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May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

In honor of Mother's Day, I think it's time I came clean: I had children so I would have someone to attend dance concerts with me.

I know, I know. It sounds a little selfish.

But there is plenty of precedent. Offspring have been conceived to produce farm hands, or to run the corner grocery store, and let's not forget the lengths to which monarchs went to have an heir. So why not fecundity at the service of a lonely dance critic?

My husband tired of classical ballet even while we were dating. If it wasn't edgy, he put down his foot and refused to go with me. And friends aren't always reliable. They get sick at the last minute. They have to work late. They have to go home to be with their own families.

So the children have served an invaluable function. I started taking them to the shows I wasn't reviewing by the time they were 3 or 4. It was a good introduction and toughened 'em up, as it were, for when I was on the job. They loved most everything, almost immediately, which I knew they would. (There's the key to creating new audiences, but that's a topic for another day.)

I have to admit there have been some rough patches. My daughter freaked out at one Pilobolus performance when a dummy was dropped from the fly space onto the stage. She nearly climbed out of my lap. A friendly publicist took her to his office so I could make it through the next piece, but we had to leave early. (In my defense, I did not intend to take her with me that night. The baby sitter never showed up.) It turned out OK, though, because it was a family show and the whole episode ended up in my review. When it came to my son, woe to me if I forgot to bring his blanket when he was very young. 

That's all in the past. Now, they are dance-sophisticated teen-agers. Alas, school, homework and their own busy social schedules have made them less available. But a few months ago, my daughter joined me to see the Joffrey Ballet perform Sir Frederick Ashton's glorious version of Prokofiev's "Cinderella." She was not enthusiastic. I insisted, however, and so she gave up an afternoon for me. 

Happily, the performance surpassed even my expectations. She adored it.

"I'll go with you anytime to see a ballet like that," she said.

Is there a better Mother's Day gift?

May 9, 2010 1:02 PM | | Comments (0)

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