My Convertible Life

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Rainbow of Opportunity

I'm the first to admit that I cry easily at the slightest thing -- sappy commercials, children's books, the last 10 dramatic minutes of a cheesy movie I've never seen. But even I was surprised to find myself choking back tears at a modern dance recital last month.

It was the Rainbow Dance Company's annual concert -- our friend and neighbor is the director and was also dancing in the show, so my husband and I took both kids to the Saturday matinee. The Rainbow Dance Company, a multi-age modern dance group, includes girls and women (and a few men) ranging from age 9 to 50+.

When the first group of dancers took the stage, Junius and Pippi were in awe, mesmerized by the sounds, the lights and the dancing. I watched the dancers -- and watched my children watching them -- and felt my eyes well up. Here was a group of (in this case) women and girls representing a range of ages, colors, shapes, sizes and ability who were all part of the same beauty, working together to make something amazing. They were so in control of their bodies, so comfortable with themselves, so powerful on the stage. I wanted to be like them, to be one of them, wanted my daughter to grow up in a group like that.

I tried to imagine what it would be like to have that kind of confidence at age 16. To feel so strong in my own skin, to mentor a 9-year-old girl who is holding her own among the "grown-ups,"  to dance side-by-side with a 55-year-old woman who is every bit as beautiful and athletic as the younger girls. What an incredible opportunity to see the world this way, to see being a woman this way.

Among our friends and neighbors, we know moms who are marathoners and triathletes, teachers and lawyers, architects and accountants, and more. I love that my daughter will have so many strong women role models to look up to as she gets older. And I love that my son will have always seen women in all these roles, so that maybe (just maybe) it won't occur to him that there is anything unusual about it. But taking Juni and Pip to that modern dance concert was a rare opportunity to see one of our mom friends in action doing non-mom-related work.

I don't know if either of my kids will want to study dance (although Pippi does adore a good ballet outfit and Junius had a blast at Arts Together's Super Hero camp last summer), but I do know this: as they grow up, I want them to be part of a group that makes them feel strong, that allows them to see the possibilities ahead, that connects them with diverse communities. And in the meantime, I'm trying to figure out how many years of dance lessons I'm going to need before I can win an invitation to the Rainbow Dance Company for myself.

Photo by Matt Kesterson from Arts Together

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