Friday, October 26, 2012

Priceless (or, Night Of A Thousand "Awesomes")

The girls before the show
Cyrus "Glitch" Spencer came running out of the Nokia Theater about an hour after the show ended, dressed sharp and sporting ear gauges encircled with big rhinestones. Or maybe diamonds, I don't know. He's popular enough, maybe he could afford that. Fans were lined up behind barricades to see the stars of the So You Think You Can Dance tour after the show at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, including my daughters, Emma (age 12) and Claire (age 10). And me, of course. The girls wore black t-shirts they had decorated in puffy neon fabric paint. Emma's said "Cyrus We ♥ You", the heart a bright burst of stripes; she also sported a colorful pair of lens-free nerd glasses. Claire's read "Cyrus Rocks!" in her own unique scrawl. They squealed as Cyrus ran down the long line of fans, hooting and slapping everyone's outstretched hands, and then settled at the end of the line to start signing programs and posing for photos.

Will Thomas, the tall and slightly goofy dancer that the girls also love, was the first to make it to our part of the line. He was lively and energetic with his fans, and my girls held their program out for him to sign. I should add this was their first encounter with celebrities so they were wide-eyed and a little shy. But Will was so exuberant they quickly got over it. I was relieved to see that the dancers carried their own Sharpie markers, since all we had in my mom-purse were Eraser-Mates. Not really ideal for glossy paper.

Will and Cyrus were yelling back and forth to each other down the line. 


"Yeah man!" 

"I signed a CHEEK!" 

"No way!" 

"Yeah, she wanted me to sign her cheek!" He gestured at his own face and they howled with laughter. 

Will was so sweet! Notice Emma holding her picture for Cyrus.

After Will moved down the line, we watched Cyrus interact with his fans and inch his way closer to us. He was obviously loving every minute of it, talking, posing for photos and accepting hugs. The girls were starstruck.

For those of you who are not familiar with SYTYCD, well obviously: it's all about dance. Young dancers from all over the country audition to perform, American-Idol-style, on the award-winning show. The reasons why it's so much better (in my opinion) than any other talent competition show are many: the quality of the choreographers and routines, the talent and passion of the dancers, and the variety of dance styles performed. When Cyrus auditioned, we had never seen his style of dance, called animating. The animator in motion looks a bit like a cross between a robot and a stop-motion movie, but more fluid and riveting to watch. Cyrus was mesmerizing, and his huge personality quickly made him my daughters' favorite.

Cyrus was also fascinating because, according to the show, he had no formal dance training. I have to confess that I found that hard to believe. How could a street dancer pick up all those styles as well as he did? But if you buy the theory that some people just have dance in their bones, then Cyrus more than qualifies. This video shows his first audition in Atlanta.

And then he was in front of us. The girls handed him their program, and the 8x10 glossy we had also purchased, and I said "Hey girls... show him your t-shirts."

They stepped back a little so he could see them and his eyes lit up. "Oh my gosh! Wow!" he said with a huge smile. "WILL!"

"Yeah man!"

"Will! I got t-shirts! I got T-SHIRTS, Will!"

"No way!"

Cyrus turned back to my girls. "Those are so awesome you guys!"

"They made them themselves," I added, overstating the obvious.

He put his arms around them and I got the picture. Then Emma looked at her idol and handed him the drawing.

"I made this for you," she said. It was a cartoon she had drawn of Cyrus, with the caption "the animator gets animated!"

He gasped and slowly grinned at her. "This is for me? I can keep it?" She nodded. "WILL!"

"Yeah man!"

This time he was really excited and danced around a little while he yelled down the line, "I got a PICTURE, man! I got a PICTURE down here!"

"That is AWESOME!"

Cyrus looked into my daughter's eyes and said, "Thank you. Thank you SO much. I love it."

She smiled back. I think she might have said you're welcome, but I was a little emotional so I don't remember. Instinctively I went in for a hug, which he gladly gave me, and I said something inane like wow they're going to be tired at school tomorrow but it was worth it, thank you. And Cyrus moved along to his next group of fans.

Look at those smiles! Priceless!

The girls looked up at me, their expressions full of delight. "Wow!" I said to them. "THAT was awesome, huh?" They nodded. They were genuinely speechless. After a moment we headed down to see some of the other dancers: Amelia Lowe, who had (with Will) danced one of Claire's favorite routines to "Lovecats" by the Cure (did I mention that the show is also excellent because of the music? I couldn't get my daughters to listen to the Cure for anything; they would think it was lame if it came from me); Cole Horibe, the intense martial-arts style dancer with the great abs (yeah, I said it); and finally, Eliana Girard, the female winner from this season, who was the girls' other favorite. They were all so sweet and generous. Eliana saw Claire's shirt and grinned, "Cyrus DOES rock!" She asked them their names and said they were adorable. "I love your glasses! Those are awesome!" she told Emma.

Amelia was so beautiful!

Cole was one of my favorites. I love those Hawaiian guys. :-)

Eliana rushed out right at the end of the meet-and-greet. She apologized to everyone for making them wait. The photo I got of her with the girls was not very flattering, and she's so lovely I just picked this one instead.

Before we left, the girls went back to say goodbye to Cyrus. He was still holding Emma's picture. I told him that she was really excited that he still had it.

"Awwww," he said, "this is so great. I want to put it on my blog*. We have a special place on the bus for stuff like this." He looked back at Emma. "I love it. Thank you so much!" And she got a huge hug. Which I captured in a terrible blurry photo on my phone... but we know what it is.

"I can't believe it," Emma murmured as we started the walk back to the car. "That was awesome."

Claire agreed. "That was the coolest thing that's ever happened to me!"

It was 11:20, and the girls had school the next day. Maybe another mom - most other moms - would have gone straight home after the show. Ten o'clock is already way past bedtime, much less midnight, which is when we finally got home. Claire slept in the car, but Emma shuffled through the photos on her phone and talked excitedly about everything that had happened.

Tickets: $... who cares.
Souvenirs: $... who cares.
Refreshments: $... who cares.
Memories: oh yeah. 100% Priceless.

And one more thing: next year, I'm springing for better seats.

*I haven't found his blog yet. I am following him on Twitter, though, so if anything shows up about Emma's picture I will update immediately. I'm not holding my breath... but it sure would be awesome.