Much of the year they consider themselves "your average American girls."
Sure we eat more than our share of rice and noodles, pandas and dragons are among our favorite animals, and xie xie is used interchangeably with thank you at our house, but my girls swim, take guitar lessons and love Umizoomi like their peers.
But for the two months leading up to the Lunar New Year, my girls step out of their "girl next door" and take great pride in their roots...in the fact that they are indeed Chinese American. During that time we sacrifice Saturday afternoons to traditional Chinese dance lessons through our local FCC chapter.
Their instructors are the Cloud Fairies...girls that started out as scarf dancers years ago. These young ladies are tremendous role models for our younger dancers and as you can see at the bottom of the photo, they are watched carefully and admired greatly. All of the elementary age girls are just waiting for the day they get to do the double ribbon dance as Cloud Fairies...
Last year the my girls performed at a much smaller venue (at a church), with maybe 250 people in attendance. This year they performed in the Triangle Area's Lunar New Year Festival at the state fairgrounds in the arena used for hockey games and the circus in its time. And they were on a stage nearly five feet off the ground.
At dress rehearsal Friday night I worried how things would go when the several hundred chairs at the tables and many of the stadium seats on the viewing side of the stage were full. I was slightly worried that at least one of the girls would become paralyzed with stage fright.
I need not have been concerned.
Natalie and her fellow scarf dancers, all ages 4 to 6, took to the stage as if dancing in front of a thousand people was something they did every day.
They were simply adorable and I kept hearing folks in the audience saying so.
Proud of her as I was for going through the entire routine, I didn't have much time to bask in the moment because as soon as she went offstage I had a quick sprint to meet her and guide her out to where Ian, the boys and his mom were stationed so we could watch the next round of dancers.
Darcy and her friends, ages 6 to 8, were next. The fan dance is a fun one to watch, especially when the flowing fans are revealed for the first time. I've watched this routine two years now and still love to that first swish of fabric.
DQ was poised and confident and watching her makes us realize that we need to get this child into regular dance lessons of some type.
The next set of FCC dancers were the ribbon girls. Kylie and her peers, mostly ages 8 and 9 did a fantastic job. And best of all was Ky's confidence...no hesitation at all to step out onto stage to perform in front of a large crowd.