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July 25, 2013

Keeping in step with dance recitals

I committed the ultimate social blunder the other day at my granddaughter’s dance recital.

Just as she appeared on stage for one of her “dazzling” performances, I jumped from my seat and began taking photographs.

What’s more, I didn’t sit back down until the number ended three minutes later, hoping to get that shot of a lifetime.

I would have remained seated had the patron in front of me been a child. This guy was six feet tall and just as wide. Why he chose that spot was my albatross. One seat over would have been a better choice. Had he moved the other way, he would have blocked my wife’s view.

As protocol has it at these exhibitions, they discourage an all-out stampede in the aisles from amateur shutterbugs. I’ve seen it get downright nasty. It’s worse than a paparazzi blitz at the Academy Awards.

It never used to be that way when my daughter hit the stage. She was about 4 at the time and was set to dance a “Yankee Doodle Dandy’’ number. Sonya looked like a patriotic American flag dressed in her red, white and blue. Her tap shoes were clicking at the heels.

I shot out of my seat and took extreme liberties to get the best angle. Anyone who knew me felt I had newspaper priorities and was there on assignment.

“He works for the Gazette,” they would whisper. “Maybe he’ll take my daughter’s picture for the paper.”

Over the years, my daughter’s recital wardrobe stretched from one dresser to another. In some cases, there were three different outfits to a recital. My wife usually handled these matters, as do most women. Had it been Little League baseball, the responsibility would have been mine.

The years trickled along through middle school and into high school — straight to the end. She danced her way right into my heart and beyond. It not only built self esteem and confidence, but a treasure chest of memories, even with the occasional stumbles. I still recall the pratfall she took.

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