Well, sort of.
My boy, “The Haitian” asked me to accompany him to the Young Performer’s Theater Camp’s 2008 Recital. A program of the Philly Rec Dept, the camp is a really great program that brings the arts to hundreds of kids in the City. Acting, voice and dancing. Sounds great right? It sure is. The Haitian and I caught the dance show.
The opening number got me right away. Immediately I was whisked back in time to when I used to dance. I tell this to everyone who knows me, but if I could be anything in the world with the snap of my fingers, I’d be a professional dancer. Touring and performing. Choreographing. Soaking up the spotlight. When I was young, I started out in a program kind of similar to the Young Performer’s. I am very grateful for that opportunity, because I know my family would not have been able to afford to send me to dance lessons. As a matter of fact, that’s why I never realized my dream of becoming a professional. Well, partly. When I did dance, I was into Jazz, Modern/Contemporary and Hip-Hop. So when I saw those kids sashaying and leaping across the stage, I must admit my heart quickened. Then it momentarily came to a screeching halt.
After the opening number, a white dude comes out and says a few words about the camp’s history and accomplishments. Just before leaving the stage, he tells the ALL Black audience (save but 3 or 4) that they should remember that this night is all about the kids and to respect the performers on stage. I was like “Oh really?” Immediately I wondered why this man felt he had to tell a bunch of grownups to make sure they had their dose of ActRight.
Then I found out.
These godamned parents could not shut the fuck up! GO KEISHAAAAAAAA! GET IT SABRINAAAAAAA! TAYQUANSAAAAAAAAAAA! WHOOOO!
I saw one kid for sure get distracted by all that hollering. Man. This was a dance recital not a football game. I wondered if those same parents hooted like that when their kids brought home their math homework. I think the logic is “If I don’t scream my child’s name over the music and tapping and clapping, they’ll think I don’t love them.” Or maybe they just don’t know any better. Anyone who has graduated from a mostly black high school probably knows what I’m talking about. SMH. (Aside: I don’t understand why people make such a freakin’ event out of graduating from HS. You’re SUPPOSED to do that. It’s like, bare minimum in my mind. Sure, you can celebrate a milestone, but don’t act like it’s the best thing I’m ever gonna do! End Aside)
Really though, I thought the show was great. I’m so pleased to see kids involved in the arts. They were very talented. Wait. I’ll be honest. SOME of them were clearly destined to go on to performing arts schools and get their BFAs/MFAs, going on to grace some of the world’s greatest stages. The others, ummm not so much. They just got into camp.
Some thoughts from the night (scribbled on my program)
– Man, I remember wearing those leotards. They are not forgiving if you’re one of those girls who developed breasts in elementary schools.
– Speaking of which, I was disturbed by how a lot of those YOUNG girls looked. 11, 12, 13 years old with T&A poppin’ out from under tutus and tap shorts. I said to The Haitian, “Yo, they gotta stop feeding kids all those hormones.” He replied, “That’s that Corner Chinese spot.” I nodded in agreement.
– I’ve decided that when I have a daughter, I’m going to crush up birth control pills and sprinkle ’em in with her frosted flakes. You know, kind of like how you get your cat to take his medicine? Yeah, just slip it in to the wet food!
– While most of the music was nice and appropriate for the theme/mood, I’d have to say that 50 Cent singing about pimps may have missed the mark.
– There were a few male dancers and they were very good. I hate how people make boy dancers seem like they’re not masculine or man enough. Fuck that! Those guys are always so strong and graceful. Controlled and powerful. Sure, some are gay but many are not. What does it matter anyway? The pirouettes on one of those boys nearly brought me to tears.
– There were a few tap numbers. I’m honestly not a big tap fan. I appreciate and recognize the difficulty in that genre. It’s one of those dances that looks fairly simple (just stomp your feet, right?) but really takes technique and training to do it well. There was one boy tap dancing just a little too cool for me. He didn’t have enough facial expressions nor did he work his upper body. He pissed me off. I like my tap with a lil’ shuck and jive, ya know? Like, I want to feel like somebody’s about to get their shoes shined after a good hoofin’.
Even though the parents were hood and all of the kids weren’t stars, I thought it was great that they could participate and that their families were there to support. That’s very important, as it was to my own development into the bourgie woman before you today.
I look forward to seeing more like this and maybe even finding some way to help out.
Bourgie loves the kids (but leave they mommas at home please)!