From the Coalface {SQT} Dance competition fails

seven-quick-takes-friday-2-300x213Linking up with Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

Head over to her blog to check out all the other Quick takes!


My daughter has a dance competition today.  We searched high and low for a dance style and school that met our rather unusual criteria:

It had to be affordable, not highly sexualised, focused on the sport and not on the winning, and be close enough to our home so we don’t have crazy drives across the city in peak hour traffic trying to get her to lessons.

Finally we found Physical Culture (also called Physie).  Having been around for 130 years, I thought we’d be pretty safe.  What is it, many ask.  I tell them: it’s a cross between poor man’s ballet and synchronised swimming out of the water…



As a complete novice to the world of dance competitions, and being somewhat sadly lacking in the hairdressing and beauty skills required to prepare her sufficiently for such an occasion, I foolishly decided to experiment on her hair an hour before she was due to leave.  Why, oh why did I focus on a university education in my youth when I should have been focusing on what would really matter in the world of girls dance competitions: a beauty therapy certificate and hairdressing apprenticeship.

Add to this the fact that I injured my neck and am on some pretty interesting medication which gives you a bit of an out-of-body experience and you can imagine how well this was going to go. Being in a medicated state of unrealistic happiness, I dove in joyfully.  Every now and then, however, panic would grip my heart as the reality of how out of my depth I was, would sink in.  My entire hair repertoire consists of:  all up in a hair elastic, half up & half down in a hair elastic, or all out blowing around (for my really adventurous days.)

I dove in, complete with curly bendy hair things, setting spray, curling hair paper squares, and hair spray.

Daunting tools of the trade for a lowly first day apprentice.



In those brief flashes of actual reality and anxiety, I pictured my daughter being disqualified for the most tragic hair on the dance competition floor.  Yes, I am sure if there is no category for that yet, there may well be one after today.  I hadn’t even got a proper hair ribbon to match her leotard : The MORTAL SIN of dance comps.  So, I decided to make one.  Make one.  This is from the girl who failed grade 2 art because the only colour she used in paintings was black. (I know, I need therapy).  The only thing I had in the house was a packet of curling ribbon so I chose the silver (that goes with everything, right?)  and concocted a silver bow which, by the grace of God, won’t fall out on the dance floor.

How bad could it really be?  Was I being too hard on myself? Perhaps I was over reacting.

In order to placate my growing concerns, I asked my husband who is more clueless than I am, thinking at least he would say something positive, and his response:

“You’re right, It looks terrible.. can’t you do something?? What about this.. and that.. and this.. ” (suddenly he was suggesting ideas for that last bastion of girls-only skills.  The hair and makeup territory.)



Oh, lament!  How was I to rectify the situation?  I did something that never fails:  I baked a batch of muffins.  Yes, that’s right.  When all else fails and you have no time to rectify the approaching catastrophe of social faux pas, just bake.  Then eat.  The eat part is always great when they are warm straight from the oven, dripping with icing because you can’t wait long enough for them to cool before you ice them.  And if I make them chocolate, like I did today, then they are even better.  Calm was restored.

Chocolate on chocolate.. just the trick.



After the muffins, and waving my daughter off with my husband to leave her to her fate, the last thing I could do was invoke the patron saint of dance.  This is all well and good, and I took a stab at “I’ll pray to St Vitus for you.”  But I didn’t know if that was a guess or actual truth.

I decided to Google it, and lo and behold, St Vitus really is one of the patron saints of dance.

For obscure reasons, some 16th century Germans believed they could obtain a year’s good health bydancing before a statue of Saint Vitus on his feast day. This dancing developed almost into a mania, and was confused with chorea, the nervous condition later known as Saint Vitus’ Dance, the saint being invoked against it. His connection with such “dancing” led to his patronage of dancers, and later to entertainers in general and in particular. Source

icon of St Vitus

Although the connection to dance is obscure, St Vitus, PRAY FOR HER!



In addition to St Vitus, two other saints are patrons of dancers, both of whom were personally involved in performing themselves.  I am thinking I may need all the help I can get, so I have also asked these guys to help out my daughter. St Genesius of Rome and St Philemon of Antinoe, pray for her!

St Philemon.  Source


All right, you guys, pull out the big guns.  My daughter needs all the help she can get.







Perhaps, though it’s not the dancing that’s really the issue here.  Perhaps I should have been invoking the intercession of patrons of hairdressers.  Those like St Mary Magdalene who used her hair to wipe the feet of Jesus (he wouldn’t be worrying about who the stylist was for her appearance).  Or St Louis IX who is listed as a patron saint of hairdressers.  I can’t quite figure the connection, but because he had 11 children I am wondering if he did the haircuts for them all ?!?  If anyone knows why, please send me a comment.

St Mary Magdalene and St Louis IX, PRAY FOR HER.

Postscript:  On arrival at the dance comp, my daughter’s teacher had to take the silver bow out.. apparently tinsel and all forms of gift wrapping are banned as hair accessories. Go figure.  They had an appropriate white bow to replace it, so all is well and it looks like St Mary Magdalene and St Louis saved the day after all.  My husband even said it didn’t look like a glaring disaster after all.


Have a great week everyone!


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