Wednesday night was Ariella's dance performance. (Note to Punja: That was the last thing I needed to do. Feel free to come out now. Anytime would be good.)
So Ariella has been in this dance chug for a few months. I know nothing about it except that for 60 shekel she got a really nifty leotard and dance pants. It's in the school, so she goes straight there on Thursdays when class ends, and when the chug is finished, she continues to tzaharon. I've never met or even talked to the teacher. I just know that on Thursdays I need to remind her to wear her dance clothes. That's the extent of my investment in this chug.
The chug is run by the Matnas, sort of like the community center. A few months back (perhaps I blogged about it), they had "Matnas Day" at school, and all the kids in Matnas chugim showed off their stuff. I dutifully attended, watched Ariella dance, and took videos for the grandparents. A little bit after that day, we got a notice stating that the all kids in this dance chug (which encompasses more than one school) were going to have a big performance at Heichal HaTarbut (the cultural center) on May 12. For about a month, I had to bring Ariella to practices on Friday afternoons from 1-3. Because, really, who doesn't want to schlep around Modiin, aka Traffic Hell, on Fridays? It's not like I have anything else to do. But I am a good mother. Sometimes.
The practices themselves were "baalagon" personified. If Mr. Baalagon himself (and you just KNOW it's a man) had walked in, he would have totally felt at home. All the dance chugim from all the different schools were there, and they took turns practicing their dances. Finally, the big night arrived. I brought Ariella to the hall at 2:00. Donny came home early, and the 3 of us (plus some very necessary gum) made our way to the hall at 4:45. We got tickets for good seats. Yay!
Then, at 5:00, they opened the doors. You are already seeing the problem, some of you. If you only open the doors at 5:00, it makes it very difficult to start the performance at 5:00. And there were no repurcussions for lateness, so parents moseying in at 5:20 didn't have to worry about being late. So happy for them! Really!
FINALLY, at 5:30, they started. (Later, the organizers did apologize for the lateness. But still.) The first performance had alllllll the girls, and was so short I couldn't even find my little ponytailed, leotard-wearing chick among all the other ponytailed, leotard-wearing chicks.
In the end, the performance was over an hour. There were 13 different dances. Ariella appeared in all of .....one. She was view-able for about one minute of the five-minute dance. And it was the SAME freakin' dance I saw two months ago and already videoed! WHAT have they been doing all this time? And why did I need to shlep her to Friday practices for a MONTH? Meanwhile, some of the other dance troupes were up there so often I'm on a first-name basis with the dancers. The most disappointing part was that I saw "Avnei HaChoshen" listed on the program twice. Okay, I figured, at least we're getting two Ariella showings out of this. But it was 2 different groups from her school - the 1st and 2nd graders, and then the older kids. Sad.
After the performance (which ended 2 hours after we arrived) and after various members of the Matnas got up and congratulated themselves on running a chug, the children were released into the wild and we had to figure out how to find and collect them. It was complete pandemonium. No one knew where they were exiting from, parents and children were running all over the place. Some parents gave up and just took the first kid they saw, in hopes of getting out sometime in the near future. And I must say, little Rotem is just adorable!
Haha! Just kidding! I did find my own child, who was not happy because when she was on the stage and looked out into the hall, full of hundreds of parents, she couldn't find hers! This was greatly upsetting. But finally, we all packed into the car, and after fighting with the other cars for the privilege of being able to leave, we drove through all 9 circles of Traffic Hell and made it home. Of course, the kids were starving. Out came a gourmet dinner of cereal! Then, Yaakov went to sleep and Ariella and I attacked her mound of homework.
Finally, it was done, she went to sleep, and I crashed on the couch with a pounding, loud-music induced headache. So. Glad. It's. Over.