A New Challenge!

Posted by Ian On June 5, 2009

I'm pleased to announce that I have started my own little company - mare ad mare, which is latin for 'sea to sea' and part of the Canadian motto (check the cover of your new passports). Our goal will be to build a fresh new brand of clothing for Canadian (and wannabe Canadian) girls. I will be using this blog, much as I have in the past - to continue showing people around the globe (over 50 countries now!) what it's like to be a Canadian girl, tracing the footsteps of our 3 girls as we explore more of this great place we call home.

Un petit baiser

Unique shirt for Canadian girls

'Gimme a little kiss' - says it all. Now for big girls! Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.


Fall shirt for Canadian girls

A big pile of leaves for you here! As a Canadian summer turns to fall, the leaves change colours and then fall off the trees. Kids rake them up and play! So go on, Jump into Fall with this Orange T. Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.

Pass the Marshmallows!

Summer shirt for Canadian Girls

Summer in Canada is the time for camping, camp fires and of course - Marshmallows! Get ready to go roast some in this summer yellow T. Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.


Spring shirt for Canadian Girls

After a long Canadian winter, spring can never arrive too soon! Pull on this Spring Green T and go planting girls! Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.

It's not ALWAYS cold in Canada...

Winter shirt for Canadian Girls

How many times have you had to tell someone that it's not always cold here? Well, sometimes it is cold - but to make your point, grab this little winter blue T and let them know that it's not just snow and ice up here all the time! Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.

Un petit baiser

Unique shirt for Canadian girls

'Gimme a little kiss' - says it all. Girls, grab this little white T, and go get your kiss ;-) Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.

That's right - I'm a dance dad.

Not like I have much of a choice Having 3 girls pretty much paints me into a corner. Yes it's absolutely true that girls play hockey, but we haven't always been here and dance was something they were always able to do - and loved.

This past weekend, we had our first road trip competition of the season to Peterborough. Meghan is in full on with competitions this year. Last year she had one dance number that she competed in with the group, this year she has seven! Five group numbers and two solos. Needless to say, it's been pretty busy for her during the week going to all the practices and private lessons...etc, etc... Her dance school, Elite, is really very good. They work the kids hard to make them the best they can be (no they're not the army).

Stupid Highway 7...
Meghan was scheduled to dance five of those numbers on Friday, so last Thursday evening, we packed up her seven tiny little shiny outfits, her sister, a cooler full of food and snacks and headed down highway 7 to Peterborough. I'd like to mention that this has to be the worst drive ever! It's three hours of 80 km/h!!! You heard me, 80. That's like going down some boulevards in the city. And I can hear it now - cmon, 80 is just a suggestion... more like a minimum... Well, first of all - I had no idea it was 80 all the way. I had assumed that it was 90 like most country highways. I was driving my typical 15km/h (or so) over the limit and in the middle of nowhere, passed a cop going the other way. He nailed me for doing 107 in an 80. It was actually pretty funny. I hadn't been pulled over in a looooooong time. Not that I don't speed - I just don't get caught (well, other than the photo radars in Germany...). The officer asked when I had been pulled over for speeding last - I told him I couldn't remember. Honestly, I couldn't - think it was at least 15 years ago... (He didn't need to know about me - legally - going 220+ on the autobahn) He went back to his car, did his thing slowing me down for 10 minutes - then came back with a reduced ticket. He told me to drive 95km/h and no one would pull me over. Ok - done, so our 3 hour cruise turned into 3.5 hours...

Horrible drive aside, we managed to roll into the hotel around 9 and went to bed. Meghan had a lot of dancing to do the next day, and we wanted to make sure she got her rest. It didn't help that someone was insisting on remodeling upstairs and was drilling away - at 10pm - REALLY?!? Luckily Meghan had already fallen asleep - but the rest of us struggled through the night. I would have called down, but didn't want to chance waking her up.

Day 1 - The Mule
Friday was crazy. One of my many jobs as a dance dad, was to stay the hell out of the way, but the other was to be the mule. That meant getting the cooler ready for the day, pack up the car as things were ready, get the coffee/donuts and then drive them down to the theater (then take the car back to the hotel and walk back to the theater to avoid parking hastles!). Sara had to prep Meghan, get the hair and makeup done, get all the days costumes and hairpieces together and know the schedule so she knew what she had to do and when.
Obviously my responsibilities were far greater ;-)

Girls just wanna have fun
Apparently - because that song was played almost every other routine... the other song getting the most play? Rednex - Cotton Eye Joe. Yeehaw, special torture! Since the day was primarily for the wee ones, under 12, there was plenty of 'cutesy, pukey' music.
From about 9am until 9pm that night kids were paraded out in glittery costumes, tons of makeup and boomp-tick-boomp-tick music. Every 2.5 minutes. It gets to the point where you're relieved to here classical music for ballet routines! Sitting in a dark theater, for hours on end, on seats that might have been comfortable for the first 30 minutes - was kind of like flying to China.
Luckily, Meghan or one of the Elite members were dancing every hour or so that day, so I had something to look forward to. But still it made for a looooooong day.
Meghan did amazing. She placed 1st in both of her solos, and her team routines all received diamond awards (highest level). Here are a couple of shots from her solos...

Day 2 - The surly teamster
Saturday was my big day. I was signed up to help with the set for some of the big numbers. It was a bit of a relief to know that I wouldn't have to be sitting all day... I had gone through the process of the stage setup once before for dress rehearsal, and knew that the pieces were big and heavy. They basically had a stair builder create a huge platform for them - but it was way overkill. Massive 2x10 joists on 12 inch centers with 5/8inch plywood on top - they were better built than 99% of Kanata homes!!! So we hauled these huge pieces out of the trailer and waited for a break to bring them in and set them up. There was a collection of about 8 dance dads there, other poor souls relegated to being mules and now teamsters like me... but are all great sports about it.

We got the break and pulled all these things on stage and hooked it up. Our girls all cheered us on as we tried to put up a massive 20 foot wide sign on posts that was to stand 6 feet above the stage. For a mental image - think about the statue of the americans soldiers raising the flag at Iwo Jima! The dance teams did their thing, pulled in more diamond awards and really did great - including Meghan who had a pretty big part in this huge production routine.

Take down was another thing altogether. We went around back and waited for them to be ready for us. It was beautiful outside, 15c, sunny... I told the guy next to me 'this is perfect biergarten weather!'. He said back 'there's one right over there, saw a few of our guys there already!'.
So not needing any more encouragement, we went for a quick pop and sat in the sun. Much better than trying to stay awake inside watching yet another group of suburban girls try to pull of a tough hip hop routine - wearing fancy scarves no less...

After the pack up, there was nothing left for me for the day. Emma and I headed back to the hotel to go swimming, something the other girls couldn't do - a sore point with many of them. They amused themselves though - and had fun just hangin out.

Day 3 - Almost done
One dance left to go. Unfortunately, it was 3rd from last on the day's sched - and wouldn't be until almost 6. We took as much time as humanly possible at the hotel before heading over for what would be a long day of waiting, a quick dance, then awards, then a lovely 3.5 hour drive back in the dark on that stupid highway.
Again, the dance was a huge Jazz routine with close to 40 kids on stage. It was REALLY GOOD. Meghan again had a pretty big part in it - right up front pulling off some big moves. The awards were then handed out, they got another diamond for the routine - but more importantly - that number received the 'best of show' for the entire weekend. Everyone was very happy with that - a very successful weekend for the Elite dancers.

A horribly painful 3.5 hour drive later in the dark and rain, and we were home. Meghan had racked up 2 emerald and 5 diamond awards, with a 1st in each - and I got a taste of what it was like to be a dance dad.

4 Response to "It's Official...I'm a Dance Dad"

  1. CancunCanuck Said,

    This was exactly my life growing up, and I had a terrific dance dad and mom. My brother and I both danced daily and competed in countless events, I don't know how mom and dad did it! Living down in Windsor most of the competitions were in the states (Detroit) and we traveled around a lot with the "mule" hauling all the bags of goodies. Good for you dance dad!

    p.s. My brother is still a professional dancer living in Los Angeles, he's now 36 years old and still kicking it up! His main living comes from designing dance wear and costumes but he's always in a show somewhere or other (Rockettes, Academy Awards and on and on), sooooo, this could be a life long role you've accepted and the girls could have a great future! I myself attended university for dance, though my career ended with a big injury.

    Congrats on the awards!


  2. mare ad mare Said,

    Wow - that is so funny. I don't suppose you still get the chance to show off your moves for your friends in Mexico?
    They really do love it - and if it's a life long thing for them, then it's all worth it.


  3. Sara M. Said,

    You were a great mule! ;)


  4. Wow...sounds like the girls had a great time, but man, that sounds like a LOT of work. My kids are still pretty low on the after school things.


    About Me

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    It's not about the money you make, the toys you have, the clothes you wear - it's about the life experiences you go through, the challenges you face and the stories you tell... Having just moved back to Canada (after almost 8 years in the U.S and Germany), we have lots to show our girls and our friends around the world about Canada. We're going to be telling our stories, hope you enjoy our adventures. Mare ad Mare means 'sea to sea' and we want to show the world, from Sea to Sea - this is what it's like to be a Canadian Girl!