We spent most of Saturday (8:00 am -9:00 pm) at a Dance competition in which Samuel was in three dances. (For those to whom this means anything--two high golds and a silver star.)
In the course of the day, I learned several things. First, I had been dreading this, as who would not--12 or more hours with a half hour break for lunch. And I wound up having a fantastic time. It amazed me what these young people could do, and it gratified me to see so many giving so much of their time and energy to the arts. That was deeply satisfying. Second, I learned how many ways there are to be illiterate. To be honest, I saw a lot of dance (that was rated very highly) that I just didn't "get." The motions seemed hurky-jerky, arms and legs akimbo and in awkward positions, music choice not the greatest, and coherence simply not there. I realize that I am not in the realm of professional choreographers, but I've noticed the same in dances that are professionally choreographed. I watched ballets in which dancers "pas de chat" all over the stage and it just looks like some kind of weird affliction that one might better expect in the medieval ages. I just don't have the vocabulary and grammar of dance clear--I don't understand it and that disturbs me. And so, I conclude that I must spend a good deal of time studying and coming to terms with it.
Finally, I was amazed at the professionalism and caliber of some of the dances. One poor dancer had her music vanish about midway through her dance and she took it all in stride, continuing throughout the entire routine and completing the dance as though nothing had happened. There was one male dancer who took most of the awards for the competition and who looks like he may have a wonderful career before him as a dancer.
But to come back to the first point--it was fantastic to see so many young people celebrating the arts. Even if they did not understand that they were doing so, and even though the majority will not continue in the arts, for them to have this enriching experience so early in life can only be an advantage as they continue on. It is my ardent prayer that each dancer come to know his or her own ability and use it to celebrate the arts in a way that gives God glory.