Learning in Disguise

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We’ve been out of town for several days since Brilliant B was competing in the semi-finals of an international ballet competition. The kids see it as a kind of vacation, but I saw it as an alternative educational experience.

This ballet competition is not like any other dance competition we have ever seen.  The level of talent was nothing short of amazing.  These are kids who are often training 5-6 hours a day for 5-6 days a week.  The documentary First Position follows dancers who are training for this competition and takes them through the semi-finals and into the final round of competition in New York City.  This was B’s first year, and she competed with a  small group and in a large group of 20 girls (the whole company).  The girls work hard and are very talented, but they don’t train 6 hours a day.  Plus, the majority of the company is between the ages of 10 and 13.  They were competing against much older girls in the ensemble category.  So, you can imagine the thrill when they found out they were invited to be a part of the final round in NYC.  Such an amazing accomplishment.

I don’t know if they will end up attending, but the whole experience is incredibly educational.  This is not textbook learning, but it is an experience in the arts and in character.  Getting to that stage requires hours upon hours of hard work, dedication, and discipline.  Walking out on that stage to perform in front of such esteemed judges and in the face of such intense competition requires and immense amount of confidence and poise.  B got out there, held her nerves in check, smiled, and danced beautifully.  I could not have been more proud.  I never had an opportunity like that at age 10, and I can guarantee you that even if I had I would never have been able to handle it with her amount of grace.  I know that will benefit her as much as anything I could ever teach her out of a book.

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Legohead L can only take so much ballet, so we found a lot of fun for him too.  The whole family went to Medieval Times, and L has not stopped talking about the knights since then.  Now he wants to read all about knights, castles, and dragons (shhh…don’t tell him that is history and literature).  Obviously, he loved the Legoland Discovery Center.  He got to measure his height and weight in legos (math!), construct earthquake-proof lego buildings (architecture and engineering!), and design and race a car (physics and engineering!).  Plus, there was lego Batman and a shooting game, so you could not ask for much more.

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