Richmond, Virginia – August 2014 (how I wish I was blogging at that point in time). Picture if you will a 14-year old who has never been away to away-camps and still not sure on this whole Cecchetti thing. Then her teacher strongly encouraged her and her studio-mate/dancer in crime to attend the 1-week Cecchetti USA dance intensive in Richmond. Then she asked if I would chaperone. Me with 8 teenage girls? Seriously. We prayed about it, looked at our finances, checked with our business’ historical sales during that week, and we decided it was the right thing. We decided that we would make it a mother-daughter road trip, as I had to be there a day early and stay a day late as a chaperone. I read somewhere that instead of buying your kids lots of stuff, make lots of memories. And that trip is something E and I will never forget.
She had her studio mate flying down as she is 2 years older and was checking out colleges with her entire family a few days before the intensive. E and I had fun, cranking the music, singing at the top of our lungs, getting lots of coffee breaks and just having an adventure. When there, I got put with E’s group for the entire week. Normally, parents can’t observe classes, but I was able to sit in with all the classes, and get real education. Chaperoning was difficult too (I had friends ask me if I enjoyed having a week off – haha, it was hard work from before all the girls woke up, until the last light was out). And in my humble opinion, when you get asked to chaperone, you are there to help in any and all aspects of the event – serving lunches to the teachers and world-renowned guests and the dancers before you eat, cleaning bars after every class since some dancers had extremely allergies, keeping the dancers motivated, even when all you want to do is sleep. I think besides writing a post on how not to be a studio parent, I should write one someday on how not to be a good chaperone.
But I digress. Seeing E and others that I know from her 2nd studio learn from such diverse and incredible teachers and professionals was a learning experience for me. I have been involved in her ballet work, but this was a whole new level. Her home studio would have 2-6 students in each class. Here, there were 25-30 students in just her classes, and there were 5 classes going on at all times. There were exceptional classes, and there were so-so classes. There were great friendships, and then there were people she never wanted to see again. But it was such a growing experience for us both. And it opened both of our eyes to what ballet could lead to. We also found out that the ballet world is very small, and people you meet at an intensive may be the ones that help you out years later – you just never know.