I have been dancing with my now 6-year old niece, Berry, in our annual productions for both TEAM Dance Studio and Hampton Court Ballet, literally ever since she could walk. Of course that’s counting the time I brought her in with me on stage as one of Clara’s guests in a production of the Nutcracker that we did when she was just 1. That’s about 5 or so years of dancing alongside our little superstar, watching her from the wings, witnessing precious moments off stage and during rehearsals, guiding her and coaching her from the sides when she forgets her steps. I never thought I could enjoy it any other way, until I watched her dance in her first recital without me. Last Sunday June 14, at Hampton Court Ballet’s staging of Le Corsaire, I shared Berry’s recital experience not on stage but in the audience, as a first-time stage aunt.
As soon as Berry came on stage with her group to perform my all-time favorite pirates dance*, everything I knew about theatre audience etiquette went out the window. I whipped out my phone to take pictures and videos, called out “Go, Ber!” quite a number of times, and during the final bow cheered and clapped no end with all the moms and dads and grandparents and nannies as if we had just watched Lisa Macuja complete 32 fouettes.
Here’s one of the more tame videos I took last Sunday, with Berry dancing front and center. The little pro that she is, with a lifetime of dancing experience under her belt, Berry had the presence of mind to pick up someone’s headdress from the floor before they exited. Spoken like a true stage aunt, I know. Enjoy the video! –JJ
*Postscript: Incidentally, I had also just performed in Le Corsaire 2 years back with PBT, dancing the exact same part as Berry. Which made watching her dance it all the more amusing.
With partner Mark Pineda as Birbanto
More photos from the Berry dance archive!
With Berry’s cousin Sasha at Hampton Court Ballet’s Don Quixote 2013
Dancing the opening prayer at a family event 2012
The Jacintos and Berry at age 2, at production week of PBT’s Swan Lake 2011