Heather decided to choreograph her own dance solo this year for the Crowd Pleasers Dance Competition in Houston. After having changed her song several times, her final choice for her song was "Broken" from the soundtrack of the movie "Broken Bridges" with Toby Keith. Although I was sick to death of hearing this song over and over as she practiced her dance, it will remain long in my memory as a very special song along with all the songs from her other solos over the years.
As I watched her dance on that stage in Houston last night memories of her other solos were playing through my mind: her very first solo (a lyrical) to Kenny Loggins' "Return to Pooh Corner" and how tiny she looked up on that big ole stage in St. Louis when she was 7; a lyrical she performed the next 2 years to Bob Carlysle's "Butterfly Kisses," and how it made her daddy cry to watch her dance that one; a solo she worked so hard on and never got to perform because we moved to Texas: a jazz number to "Mambo # 5 (Disney Radio Jams version); her first ballet solo choreographed by her first dance teacher in Texas; her solo to "Twilight Zone" and the costume we painted (yes Painted!); her lyrical solo to Jewel's "Hands;" and her crazy but amazing tap number she also performed that year.
As those images played out and I watched her nail perfectly this new lyrical solo after seeing her struggle with it all week, tears were rolling down my face. I have always cried when watching Heather perform her solos. I am so proud of how talented she is.
I was so touched, as we sat with her current dance team members and all watched together, at how loudly they cheered for her and supported her. The tears began as she nailed her turns over and over and as she nailed each one without falling out of it, her friends' cheers grew louder! I think at that very moment we were all sharing such pride in what she accomplished.
Not only was this Heather's first solo since leaving studio dancing a few years ago, this is the first piece she's ever choreographed by herself. What an accomplishment! Way to go Heather!
As I sat here going through the photos and seeing what I captured in them I couldn't help but think how proud Heather's first dance teacher Colleen would be if she could have seen her. All those accumulated hours of sitting in splits and leaping across the gym floor and hearing Colleen say "point your toes!" began in Heather a love of dance that still continues. This year, for the first time since Heather began dancing 11 years ago, Heather has her splits. Splits was something that never came easy for her. This year, working with her current dance teacher Cathy and her dance team on their high kick routines, Heather finally got her splits and she very proudly choreographed that in the ending of her dance solo!