Although everyone is moving a bit slower this morning, we’re all feeling the glow of last night’s performance. The amount of effort that goes into our winter solstice production is unseen by most of our audience. The vision, patience, and practice that fill up our December weeks came forth last night as we offered an interpretation through dance of the book Tomorrow I Will Be Brave by Jessica Hische. After sitting with the toddlers until they completed their dance, I slipped away from the stage and found a seat in the audience to get a better angle for photos. It struck me that it was the first time in all the years we’ve had our Celebration of the Winter Solstice that I’ve ever seen the performance from any angle except the stage.
As dance after dance was completed, I was in awe of the creativity put into the choreography, and costumes. I thought of all the back stories of classes and individual children that led up to these wonderful dances. The back stories made the evening that much more meaningful. Seeing groups that have struggled to be a team come together to make their dance not only successful, but extraordinary, was quite inspiring. Watching tearful toddlers arise to the occasion by doing their moves at center stage for the first time made me smile. I felt proud and happy seeing a couple of children on stage who had wrestled with their emotions through both dress rehearsals. Through plans set up ahead of time by teacher communications with parents, they were each able to make it through the whole performance. Their families provided extra support so they could succeed. I was delighted for one sweet boy whose parent sat with him for a bit and let his teacher know what he was experiencing as they waited to go on. When it was his time to shine with his group on the stage, he stepped up and beamed as he danced with his classmates. I was equally touched by the children who ended up not performing with their class, but had the courage to stay close to their teachers on the stage throughout the evening.
An important back story was all that the teachers did to make the evening exceptional. For several it was their first time being a lead teacher at the Seed, or their first time with a certain group. They read their children well and choreographed a dance that would express the heart of their class. Some took risks by trying new ideas, using props, costume changes, and special effects. They expected a lot from their students, and at the same time kept those expectations within a developmentally appropriate range. Moreover, throughout the month of rehearsals, teachers helped each other with rehearsals, music choices, and costuming ideas. Even during the program, teachers supported each other and their students so they’d all have a successful time.
This year’s Celebration of the Winter Solstice brought out the best in everyone. It’s always a challenging process, yet in the end one we believe is totally worthwhile. As we bring this year and decade to a close, preparing for a much-needed winter break, we will carry the warmth of last night’s performance in our hearts and into the upcoming holidays. We’ll use it as a springboard for the lively learning adventures that will take place in the new year. May your days ahead with family and friends be blessed in all ways.