Best Of: Children’s Dance Recital Craziness

A confession: I never had a dance recital. That’s not because I didn’t dance, it’s because I was an Irish dancer. We learned an hour-long repertoire and performed it all year, instead of learning one or two dances that we’d perform once. I got to miss school a lot around St. Patrick’s Day, so that was cool. The summer was reserved for competitions, because the Irish can and will turn anything into a competition. But the big annual recital wasn’t something we did. Of course, growing up I’d always hear about the dances my friends were learning for their recitals. A few years ago when my little goddaughter started dancing I started to realize how crazy “recital culture” really is.

The good thing about having so many performances in Irish Dance was that if one went poorly, there were plenty of others. However, kids whose dance schools do one big recital only have, in the immortal words of Eminem, “one shot – do not miss your chance to blow.” That’s what makes it so awful and hilarious when kids screw up, fight on stage, or refuse to dance. On the flip side, it’s amazing to see little kids get on stage after waiting all year and really sell it. All of the following make me really regret that I didn’t have a more normal dance upbringing:

Johanna Channels Aretha

This has been all over the Internet for the past few days, and oh my God, it deserves to be. To recap: Johanna is a sass factory and everything I wish I could be. The little gal on the right isn’t half bad, either.

Toddler Fracas

You can’t really expect much out of two-year-old dancers. They have only been walking for a year, and a statistical majority of them don’t even have control of their bowels yet. But if you put tutus on a group of them and have them dance around to Somewhere Over The Rainbow, you might expect it to be cute, at least. Adorable, probably. That’s am amateur mistake. Toddlers are vicious. The children come to blows a few minutes in and by the end of the song it could rightly be classified as a brawl.

All The (7-year-old) Single Ladies

Remember 2010? It’s before I’d have a Pavlovian fear reaction when I heard the song Single Ladies (because now it usually means a bouquet toss is about to happen, and oh hell no, I am not here for that). It’s also the year that a group of first graders performed a dance to this Beyonce number and sparked debate about whether it was too “grown up.” But like… these kids are amazing.

Madison Would Rather Not, Thanks

This kid has willpower. She has resolve. What she does not have, is happy feet. Now, this may be a case of stage fright, poor kid. But I like to imagine that she never wanted to dance and this is her revenge. I’m impressed she didn’t dance even a little bit, even by accident.  I don’t know if her name is Madison, it just seems like a safe bet these days.

 Broadway Baby

First of all, did any of these kids even learn a dance? Because none of them are doing remotely the same thing. Second, this is obviously the best thing that’s ever happened in this little tyke’s life. And mine.

Stephanie Tanner IS Motown Philly

Who cares if this is fictional? The Stephanie Tanner Dance Episode is a cultural touchstone, and this dance is actually not awful. I don’t really understand why Steph is like, move-away-from-your-family level serious about dance based on this, but what do I know?

Also Bandz A Make Stephanie Tanner Dance

Too much Stephanie Tanner? No, never.

Okay, so there’s a reason most parents secretly can’t stand recital season. They have to shell out hundreds of dollars for costumes, glitter hair spray, program ads, and cheesy photos that are only good as a future embarrassing #TBT. Then, they have to sit through hours of kids they don’t care about to watch the one kid that they do. After sitting through the seven videos above, I think I sort of understand the experience. You must almost pray that a fight breaks out in the 2-3 year old Tappin’ Tots class- and thank heavens, sometimes it does.



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