|First Arabesque--audition photo.|
The problem was that he was sick. He had a super bad head cold that brought on a foggy, buzzy head and a faucet for a nose. Imagine jumping, spinning and twirling with those kinds of symptoms. Nevertheless, the show must go on so he sucked it up and got to work.
His first dance was from the ballet Copellia. It was pretty good, not amazing or even great, but pretty good. His double cabrioles were powerful and his grande pirouettes were strong and graceful. However, there were wobbly this-es and tippy that-s. I think we were both fairly pleased with the dance since it was a last-minute addition and was only the first of three that day. He had two more dances, both of which he was much more confident performing.
The second variation was from Satanella. This is a strong, masculine dance and one seemingly built for Isaac's strengths. It was tough to watch. I could tell that he just didn't feel good. His head was not in the game and while it had a few great moments, it was not the show-stopper it should have been.
These kids know what they can do and they know when they don't do it. When he didn't perform at anywhere near his best, he was terribly hard on himself. He came back to me so utterly disappointed. I felt completely helpless. His coaches were not able to come to San Francisco and he needed them. I had never had to be his coach before so I didn't know if he needed tough love: Get your head in the game and get back out there, young man! Or gentle soothing Oh, honey. It's alright. You'll get it! What he probably needed was someone to coach him Lift your arms higher here, point your toes there. We got his costume changed for his last dance and he stormed off to prepare.
San Francisco was a whole different ballgame from last year's Denver experience. There were twice as many dancers and the competitors were all a notch above. I watched in increasing dread as dancer after dancer came on the stage and put forward their best offerings. I was heartsick.
Heavenly Father, I don't know what to say or do to help this kid. His coaches are not here to encourage him or to give him the pointers that could make or break his performance. But YOU know him. You know what he needs to hear or feel. Please, Dear Father, tell him the thing he needs to hear.
He came on stage and I could tell from the moment he struck his pose to wait for the music to begin that I was looking at a different dancer. I didn't cheer, I didn't clap; I sat with my fingers intertwined in a tight fist in front of my quietly coaching mouth, "Land it. Up, up, and . . . good. Now, turn . . . keep it together . . . come on, come on . . . YES!" The crowd cheered and I nearly fainted as I realized I hadn't breathed for the duration of the variation. He told me later that he felt focused and confident. How that kid pulled it together and presented the way he presented, I'll never know. It showed a resiliency and determination most adults would envy.
We were all exhausted and it was only one o'clock.
|Her version of First Arabesque.|