Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Three troupes

The kids and I took my mother into the big city for the annual New Year's First Night arts celebration (she was a trooper). The convention center is turned into a multi-floored festival of all things artistic - music, film, crafts, fine arts, dance and singing. We saw hundreds of people watching improv and sneaked the boys into a packed room for a percussion demonstration. We also watched skateboarders and cyclists do aerial stunts and trampoline dudes do a very funny act (involving bouncing very high off their bellies then pretending to be Superman - alright it was funny at the time).

Then there were the dancing troupes that rotated on a stage in the same room with craft tables. One group was the "Latin" group. Girls (and a few boys) ranging from ages 5 to 21 (according to their announcer) did mambo, salsa, merengue and other dances from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and other places. It was funny how they were all pretty ho-hum during the performance. You could tell they had been swinging their hips, working those feet and tossing their heads since they were two weeks old.

The "black" group was also made up of girls (and a few boys) ranging from 5-ish to older teen (no announcer for this one). There was more energy in their steps. You could tell there was a comfort in their movements. They also looked like kids who had been dancing since they were born. And not in that taking-classes-forever sort of way. What they were doing was second nature.

Then there was the "white" group. Oh, the white group was made up of nine pre-teen girls (no boys) who, well, were ridiculous. They sang covers and their own songs with headsets and coordinated dance moves ("Girls Just Want to Have Fun" will never be the same). The dance moves didn't have the fluid ease of the earlier groups, rather a crazed urgency of LOOK AT US WE CAN DANCE!!!! There were some parents dressed up in crazy I'm still cool outfits and it just had a general freakishness about it.

But what was gross were the little girls in the audience - 4, 5, 6 years old - staring up at them on the stage. And the performers were winking, smiling and pointing. I hope these little girls were told later that this group wasn't talented. And then listened to Sarah Vaughan, Rebirth Brass Band or Cole Porter on the car ride home.


Jenn said...

i just remember how much i loved star search as a kid. i thought they were awesome.

soccer mom in denial said...

Well then, YOU turned out o.k. I guess I can calm down.

Kate said...

I have to say I was never one of those "new kids on the block" devotees. Then again, I was totally into Madonna as a kid and was singing "Like a Virgin" when I was 13. So what do I know...