A tale of tan­gled tu­tus

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - Tapshowguide - Lori Borgman TRI­BUNE NEWS SER­VICE

Dance class started to­day. No, not for us. We did that once — worst money ever spent. Sorry, Arthur Mur­ray. It wasn’t you; it was us. We lasted for one fox trot and half a waltz be­fore we twostepped right out the door.

Two of the lit­tle ones, cousins, have en­rolled in dance class. We’re hop­ing they last longer than we did.

There’s noth­ing like low-to-the­ground, full-bod­ied tod­dlers swathed in bubbles of pink net­ting at­tempt­ing to master the wil­lowy bends and arcs of pro­fes­sional bal­leri­nas.

There’s a buzz in the hall­way be­fore class. The teacher emerges from the class­room and in­tro­duces her­self to each of the girls. Then come the good­byes, big hugs and lin­ger­ing em­braces.

“Mommy will be wait­ing! Be good! I LOVE YOU!”

It will be a long jour­ney for the lit­tle ones — ap­prox­i­mately 10 steps around the cor­ner and into the dance stu­dio. Par­ents are not al­lowed in the stu­dio, but can watch on a mon­i­tor in a wait­ing area.

It ap­pears the teacher’s goal to­day is to get eight preschool­ers to stand in a straight line.

The teacher ex­plains some­thing to the group, then pa­tiently goes down the line, on her knees on hard­wood, and puts eight pieces of tape on the floor, in­struct­ing each girl to stand on the tape.

The teacher then goes down the line a sec­ond time, again po­si­tion­ing each dancer on her tape mark. Dancer No. 1, Dancer No. 2, Dancer No. 3, all the way to Dancer No. 8.

All eight are on their tape marks. Class is half­way over.

Tiny dancers then sit on the floor and bend to touch their toes. Those with long arms are at an ad­van­tage.

Dance Class Les­son No. 1: All arms are not cre­ated equal and life is not fair.

Dancers ad­vance to stand­ing po­si­tion, at­tempt to point their feet and lift their arms over­head.

The teacher then demon­strates how to skip. She mo­tions for the girls to skip in a line. There is no line. Dancers are mov­ing in ev­ery di­rec­tion, criss­cross­ing, zig-zag­ging and roam­ing in loose fig­ure eights.

The girls are not grasp­ing the con­cept of fol­low­ing one an­other.

Girls are in­structed to go to their back­packs and put on tap shoes.

One re­turns with sun­glasses. An­other re­moves her tutu to put on tap shoes. She tugs at her leo­tard and tights but ap­par­ently de­cides to leave them on.

They commence tap­ping their toes when the teacher turns to a lit­tle girl, picks her up and car­ries her to the cam­era. Did she want to wave to her mother?

No. The teacher in­di­cates the girl needs to go potty.

An­other dancer lines up be­hind the first dancer. The teacher in­di­cates that this girl, too, needs to go potty. Then an­other dancer lines up. And an­other and an­other.

They can do some­thing in suc­ces­sion! Line up for the potty!

Three lit­tle dancers re­main on the dance floor.

Not a sin­gle one is on her tape mark. Lori Borgman is a colum­nist, au­thor and speaker. Email her at lori@lori­borgman.com.


It ap­pears the teacher’s goal to­day is to get preschool­ers to stand in a straight line.

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