Somewhere, in my many envelopes of photos are the pictures of Bella from her first dance class. I don't really need the photos. I can remember her sheer joy at dancing on Saturday mornings with Miss Aurette at Dance Magic.
For some foolish reason, we left Dance Magic for one year and went to the Town of Cortlandt to dance for a season. It was fun, but it wasn't the same.
So back we went to a place we had missed.
While waiting for Bella during class, I would watch in awe as the older girls came through the doors. Poised. So sweet to the little girls. Kind. Confident. And I knew, no matter what, that for as long as she wanted to dance, I wanted Bella to be a part of this world.
One week, in a completely surprising move, Dance Magic closed.
W-H-A-T?! What would the girls do? Where would they dance?
Like salons, there are more than a few dance studios around. We checked out several. They are wonderful, but they weren't the right fit for Bella.
AND THEN. There was joy in the land. Jody and Diane were going to open a studio. Until the new studio was opened, dance was held at a restaurant, because hey, it worked.
We were delighted when Hudson Dance and Tumble Center opened 90 seconds from our house.
At the studio, besides the obvious, dancing, Bella learned confidence. Strength. She participated on the competitive dance team when that was offered. That experience taught her how to work within a group in a way that is different from team sports. She made friends from other schools.
She has two "dance sisters," Sam and Marissa, who have been in every show together since they were five. They live in a different town. The beauty of them growing up and driving is they will always be able to see each other. Sam graduated last year. Bella this year. Marissa next year. How lucky to have such great friends! You know I will be at Marissa's showcase next year.
I have yet to attend a show and not cry. It's what I do. (Me and Chris...we're peas in a pod!)
Claire and Laura are the faces at the desk. The calm in the storm. The women who have all the answers. Without them, it just wouldn't be the same.
Bella has taken tumble, tap (very briefly), jazz and ballet for years.
Colleen was Bella's first tumble teacher. Colleen moved to Florida, but thanks to FB, keeps up with all the activity up north. Aaron took over tumble and suddenly, there was flying through the air with the greatest of ease. It has been so much fun to watch her flip and twist and turn and move on mats.
MARY, Mary, Mary. Perhaps THE single greatest influence in Bella's life two times a week for so many years. Confidant. Teacher. Friend. Private lesson giver. I remain steadfast that we will never lose touch.
My favorite line, ever, from Mary, when Bella was just seven and in her first show, "Maggie...could you remind Bella she's not the director? We've got this."
Cait. THANKS for the private lessons, you darling woman, you. I know you and I will forever stay in touch.
Mary and Cait made Bella's solo a dream come true. She had only been thinking about it for something like six years. Bella's solo took my breath away. It was glorious.
Bella was one of eight seniors moving on to greatness. When they danced to "I Lived" I saw them all as the young women they all are...and as the little girls they were.
The ballet blew my mind. Gorgeous.
Cait's lyrical and hip hop numbers were so outstanding I am clapping while writing this.
Each and every number was a sight to behold.
A simple Saturday morning class called "Move and Groove" in 2000 morphed into a community, a family, a home away from home, a safe haven to be with people who care about you and who you care about. Summer Camp that was not only fun, but filled with important life lessons.
Unless Jodes goes crazy and stages an alumni dance (give it some thought, I like the idea!) it is unlikely Bella will ever dance with HDTC again.
But OH, what a magnificent experience.
Thank you seems entirely too inadequate.
It's all I've got.
Thank you. ALL of you who have ever held a place in Bella's dance life. Gretchen. Aurette. Colleen. Kait. Barbara. Miss Barthelmes. Diane. Jody. Joelle. Katie. Mary. Aaron. Caitlin. Suzi. Susan. Claire. Laura. For 15 superb years. It went entirely too quickly. xo
With all my love,
Music today - Bella's solo music. We were asked not to video, so I didn't. There is a CD of the show, but I don't know how to just show you Bella's solo. If I figure that out, I will share.
PS - clicking on any picture will make them bigger.
Let your dreaming be your guide
If you seek then you shall find
Turn the tide in from the fallen
Waiting to rise up again
I can feel it in blood
I hold the future in my hand