Somehow over the last four days at camp with the girls I’ve acquired quite the collection of nicknames. Miss Mary, Miss America, and Kitten (“Because you’re sweet! Like a kitten!”) were some of my favorites.
Today was the last day of camp, so I brought in ice cream treats for all the girls. The last day also meant time to show the parents what we’ve been working on. Parents arrived fifteen minutes early at the end of the day to watch the girls perform three minutes of their own choreography to “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” (a la Miley Cyrus). Their favorite steps included “driving the bus,” taking turns walking around each other, rolling on the ground, and doing the YMCA.
There were no tears today, unlike yesterday where one of my campers had a complete meltdown to her Nana for reasons unknown to me. On day two, another girl dissolved into tears when her mother showed up 10 minutes early, crying “But I don’t want to go home!” Other than the occasional declaration that so and so was cheating at playing Penguin Race, the girls got along well. Even when one camper insisted she saw another move when we were playing Freeze Dance, there were no hard feelings.
The most rewarding part of teaching the camp came yesterday though, when I trekked back to the studio with a friend to mess around with some choreography to a new song I liked. We arrived at 4:30 and ended up assisting our director in Studio A.
At 5:00 I was surprised when three of my campers arrived for a private rehearsal with our director. I was immediately smothered with hugs and the youngest girl happily pointed out that she was now wearing her glasses “just like you did at camp today!” Their older sister pulled me aside and whispered:
“They freaked out when they saw your car outside. ‘Miss America is here to watch us dance! Miss America came!’ So just play along, if you can.”
I didn’t have to pretend to be excited to watch the girls dance. They shimmied like pros and even did cartwheels with pointed toes (which we’d been working on during camp!).
I explained to the girls today that it was our last day of camp and I’d really miss dancing with them.
“We’ll miss you too, Miss Mary.”
“When will you come back and visit?”
“Will you bring ice cream again?”
I’m not sure when I’ll get to see the girls again. There aren’t many official summer classes at the studio, and I leave for NYC in a month (exactly a month today actually). But when I watched the girls waving out of the window of the van as I unlocked my car, yelling “Bye, Kitten!” I found myself looking forward to when I’d be able to visit them…maybe when I’m home over Thanksgiving break. Maybe I’ll surprise them and visit a dance class and announce that “Miss America’s here!”