If all the world was a stage what would be your command performance? – comedy, tragedy, drama with a bit of both, dance spectacle (all high-energy movement), ballet (all grace), musical (all song and theatrics), opera (all high-pitched drama), orchestral recital (all harmony) or perhaps an ice spectacular?
In the case of Disney on Ice, the stage is an ice rink in the middle of a rapturous audience dominated by a large number of princesses and, last Thursday, at least one mid-forties Mum who still remembers what it is like to feel like one.
We were lucky to be given tickets to the first Brisbane performance, and it transformed me back, almost 40 years ago, to a moment in time when I was lost, mesmerised in the wonderful world of Disney.
Growing up before theme parks and so much consumerism, when a holiday treat was a ticket to the movies to see a Disney classic, the sense of wonder in being lucky enough to see Disney on Ice remains etched in the fabric of my childhood. I experienced it again through the eyes of my children, even as the magic lived on large in my memory.
At almost 10, Miss Yin was most impressed with the grace and technique of the skillful skaters. At three, Little Yang was captivated (as much as three year olds can be) by the colours, movement and sound. I don’t think either was as blown away by the marvel of it all as I remember being. Our modern society, in offering so many things, has sapped a little of the wonder out of some of the best things.
I had always intended taking my kids to see Disney on Ice. I don’t really know why we hadn’t previously. I know we were away skiing for the holidays the year when Miss Yin would have been prime princess-loving age (five turning six). Not sure why we didn’t go the year before, and the year later I remember only in a blur of stress and worry. Then the following year we spent in Canada, and Miss Yin was eight when we actually went to Disneyland. I wondered whether she might have been getting too old for princesses, but she just loved lunching with them (do girls every get too old for princesses?)
The day after Disney on Ice, Miss Yin, my Mum and I went to the Queensland Ballet performance of the classic Giselle. It was Miss Yin’s first ballet (and the first full ballet for Mum and I too). It was wonderful, and much of the magic for me was in watching Miss Yin’s eyes light up as she imagined herself up there on stage, pointeing and pirouetting.
She is a talented little ballerina (but then I am her Mum) and I watch her come alive when she dances. She gives grace beautiful movement and joy perfect expression. I can see her up on stage too, even as I see all the hard work and practice, the disappointments and heartaches that pave the road to becoming a professional ballet dancer. I’m no pushy stage mother, but I can catch my breath and dare to dream for her.
Mostly what I want for her is wonder – the wonder that she feels when she dances in the lounge room or up on stage.
I want her to feel the amazement of watching the whole world as though it were a stage, of taking her part with grace and joy amidst all the colour and movement, the comedy and drama, the tragedy and song.
If we can truly appreciate the theatrics of life as though it were a performance, if we can embrace hope in life through the lens of a Disney fairytale and draw comfort, if we can appreciate the moments of comedy alongside the poignancy of tragedy, if we are energised by the dance and inspired by the song, if we allow ourselves to be transformed by the power of music and if we never stop marvelling at ice-skating princesses, then it seems to me we will have all the ingredients for a wonderful life.
Having a wonderful life may be as simple as appreciating the wonder of the performance before taking a final bow.
Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.