I bought a t-shirt today. Just a simple, lightweight top to wear with shorts this summer. It had a message on it. You know, those kinds of t-shirts that have a word, or a phrase—some funny, some sweet, some not so appropriate. This isn’t normally my type of attire, but I couldn’t resist it. The word on this t-shirt was “Blessed.” Just one simple word that brought so many thoughts to my mind. Yes, I am blessed for faith, family, friends, love, health, etc. All the things I’m so fortunate to have in my life and that I thank God for every night before I go to sleep. But my instant reaction—and the reason I bought the t-shirt—was how “blessed” we are that our 51st SMSD recital was able to happen,. and it turned out so well!
There was so much drama surrounding this year’s recital because of COVID. To have it or not? Where to have it? How to accommodate for social distancing? Masks or no masks? What about the unpredictable weather? Decisions were made. Contracts were signed. Dances were learned. Costumes were ordered. Announcements went out. Tickets were sold. Flowers were ordered. Programs were printed. Then, changes became necessary.
The day before recital Edwina, Neal, Kristin, and Teresa ventured to LifeAustin Amphitheater with four loaded SUVs and a trailer full of supplies for recital. Everything had been unloaded, and as they were applying the stickered numbers on the stage (for dancers to know where to stand), the area experienced a deluge. Thunder, lightning, driving rain. One-third of the seats at the amphitheater were getting wet. What if it did the same thing tomorrow? We have had rain every single day for how long? It seemed dangerous; the stage was even damp. The odds were that this was not going to work.
Edwina called David Poole, our contact and friend at Westlake High Performing Arts Center and said, “David, I need help.” SMSD had been good clients for years, and David said, “I’ll see what I can do.” (These things usually take weeks or months to set up.) David had a rush meeting with the superintendent of Eanes ISD. They said we could have recital there! Edwina drove to WHS and signed a different contract. A huge recital change of venue had happened in two hours! Now we would be out of the rain, and frankly, in a setting we were very familiar with. Social distancing could be managed, masks would be worn by students backstage, etc. Even though there was no time for a dress rehearsal, in the performance business, the show must go on!
How fitting was our recital theme, “And The Beat Goes On!” The original idea was that during COVID and all the weird things that have happened for almost a year and a half, SMSD continued to hold classes (virtual and in person). Our determination and your loyalty to keep participating have allowed the SMSD beat to go on, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Thanks to WHS, the recital beat could go on!
Four recitals were held. 400 dancers, 30 staff members/helpers, hundreds of attendees. It was fabulous! Lots of miscues and little dancers lost on the stage (the first time they had ever been on a stage)! It made for a funny, relaxed show. There was beautiful dancing, gorgeous costumes, and lighting (how did the lighting get coordinated with the costumes so quickly)? Edwina, you’re a genius. Your mother would be so proud of your abilities to keep “her” dance studio running and thriving for the last 25 years since her passing! With daughter Kristin and all your smart, cooperative, talented staff, you have a well-oiled machine that can be flexible, decisive, and efficient. You gave the audience a real treat, and you gave hundreds of dancers an opportunity to “show off” their skills. I sat through all the recitals I wasn’t dancing in, and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment. Thank you!
The icing on the cake was the Troupe SMSDance show which followed the recitals Friday night. Those girls are fantastic! Leaps and turns and splits and technique were all on display! Teresa and Kristin, your Troupe performances were top-notch—so creative and extremely well done. Another well-oiled machine! Yea, Troupe SMSD!
So, back to my t-shirt. Do you see why I made the purchase? I feel so “blessed” to have married Larry McPhail 22 years ago which allowed me to become a part of the SMSD world. I feel truly “blessed” we were able to pull off this 51st Recital in the Weird Year 2020-21. If you were in the audience, I am sure you feel “blessed” you were able to see it—and that you or your family member who dances was able to be in it. I wish I could have bought a t-shirt for everyone! I will wear my t-shirt with pride and be very careful not to put it in a hot dryer!
Blessings to all,
Director of Happiness