All that Jazz

This post by Jennifer Flaten


My daughter asked me to go with her to our local civic theatre, which was having an information meeting about the Penguin Project. The Penguin Project connects kids with special needs with actor/mentors and together they put on a play.

Our theatre was going to do Annie Jr. From our previous theatre experience I knew I’d have to sign a waiver of some kind because she is under 18, so I agreed to go along.

The information portion of the meeting didn’t last too long–and there were snacks. We were just about to leave when the meeting leader announced that we should all learn a song and dance routine so we understand what it is the kids will be doing during rehearsals.

Okay then, definitely time for me to go, as I am neither a singer nor a dancer. I knew there were two of my daughter’s classmates there, so I wasn’t worried that she wouldn’t have a partner, besides what 14 yr old girl wants to dance with her mother?

As everyone started pairing up I started drifting towards the door. My mistake I turned around to look at my daughter one more time and another woman spotted me and yelled “I’ll be your partner.”

And that is how I found myself in the front line of the chorus. I know some people would kill for that spot.

The music starts. It’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ by Journey. Oh my god! I’m in an episode of Glee.

The director demonstrates the moves. The hand waving fine. The circling your partner fine. The Jazz Square….wait the what square? That’s where things came to a halt.

I’ve never even taken an aerobics class because I can’t watch the teacher AND do the steps. My brain just doesn’t work that way. Maybe if I was in a quiet room for 20 minutes I could master the jazz square, but not on the fly.

Not wanting IMG_1167(1)to draw more attention to myself I gamely do a sort of shuffle step for the Jazz Square.

My “partner” decided I just needed her to YELL the steps to me as I am doing them. Finally, mercifully, we did one complete run through of the routine. I don’t trip, crash into anyone or otherwise embarrass myself.

Assuming we are done I start edging towards the door.

Denied! The director thought we should all do it ONE more time. Hearing this another mother, grabs both her kids and literally runs for the door yelling “we’re late for another appointment.” Smart girl!

I gamely did one more version of the song and before the music stops I’m in the car. Next time I’ll just wait in the car.

Browse my jewelry on etsy


11 thoughts on “All that Jazz

  1. Directors almost always want ‘one more time’. I wish you daughter well, and I understand your desire to remain in the car. (Smile) Doris


  2. Being visually impaired, I have the same problem when it comes to any kind of choreographed moves. Sometimes, I can follow what the person next to or in front of me is doing but not very often. If I were in your shoes, I would have given the “late for another meeting” excuse the first time around and hi tailed it out of there.


  3. Enjoyed the story and your reaction. I’m learning to say no to things I really don’t want to do or have time for, but, I admit that when my kids were small I got roped into doing things I would not normally enjoy or do, just to make them happy. Chalk one up for parenthood! I’ll bet you weren’t half as bad as you thought and probably even enjoyed it a teenie bit?


  4. Enjoyed your story. I think we can all relate to some of what you were feeling. You were a good sport though and I bet your daughter loved it. I can just see that woman yelling directions at you. Nice scene for a sitcom!


  5. I was a theater major in college and I still would have been mortified to get stuck in a situation like that. It sounds like something out of a nightmare. Good for you that you gave it a shot!


  6. I’m with you, Jennifer. I’m a “dancing by numbers” kind of person so any intuitive dancing is out the window for me. When I had to teach country dances to my school classes i was frantically practising in my head beforehand -i.e. What the name of the dance was; followed by the procedure. “Heel, toe, one, two, three etc” Thing is when you’re teaching it you have to shout it aloud so it SEEMS like you know it, and for me it was then easy to get it correct. Just interpreting music is a nightmare… and all I do is a shuffle and wiggle… 🙂


  7. Ah, one of the traps of being a parent, eh, Jennifer?! So far, my pets haven’t requested theater or dance lessons, so I’m safe! Fun post — thanks for sharing so we could all enjoy a smile and/or chuckle!


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