DANCE RECITALS: making grown men extremely uncomfortable for the past 15 years

This past weekend held the night little girls wait for all year long. The night they put on their pretty, sparkly costumes and shiny new tap shoes while their mommies put curlers in their hair and mascara on their lashes, the night all their dreams come true. Yes, this weekend was THAT NIGHT; THE night of the DANCE RECITAL. I remember this peculiar brand of excitement from my days in ballet (before I decided that my calves were too fat to daintily augment my tutu), and it is a thing of wonder.

But as I’ve grown older, the DANCE RECITAL has taken on increasingly bizarre and ominous tones, what with the nubile girls in their first flowering of puberty and all. This year I decided to take the spandex-wrapped cabaret to it’s logical end, and mixed up a couple “gin n’ tonics to go” before leaving the house.

The show went pretty much as expected; the painfully skinny girls who don’t quite fill out their costumes, the abnormally short girls who resemble very talented trained rats, and the girls who, let’s be frank, probably shouldn’t be wearing reflective rayon in the first place. But, and maybe it was the gin, this year was a little more bizarre than years past.

First of all, OH GOD THE COSTUMES. This seemed to be the “year of the pant”, as every other number featured spandex pants and matching tees of the most horrid cuts and colors. NOBODY could look good in these pants, and believe me, nobody did. The pants were pulled up too high, the pants were too long in the crotch, the pants were electric lime green – or worse – zebra striped – and none of the dancers seemed to understand the concept of “appropriate undergarments”. Pantylines were rampant among these girls too young to have found The Thong.

Speaking of too young, some choreographers should understand that there is such a thing as “too young for suggestive writhing” and thusly avoid it in their dances. One such number featured an apallingly sexual nine-year old slinking around the stage with a feather boa, all smoky eyes and luscious lips and long long pigtails with tendrils dangling down over her heart-shaped face… Did I mention she was nine? Yeah. DISTURBING.

But perhaps more disturbing than the Lolita with the boa was the virtual striptease performed by the teachers. Each year, the teachers feature their own myriad talents in a dance number that is at least twice as long as any of the other numbers in the show. It only makes sense, right? OK, so the “costume” was a flirty low-cut shirt that became borderline pornographic when paired with skintight leggings and a push-up bra. I swear to god, at one point I saw nipple. And the FACES these women were making!! Honestly, they all could have been dancers of the “exotic” nature and probably made a better living.

So I was awash in this sea of discomfort from the busty teachers, the prepubescent porn star and the usual stream of “virginal” high school girls all tricked out in spandex and glitter, and was kind of wondering how this could get any weirder. Then the lights came up on a row of little girls wearing yellow tuts and ENORMOUS ALLIGATOR HEAD HATS, and thought “God, I wonder what this would be like with a headful of acid?” and then everything went blank.

… ok, not really, but I’m telling you those little girls in their alligator hats would have been really fucking weird if you were all twisted on acid. Thank god I stuck to gin.

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