Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Badge Test

When Skyler was 3 and we were living in E. Texas she attended ‘ballet’ classes at the YWAM base close to Teen Mania. I remember after every class she would emphatically ask, “Mommy, when am I going to dance like a ballerina?” Although she was quite darling in her pink tu-tu it would be sometime before she would star in The Nutcracker.

Well this year Skyler started “proper” ballet. With the passing months, I must say she is inching closer to dancing like a real ballerina. Mid-September was her big ballet concert where she danced beautifully to the song, Shepherd of My Soul. We celebrated afterwards with ice-cream and I went to bed thinking that was it….done for the year. I soon found out that was not the case. She was to learn a new dance for her first exam of many in her ballet future, the Badge Test. The test took place in November requiring her to practice and extra day a week taking us to 2 days a week.

In November, I received a notice with much underlining and bold detailing the specifications of her exam. She would perform in front of and be graded by judges.

Bolding read as follows:

  1. Her hair must be pulled back into a pony-tail and it must be a ‘pretty’ pony. Opposed to an ugly one?? Translation- it must be curled and no wisps were allowed!
  2. She must have clean ballet shoes. Use mentholated spirits….yea, I’ll use ‘spirits’ alright but not to clean the shoes.
  3. No underwear lines were to show through her leotard. So now I am supposed to try and find a thong for my 7 year old? Translation- don’t wear anything…..I know gross but it was bolded and underlined!

She would be scored according to all specifications and dance. If stellar marks were received she would be awarded a badge. Okay, what happened to ‘everyone wins’? They are 7 for heaven's sake. In addition to the extra afternoon lost from my week, the stress, and the extra prayer time for my already performance based, perfectionist child, I had to pay an entry fee of R100 ($15)…..what a deal! I must also insert, this is definitely new territory for me! I grew up a tomboy with 2 older brothers so anything pink and ballerinas were the last things on my mind!

Well the day finally came. Skyler arrived to her exam dressed according to specifications and sporting her highly flammable ‘pretty’ pony-tail. I was told I must wait outside, only the judges were allowed in the room. So after all I had been through I would not even see her dance….nice! As I sat there praying under my breath and completely stressed out her ballet teacher said, “This is such a nice introduction to the ballet exams, very relaxed and low key.” I had to restrain myself from not harming her!

Two days later (now we had to endure the stress of waiting) Skyler received a sealed envelope containing her results. With both of us holding our breath she ripped it open to find a shiny blue badge. As we drove home she said, “Mommy, I can’t wait til next year to get another badge!”

I think I need a year to recover…and I’ll take those spirits now!

17 comments:

Sohailah said...

absolutely hilarious - thank you for the joy early in my morning. I would love to see her dance.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I guess it's a pretty serious dance studio - there's got to be others out there that are more just for fun - that sounds like they're preping the children for Juilliard! She's adorable by the way.
~Molly

Beth said...

Though you made me laugh, I sure do miss the dancing days. I've heard the Tyler dance schools are kind of rough as well. What a gift Marlene is to East Texas!

Skylar makes a beautiful ballerina!

Anonymous said...

Yep, that's my grand daughter - a real winner and beautiful to boot! I can just picture the whole scenario.
Maybe now you can understand some of the stress we went through during various phases with you.
Love,
Mom

Lily said...

She is so cute! I can't wait until she is performing at the Kennedy Center so I can see her!

Ginger said...

I thought it was rough just worrying whether or not Alicia would get her serves over the volleyball net. I can't imagine ballet. I was stressed just reading about it. The best part is in the end when they see the reward for all their efforts and they don't really have a clue what us moms have gone through.

Beth Powell said...

It is such a blessing to see your post come up from a Google search today! She is so cute!

Blessings to you and the whole Franzen clan.

Beth Powell said...

It is such a blessing to see your post come up from a Google search today! She is so cute!

Blessings to you and the whole Franzen clan.

karenkool said...

HAHAHA that was a fun read. Phew!!! I'm glad she got the badge. Elizabeth, my 8 year old is taking tap. We chose the less formal, less expensive studio in town--but her hair is supposed to be in a "pretty" pony as well. In fact, there are a lot of specifics to do with the dance attire. I can't say we've completely conformed--but I haven't heard of any upcoming exams either.

michelle arnold said...

You are hilarious- with your flammable hair comment and your thong for your daughter. You had me laughing. On a serious note, Skyler looks like a princess. How precious!

bethany said...

that's too funny - especially the highly flamable "pretty" ponytail! so happy she got her blue badge!! :)

gaylafriend said...

Wow. I so live in a boys-only world. The ballet thing looks adorable- but I could just picture you waiting and stressing! Running the wrong way in flag football is nothing compared to this! :-)

Dad B said...

You had me laughing out loud and even tears in my eyes-even my stomach hurts. The comment from the teacher and your thoughts really got me.

Leah said...

Oh I love that I get to keep up with your kidos. :) She's such a cutie - cannot believe she is 7!!!

Janelle said...

ah...the stress, I don't know if I could have taken it as well had it been my daughter. You handled it great! She is adorable.

kelly greene said...

hey michelle! i saw you on gayla's blog (and bethany jones' blog) and thought i'd say hi. it's been so long! your kids are TOTALLY adorable! sounds like life is nothing shy of interesting and fun in s. africa. if the "spirits" there ever get boring for you guys, feel free to come to mexico - we know how to enjoy the spirits here also. :) tell rich hi for me!

Shanygne said...

OH, how crazy! If it had been like that at YWAM, we wouldn't have lasted the two years that we did! I kinda miss it, but we decided the reason for wanting her to do it was to meet/interact with other kids...and that just doesn't happen in ballet... so we have her in a gym class at Premier Fitness... she loves it. And no performance anxiety!