Tag Archives: ballet

Greta’s Dance Recital (2015)

I know I'm behind a bit in my blogging duties of late, but, let me tell ya, summer with a six-year-old who is used to the structure of a regular school day is definitely not for the weak of heart. Yikes…it's been one big, crazy event after another since school got out in May. Crazytown!

Anyway, in the spirit of finally getting back on track, here are some of the best pics from Greta's Father's Day weekend dance recital. Enjoy!


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Kindergarten Week One: The New World Order

Yesterday marked the end of the first full week of kindergarten and let me tell ya, whoever said I’d have more time on my hands once Greta started school is full of shit. I haven’t felt this frazzled and out-of-my-element since those first few days after we brought Greta home from the hospital. Seriously, it’s been non-stop since Monday morning.

One of my new mom friends equated this week with starting a new job, and she’s not far off. I was anxious, way too concerned with my hair and what I was wearing, tired as fuck (sorry, but my usual F-word substitute, “fudge,” just didn’t seem to express how truly exhausting this week has been) and completely overwhelmed with paperwork. Insanity!

And though there have been definite highlights and I’ve made fast friends with several very chill moms and dads of students in Greta’s class, I think all three of us are a little overwhelmed by the sweeping sea change washing over us right now.

So far, Greta has been loving school but it’s the getting up in the morning and going there that kills her. However, aside from Wednesday morning, which was just horrific — at one point I was literally dragging her to class! — she really loves her teacher and each new day was better than the last. So, that’s progress in my book.

Personally, I found myself finally getting into the groove around Thursday, which is great because it ended up being one of the longest days of my life. I got up at 7:15 (which, believe it or not, has been my start time all week!), got Greta ready, dropped her off at school at 8:25 and then headed to my first PTA meeting at 8:30. Luckily for me, I managed to squeeze in some breakfast, because it turned out to be a three hour meeting! Yikes…who knew?

Fortunately, the meeting got out a little early (at around 11:00) so I had time to run to Costco and Trader Joe’s before heading back to school to pick up Greta at 1:30. We then headed to the park for a mini reunion with some of our old friends from Greta’s pre-school days, and then headed from there straight to ballet class, where we shared an emotional goodbye with Greta’s beloved ballet teacher who started her maternity leave today.

After ballet, we ran home to change and pick up Mrs. Yeti and then hurried back to Greta’s school for a massive “Back-to-School” picnic. They had food trucks, music, a farmer’s market selling produce grown at the school’s onsite garden (!) and again, many chances to meet new parent friends. Simply put, it was awesome. If all the parents at Stevenson are as hip, artsy and totally diverse as the ones we met this week, this new world order might not be so bad after all!

Now, if we could just get a handle on the constant flow of paperwork coming our way, I think we might be ready to face week two. Wish us luck!



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Filed under Daddy stuff, Greta stuff, Mommy Stuff, School stuff

Greta’s Ballet Recital (2014)

Greta’s third ballet recital was a couple of weeks ago and, as you can see from the pics below, it was another smashing success. This year Greta’s class danced to “Octopus’s Garden” by The Beatles and though some of the kids struggled a bit with the choreography, Greta was spot on the entire performance. I know I’m supposed to say stuff like that, but, I really mean it…she was awesome!

My Dad put it best when he remarked that this year was the first time you could really see a big improvement in Greta’s dancing. “It’s actually kind of cool to see the growth over time.” he said, adding that “If I hadn’t seen all three shows, I don’t know if I would have noticed it. But, I can definitely see it!” Wow. Those of you who know my Dad know that he is not very free wheeling with the compliments, so, if he says that…he means it. So, thanks, Dad, I totally agree!

Enjoy the pics!


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Watching vs. Documenting

A friend of mine who has a son around Greta’s age gave me some really great advice recently. He said that over the years he realized that he spent so much time documenting his son’s soccer games, music recitals, etc., that he had never actually seen his son do anything. You know, in real time with his naked eyes.

Greta @ ballet class (May 2014)

So, the next time his son had an event, my friend left his iPhone and camera in his backpack and actually watched his son perform — no camera, no zoom, no video, no flash, just straight up watching — and it was magical. So, last Thursday at Greta’s annual ballet class parent viewing day I did the same thing.

As you can see, I still took a few pictures here and there, but, for the most part I simply watched my daughter dance and it was lovely. Seriously, I never knew what I was missing…Greta was amazing!

If you haven’t tried it yet for yourself, I highly recommend you do. Handing off the camera to someone else (or even just not taking pics or video) and actively watching your kid perform is pretty damn incredible. Try it!

Greta @ ballet class (May 2014)

Greta @ ballet class (May 2014)

Greta @ ballet class (May 2014)


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You’ve come a long way, baby…

Yesterday was Greta’s last ballet class of the year and to celebrate this monumental event, her teacher, Miss Sommer, let the parents actually sit in the studio and take pics and video of the class in session. We invited my brother and his wife (aka Uncle Guy Guy and Aunt Laura) and this is the perfect snapshot he captured of Greta in the studio.

As you can see from the confident little glint in her eyes, any initial fears she may have had about taking a ballet/tap class are long gone and she’s just as hammy when cameras are around as the rest of us. Ha! Congrats on your first three months as a ballerina, sweetie. Long may you jeté!


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Wow…what a difference a week makes! Last Monday, Greta couldn’t make it through a whole dance class, and this week at her “redo”, she couldn’t wait to get back in there. I don’t know if it was the gentle drilling I did at home — we watched the ballet and tap scenes from “An American In Paris” like, fifty times! — or the fact that her teacher let her start the class clutching her “Angelina Ballerina” DVD for support, but, for whatever reason, Greta really rocked it this week. Hooray!

And, hey, even if she didn’t rock it, I’d still be proud of her for getting back in there and facing her fears. Seriously, I learned my lesson last week…live and let live, baby. But, lucky for us, she loved the class, so, that is where you’ll find her and me and anyone else who’d like to come watch on Monday afternoons for the next three months.

Now, if anyone knows where I can score some cheap ballet and tap shoes in a toddler size 5 1/2-6, please, hook a brother up. That shit’s expensive!


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The worst stage parent EVER!

OK, so on Monday, Greta had her first trial ballet class. I say trial because the dance school here gives you one free session to see if your kid is ready for the teacher-student environment of the classroom before you sign up for regular classes. Pretty cool, huh? Especially considering how much the classes cost! Whew…

So, I get her all “balleted-out” with her favorite shirt and tutu, her favorite ballet slippers, a big flowery headband, the works…she looked adorable, seriously, the cutest kid there by a longshot. The minute we walk in, Greta meets the teacher and is all smiles as she follows the other girls into the studio to warm up. I tired to take her hand and walk her in, but she was already gone. Good sign, I thought, she knows what she’s doing…no hand-holding necessary for my little superstar!

So, then the class begins, and all the parents in the lobby lean close to watch the closed-circuit TV feed from the classroom. Actually, I was probably the only one “leaning close” as the other parents seemed to be seasoned dance class veterans.

Then my brother and sister-in-law and Mrs. Yeti arrive to watch Greta’s “debut”. It’s a big moment, we’re all terribly excited to see Greta decimate her peers on the dance floor (um, actually, maybe that was just me again) and guess what happened? Nothing. Literally!

Instead of flitting through the air like a tragic, love-struck swan, Greta just stood there with her head bowed and her arms at her side for almost the entire class. I know I should have felt nothing but compassion for this shy little girl staring at the floor, but, honestly, all I could feel was mortified. Seriously, I wanted to run in there, pull her aside and shake some sense into her: “You dance at home, you dance at Target, you dance pretty much anywhere we go, but you can’t do it here, where it really counts?! What’s wrong with you, kid?!” Yes, I know, I totally suck as a parent. But, I’m sorry, that’s how I felt at the time.

Of course, no one there would have known that. I just kept smiling and laughing nervously as she stood there sucking the fun out of that roomful of cute-ass kids. My brother described her best as looking like the dude from “The Blair Witch Project” in that final, spooky-ass shot in the movie. And, sadly, that’s exactly what she looked like, just standing there completely still with her head bowed. All she needed was some long black hair to hang in her face and she could be the next great Japanese horror film monster. Oy, it was a nightmare…

And then, maybe halfway through the class, she started to move. First her feet, then her hands, and then she actually followed the teacher from one end of the studio to the other, imitating her moves the entire time. One of the seasoned vets nearby turned to me and said: “Wow. She’s doing really good for her first time!” To which I responded in total disbelief: “Really?!” Urgh, I’m such a prick.

Then, the funniest thing happened. The teacher left the room for a moment and Greta suddenly stood up and dramatically twirled up and down the line of her peers. Sure, she looked a little crazy and yes, the other kids looked at her like she was a little crazy, but, hey, at least she was moving!

Of course, the minute the teacher returned to the studio, Greta stopped dancing. And when the girls took a break to change into their tap shoes for the second half of the class, Greta left the studio never to return. It was like: “Cool, I’m done. Let’s go to the park.” Still not sure of what to do or say, Mrs. Yeti and I just told Greta what a good job she did and then made her wait till the class ended so we could talk to her teacher about what to do next.

The teacher and the other people working at the school assured us that, in fact, Greta did really well for her first time and suggested we try the free class one more time next Monday to see how she does. I was still skeptical of the whole thing — and it’s not just the money talking, because my Mom is paying for the class — but agreed to bring Greta back next week for another session.

And then we went to the park where all I could do was think about what I had done wrong. Did I over-hype the class to Greta? To others? To myself? Did I push her into this? Was she ready for a ballet class at two-and-a-half? Did she even care about any of this shit as much as I did? Yikes…my head was spinning and like I usually do when my head spins, I fell asleep. Yep, right there on the park bench, in the middle of a really good story my brother was telling. Sorry, hermano!

And when I awoke a couple of minutes later, I realized that the problem wasn’t Greta at all, it was me. Again, I think my brother said it best when he asked me: “What did you think was going to happen today?” BAM! Good question, man. I came clean and admitted that I thought Greta was gonna burn the place down with her mad ballet skills, and even as the words flowed over my lips, I knew how wrong my entire approach had been.

This class was supposed to be about and for Greta, not me, and my role as a parent was to shut my big mouth and bring her back next week for our second free class. If she likes it, cool, if she doesn’t, well, that’s cool too. And if she wants to stand there like a character from a freaky Japanese horror film, that’s also totally acceptable. I brought her to the well, my Mom paid for the water, but that doesn’t mean she’s gonna drink it.

And you know what? That’s fine. Seriously, nothing good ever grew in the shadow of a nasty-ass stage parent. So, from here on out, no pressure, kid. Be yourself. Love yourself. Dance or don’t dance. We’ll be there to cheer you on no matter what you do.

But, seriously, can you try and decide if you like this stuff before we invest in the real tap and ballet shoes? That shit’s kinda pricey…


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Super-dogging the Natural History Museum

OK, back to our NYC adventures. I think we were up to Thursday of last week? Is that right? Who knows. It’s all kind of a blur now that we’re home anyway. But, let’s say it’s Thursday of last week, the 18th. Slept in again, so late that Kismet’s dog walker, Ray, showed up while we were getting ready to leave the house at 1:00PM.

Mrs. Yeti was mortified (“Urgh, it’s so late, he must think we’re total losers!”) but I, after having the room cleaned around me all week at the Paramount, was a little less mortified. Besides, a 1:00PM start time with a toddler seemed downright early in my book.

Anyway, don’t remember what we ate for breakfast, but, I do know that we had Mr. Softee chocolate shakes for lunch. I’m not usually a fan of soft-serve milkshakes, but, something about Mr. Softee slays me every time. Maybe it’s their cute-ass logo or the fact that their ice cream trucks are EVERYWHERE during the summer. Whatever it is, they taste great, especially for lunch!

We then hiked up Broadway from Columbus Circle to walk around Lincoln Center. We had never been there before, and it was gorgeous, just acres and acres of performance space and groovy, mid-century architecture. Oh, and did I mention that they had posters for upcoming ballets everywhere we looked? Greta was in heaven. Seriously, she was dancing the whole time.

We then wandered across the Lincoln Center campus — seriously, that place is gigantic! — towards the Julliard School’s student bookstore. I know it’s lame, but, ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to go to Julliard. I can’t act, or dance or sing to save my life, but, just knowing that a school like that existed was kind of thrilling to a burgeoning film geek. So, despite the protestations of my wife that we already have way too many, I bought a Julliard coffee mug. Yep, that’s how I roll…

Grabbed some healthy snacks at a farmer’s market nearby — lemme tell ya, big apple apples are truly amazing! — and then hopped back on the subway towards the Natural History Museum. You know, the really famous old museum they always use in movies and stuff? That’s the one. Truth be told, I was kinda dreading the price tag though. Adult tickets are $19 and tickets for children ages 2-12 cost a whopping $10.50. I know, I know, it’s not anywhere near Disneyland prices, but, wow, $50 for a freaking museum? Yikes…

Luckily for us, the museum is free for the last hour and fifteen minutes of the day (who knew?) so, for once, arriving late actually paid off. We had to wait ten minutes till the actual “free time” began, but, hey, what’s ten minutes when you’re saving fifty bucks? Whoo-hoo!

The only downside, of course, was that we had to practically run through the museum — or as my Mom would call it, “super-dogging” — but, hey, did I mention we saved fifty bucks? Anyway, it was awesome, we saw everything we wanted to see and Greta went absolutely crazy for the dinosaur bones. Seriously, I have never seen her so excited in a museum, she was all: “Oh my God, Mommy, look!” and “Wow! Big!” It was hilarious!

So, after closing down the gift shop (which kinda sucked) we hopped back on the subway towards home, where we polished off the bountiful leftovers from our humongous Italian dinner the night before. Oh, we went out for yummy desserts later at the place from “You’ve Got Mail”, Cafe Lalo. Cute and totally yummy, but crazy-crowded.

Good times all around, and man, did we sleep well that night…

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