Monday, April 29, 2013

Our Town's Own Billy Elliot

Daughter's big dance extravaganza at her arts-school-within-a-school was this weekend. Although I do have lots to say about the make-up of the performances, I'll leave that for another time. A feel-good encounter I had with the family of one of the dancers is where the tale takes me today.

I am guilty of having preconceived notions of how different types of people react to having a son who loves to dance. Hippie-dippie free-spirited sorts likely embrace a dancing son. Educated, middle-class sorts likely accept a dancing son as well.

But newcomers to the U.S. who hail from staunch Catholic, old-school, macho, paternalistic societies are typically seen as being the "type" who would have a really hard time accepting a dancing son. (Did I mention the dancing son also happens to be gay? He is. Out. Proud. Comfortable in his skin.)

I was selling tickets at the final performance, and a man, his wife, his tween son, and his two brothers and a sister (or sister-in-law) arrived early. He came up to the table and said he had come to see his son dance. Knowing who the male dancers were, it was obvious to me who his son was. I said I'd seen the show the previous evening. Pulling out the program, I turned to a page with a picture of his son and asked, "Is this your son?"

With bursting pride, he smiled broadly and said that was his boy. I told him what a great dancer his boy was, and he managed to beam even more brightly. He was positively bursting.

I don't know who any of those people are, and I don't know the path they've been down in their lives. All I know is every kid deserves a father who accepts him and embraces him as that father so clearly does his dancing son.

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