Armstrong Dancers – The Early Performances

by imageguy

Last weekend, as I mentioned in my last post, the Armstrong School of Dance put on their 14th annual recital/dance extravaganza at Ford Hall on the Ithaca College campus.

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They have so many students that they have to break up the performances into two sessions. The early session is always the younger dancers that are all under ten years old. Backstage is a chaotic but carefully orchestrated team of older girls and parents keeping all these tiny dancers occupied, made up, hair dressed, bathroom tended, costumed, and lined up for entrances and exits. Amazingly, year after year, it goes off like clockwork for the most part.

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Dress rehearsal usually sees a few who just refuse to move once on stage, or who take their leave of the line up to address relatives in the audience. But by the time they hit the stage for the real thing, most do amazingly well. I can barely remember my daughter when she was in the early show, dancing with all the tiny girls. Amazing how fast the time passes and how quickly they grow up.

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The changes in the older girls and the growth in their talents and abilities as dancers and performers is easy to see as the classes progress and their poise and grace mature. They are more focused, more at ease on stage, and more confidant in their bodies. It’s a great thing for self esteem as well as physical fitness. It teaches them how to be a part of a group, how to play a part in the whole and still shine as an individual. In the beginning it’s just plain fun.

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Interspersed with these tots, the Armstrong Team Dancers perform twice. I love this part because it allows me to watch my daughter a couple of extra times. I can never get enough of watching her dance. Other team girls who teach classes with the very little girls are expected to be on stage with them to guide their steps.

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I love watching these fledgling dancers, knowing that they will likely be the team girls in several years, growing from spindly legged colts to fine thoroughbreds with the guidance of Karen and her staff. These girls all become a family, with tight friendships with their classmates and caring and admiration for their instructors who are mentors, big sisters, and good friends as well.

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They are a joy to watch. Bring lightness and warmth to the heart. They are tiny treasures. They are the epitome of childhood in all they do.

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Bless you all tiny dancers.

All images are Copyright © George Cannon, All Rights Reserved.

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