Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mimi's Accomplishments

Right after the holidays Mimi began "training" for an International Dance Scholarship Competition. She would compete with a contemporary piece and a classical ballet piece. We began by searching for some contemporary music that Mimi would like and with which teacher could choreograph. Of the eight or so choices Mimi and her teacher selected the song Pana by Malo. For the classical pience Mimi's teacher selected an excerpt from the ballet The Talisman (Schnietzhoeffer/Drigo/Petipa) for her to dance.

This led to some very serious dance lessons. Mimi spent Tuesday - Sunday at the studio learning her dance pieces. During non-competition preparation time Mimi does not dance on Wednesdays so that she can go to her religious education class. The last couple of weeks we allowed her to skip her religious classes so she could continue her competition training and get home at a reasonable time to complete homework, shower, and go to bed. It was a very rigorous and exhausting time.

There were times when I as a parent felt like I knew what it was like to live with an Olympic athlete in training. Mimi's dancing has really consumed her life. Besides dance she goes to school, circus, and church. Circus is on Wednesdays after school so she is still able to participate in that school activity. I had hoped that she would join the school's Scholastic Bowl team and follow in T-Man's footsteps. That was not to be this year; although she can attend the practices she dances all the days the team competes. It doesn't seem to bother her but it makes me sad.

Mimi and five other girls from the dance academy were preparing to compete at the competition. The moms spent the month of January sewing their costumes and/or making alterations to store bought costumes or some from the dance company. I tweaked Mimi's costume for her contemporary dance. I made her costume for the classical performance.

Ready or not February rolled around. I booked a hotel and hoped that the whole family would go or at least the boys would come up Friday after school. It turned out that T-Man's Chess State Tournament would be the same days. He would travel on the team van missing school Friday, return home that night, and return to competition Saturday. That ended the hope that everyone would go with Mimi and I.

I took Friday off from school. I packed the van double and triple checking that I had the costumes, shoes, make-up, and hair supplies necessary for the competition. Mimi would also need snacks and her I-pod loaded with her warm-up music. After map questing directions for the Chicago suburbs, loading up on toll road quarters we left at 5:30am to get to the hotel and meet the rest of the girls. The girls would get ready for the competition at the hotel. Here her jazz teacher fixes her hair.
Then the director/owner/ ballet teacher applied her make-up.

We then headed off the the hosting college campus theater for the competition. It was an all day experience. In the evening the girls returned for a hotel room celebration of pizza and fun. Saturday we did some shopping, watched some high school age girls compete and then watched the awards ceremony.

One of the girls from the academy earned a national competition spot in New York. She’ll compete again in April. Another of the girls placed in the top twelve for her age division. Angelique earned very good scores and was given good feedback from the judges. All in all it was a great experience.

We could not take pictures or video during the competition. The following couple of weekends had the Youth Ensemble participating in some community dance events. I was able to get some shots Of Mimi dancing her contemporary piece. At her student concert I hope to get some of her classical dance.

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