Bonnie Schuetz, who directs Boni's Dance & Performing Arts Studio in The Woodlands, Texas, has neatly solved the man-shortage problem while also finding a way to make things easier on her littlest dancers.
year-end recitals, she
choreographs "Daddy Dances" for the 2- and 3-year-olds.
"Their mommies rehearse with them," she
explains, "then we do two or three weekend rehearsals where the dads come in.
The group might start out onstage on their own, and the daddies come out halfway through the number.
They'll partner them-maybe the dad will go down on one knee and the little one will hold a hand, walk around them and end sitting on his
Or they might do a fish, or the daddies lift them and do shoulder sits."
At the end, Schuetz
says, the fathers pick up the little ones and take them offstage, which winds up being both adorable and practical, since it helps reduce the chaos of trying to organize the children backstage.
"They don't really dance much, but it's a neat experience for those daddies," she
"Sometimes I'll have guys come up to me afterward and say, 'I want to be in the classes where the daddies dance with the daughters.'"
also uses dads in her
senior ballet partnering classes where she
might have two dozen girls and not enough boys.
"I'll teach them very simple things, a finger turn, a penchée, a promenade.
They might get a little bit of pirouettes," she