Monday, August 12, 2013

Past Deadline: Bows and Snaps and Bathrooms, Oh My!

Here is Past Deadline from the May 30/13 issue of The Perth Courier.

Bows and snaps and bathrooms, oh my!
On Friday night I was standing in a girls’ washroom at PDCI (my old high school) waiting for some very short people to emerge from the stalls. The woman beside me, asked: “Are you going to write about this?”
It’s a tough call. Sometimes the best stuff really can’t be written about here, especially when it relates to bathrooms in small towns.
I was there as a volunteer for at the annual recital held by Arts in Motion: Perth School of Dance. This is the fifth year my daughter has been involved, and every year it is an absolute delight to watch the culmination of months of work by the students, teachers and organizers.
The orchestration of show nights never fails to leave me awestruck, mostly because coordinating events tends to give me the “no” feeling and I prefer to leave that task to others. I’ll happily volunteer, as long as someone else is telling me what to do.
This year I helped in the cafeteria, where a crew kept the primary students amused while they awaited their turn on stage.
By default, the primary team always spends long periods of time in the bathroom. The wee students (pardon that pun) are escorted to and from the bathroom, and often the smallest ones need help with their costumes. Invariably there are unreachable snaps or tricky buttons or bows to be tied. Sometimes this can be an issue in urgent situations involving the youngest students!
When you have a group of raincoats or reindeer all needing bows tied or antlers adjusted simultaneously in the bathroom, things can get a bit busy.
After one particularly long spell in the bathroom, I emerged and took a deep breath. “That bathroom kinda stinks,” I said to one of the volunteers.
“Should we get one of the janitors?” she asked.
“I don’t think it’s something the janitor can fix,” I said. Ironically, there are signs in the bathroom warning against using scented products. It’s working!
I love my old school, but parts of it are showing their age, which is waaaaay older than I am.
It’s interesting to watch the way the dynamics of the group unfold as the show progresses. The primary area is always busy and noisy. The kids are excited and one of our jobs is to try to keep the dancers relatively calm. Running and over-exuberance are kept in check.
As each different dance group (there are about half a dozen or so) has its turn, though, the excitement changes in tone. The groups return, the pressure is off and the dancers relax.
Now, when you and I relax it might mean grabbing a juice box (or some other fruity adult beverage), putting our feet up and chillin’ with a good book or to read the latest wacky headlines about the Ford family.
Not so with tiny dancers. When they relax, they kick it up a notch. There is more running and squealing. “We might as well just let them snack on a bag of sugar,” I said to another volunteer.
“Good job! Have a cup o’ granulated sweetness!”
Of course I am only speaking for the Friday experience, which is the first show night. It’s quite possible that on Saturday night everyone is much more refined and sitting around quietly sipping tea. I don’t know because that’s my night to watch the show.
“Back in Time” featured wonderful music and costumes and, of course, dancing. Girlchild and her highland class performed “Brigadoon Wedding Dance,” and all that leaping around in the living room paid off!
Congratulations to everyone for another excellent show!
I’ll see you in the bathroom again next year.

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