Obviously he gets this from Sara.
Besh’s first dance recital was this past weekend. He’s been going to a weekend dance class all school year and this was the culmination of his combination ballet/tap class for 2-3 year olds. It’s been a fun year taking him to class and seeing a few moments through the studio window. It’s also been interesting seeing some of the looks from parents even in south Austin. Yes, he’s the only boy. Not just in his class, but in all 2-3 year old classes (I believe there are 10).
We had to get Besh measured for his recital costume several months ago. We added an inch here and there to try and account for growth, but naturally he exceeded our calculations. His shiny blue vest was a bit snug and short on him, but he only needed it that one day.
A few weeks ago he got to wear the costume for the first time when they took the official photos at dance class. He was thrilled. And that week and the next they invited family into class to watch the kids perform, to try and get them used to dancing in front of an audience. Besh was very into performing, and one time when the class performed early so his Nonni and Zayde weren’t back from Starbucks yet he was incredibly sad. His awesome teacher just had the class perform again when the grandparents arrived.
This is nothing new for Besh, the boy who insisted every raised surface in all of London was a stage that he needed to perform on. But the day before the dance recital, a wave of nerves descended on him and he announced he didn’t want to dance at the recital. After talking to him about it and telling him it was just important to try, he was excited to perform by the morning of the show.
We all drove down to the venue for the show early that morning. It was in the middle of nowhere and we were expecting some small utility room or dance hall or something. Instead, it was a full-blown theater. Raised stage, stadium seats, full lights, large lobby, the works. Probably seats 300 or 400 people. But Besh sees the lobby and is thrilled. We pose for some pictures in front of a giant clapboard (the theme was Night at the Oscars) and Sara takes Besh back to the dressing room.
Nervously, we all wait for his performance. His group is sixth out of ten. The show starts with some promotional materials for the dance school (Dance Xplosion, really great group) and a short performance by the teachers. Then the group of kids come out one at a time. They stand in the stage with the instructors to the side and mimic the routine the instructors are doing (that they’ve been working on). When it’s all done the kids stand in line and each one gets a medal while the family and audience cheer. Fun event.
There’s drama, of course. One child rushes on stage from the audience just as the number is ending (turns out her group was yet to perform–they just had the same costume so a bit of panic set in). Another group starts with one girl in tears, holding the hand of the instructor. By the end she does a few moves and everyone cheers wildly.
Then it’s time. Besh’s group takes the stage. They perform their number and Besh is really following along. He spins, he points his toes, he does the steps, and he’s having a blast. No nerves there. The routine ends and everyone claps. He’s second in line to get his medal so we all clap loudly and yell “Geee!” to him (that’s what Isaac calls Besh and he wanted us to yell that).
That’s when it starts. As the teacher has moved on to the next student, Besh puts his arms a little out to his side and then raises them up, making a sort of U-shape with his arms. The crowd laughs a little and cheers. He puts his arms down and I see it on his face. It’s the look of “Did that just work?”
He cocks his head a little and raises his arms again. The crowd laughs a little more and cheers a bit louder.
He’s hooked. He does it again. And again. And again. Each time the cheers are louder. Each time we’re all laughing more. By the fourth or fifth time, tears of laughter are streaming down my cheeks (others too, I’m sure). The instructors see by the end and are laughing too.
After the show, dozens (not exagerating) of people come up to us and tell Besh he stole the show or was a funny performer or great dancer. Besh took it all in stride.
Sara and I both told Besh how proud we were. One time when Sara mentioned this to Besh and asked if he was proud he said, “I’m proud of myself because I tried.”
Having seen Besh dance or make jokes in public, I suppose this shouldn’t be a surprise. But it’s one thing to do it at the mall or in a restaurant and another to do it on stage with hundreds of strangers looking out at you. I have a feeling this isn’t the last time we’ll see Besh hamming it up. And I can’t wait.