken me a day or two to comment because I was so moved when reading this entry. It's so great the way you put the experience into words, Andrea. I'm so happy for Ava. I bet she was just thrilled! She's blessed to have these kinds of experiences. She'll have no trouble finding what she loves in life because you guys are so great at providing her with opportunities. And also because of what you and Ward are best at - finding pure joy in simple life experiences. What memories she'll have. Can't believe she's growing up so fast...

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  12. wow. I am overwhelmed by all the wonderful responses. thanks, everyone.

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