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03 June 2010

Dancing With The Scars

With those two little words, my daughter’s life changed forever.
Of course, when you are 13 years old, your life changes forever every 7.4 minutes.
But when my daughter got the news that she had been promoted to a new dance team this year, it left quite a mark.
I have never seen her so happy.
Or perhaps even more important, I have never seen her so proud.
To understand the present, we must first understand the past.
Since we moved to this area about five years ago, my daughter has been dancing in the same studio.
For the first three years, she was pretty much with the same troop of a dozen dancers.
But there were a pair of girls that joined my daughter to make an inseparable trio.
They danced together.  They hung out together.  They carpooled together.
They danced together -- to the tune of about 12 hours per week.
School, who needs school?
Well during those first three years, there was a bond that nothing could break.
Until year four.
That was the year that my daughter had a growth spurt, while her two friends did not.
As a result of her new height and hard work - not necessarily in that order - my daughter was bumped up to the Senior Hip-Hop dance team.
Her two friends were not.
It was one of the most bittersweet moments of my daughter’s young life.
She wanted to celebrate her accomplishment, but it felt very empty.
And the reaction of her two closest colleagues made it even worse.
Whether intentional or not, her friends became foes.
They turned a cold shoulder like it was part of the dance routine.
If they had only been able to move like that during the tryouts, maybe they would’ve made the senior team too.
For the first time in her life, my daughter got a taste of what it’s like to be the hunted.
And it wasn’t pretty.
The trio became a duet and one lonely girl.
As hard as we tried to remind my daughter that she had done everything right and nothing wrong, she was still reminded four nights a week that everything had changed.
Even the carpooling went away.
And to make it worse, the three girls were still on the same pom dance team.
At that age, the kids are taught to give a NICE, BIG, BRIGHT, fake smile to make it look you are always having fun.
My daughter had no problem pulling that one off.
I realize you can’t spell competitive dance without competition, but the fact that my daughter felt bad for doing something good really stunk.
Well here we are a year later and the tryouts for the new year are just complete.
Like last year, my daughter made the Senior Hip-Hop team again.
Unlike last year, she also made the Senior Pom team, the Sabers.
And so did one of her two former friends.
When the news broke, she got a call from her new old teammate to talk about the good news.
Immediately, my daughter congratulated her friend and welcomed her back with open arms.
Unfortunately the third member of the trio did neither.
In fact, her immediate reaction was to quit dancing all together.
The teenage years are hard enough, but throw in a little extra drama on the dance floor and it can be too much to handle.
My daughter suffered through it last year, but thankfully she made it through.
This time around, its her friend who is learning that being good can feel very bad.

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